Internal Punctuation Help (page 2)
Quotation marks are used in writing to show someone's exact words, or dialogue. This word-for-word account is called a direct quotation. To set the direct quotation apart, you need to use opening and ending quotation marks: " and ".
Tip: When attributing quotations, as with any dialogue, choose interesting verbs. Constant use of "he said" or "she said" can become tedious. Use a variety of synonyms, like "he announced," "they replied," "he acknowledged," "she murmured," "he snarled," "they reported," or "she queried."
If someone just refers to someone else's words, this is called an indirect quotation, which does NOT require quotation marks.
Margaret said that the teller patiently told her to please enter the code again.
Quotation marks also are not used in recording someone's thoughts
Margaret thought the teller had a lot of patience.
We sometimes put quotation marks around a word (or words) to stress its meaning or convey uncertainty or misgivings about its validity to readers.
It escapes me why Victor, a Wall Street broker, was asked to speak to our Lifeguard Association as an "expert" on rescue techniques.
Here are some helpful guidelines for using quotation marks:
- Capitalize the first word of a direct quotation if it is the first word of the quotation or starts the sentence in which it is quoted.
- Always place periods and commas inside the end quotes.
- Place question marks and exclamation marks inside the end quotes only if they are part of the quotation. Otherwise, place them after the end quotes.
Nancy whined, "I am so hungry!"
Did you hear her say, "I can't eat another bite"?
- Always place colons and semicolons outside the end quote.
- Place a comma before the opening quotes when the quote is preceded by words that imply speaking, such as said, stated, replied, and cried.
Cosmos whispered, "I can't see—please move over."
- When a quote is interrupted, enclose each part in quotation marks. Place a comma inside the first end quotes, then have the interrupting words followed by a comma before adding the second opening quotes.
"The first quarter's numbers are in," remarked Ted, "and they look very encouraging!" Note that and at the beginning of the second part of the quote is not capitalized, because it is not starting a new sentence but continuing the first.
Parentheses are used to provide extra or incidental information within or at the end of a sentence. The information inside the parentheses is called a parenthetical comment.
Ron Kenny wound up with the Salesperson of the Year Award (remember how he struggled at the beginning of the year?).
Note that even if you take the parenthetical comment out of the sentence, it still makes sense.
Parentheses also set off dates and page numbers within sentences, or in citations in some styles of academic writing.
Information regarding the migration of Monarch butterflies can be found in Chapter 22 (pages 97–113).
In a famous study of Jane Austen (1775–1817) and her many literary accomplishments . . . (Dawson, 1989) . . .
Parentheses can be used for itemizing numbers or letters:
Please write your (1) name, (2) address, and (3) DOB.
Please write your (a) name, (b) address, and (c) DOB.
Tip: If your parenthetical comment is part of the whole sentence, do not put a period or other end mark inside the parentheses. But if the note is a complete sentence, put a punctuation mark inside the parentheses.
Parentheses are also used for providing, or defining, abbreviations.
There has been recent news from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) . . .
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a new . . .
Finally, parentheses can be used to indicate an alternative form of a written term.
Before printing, carefully select the page(s) you need . . .
Write the name(s) on the form and submit.
Brackets also help to clarify information, but have a narrower range of uses than parentheses.
When you editorialize (insert comments or missing material within a quote), place the words inside brackets.
Kim said, "In order for you [Katelyn] to go [to the Monmouth Mall to see a movie], you must finish the dishes first."
If the capitalization of a word in a quote needs to be altered in order to make it fit in a sentence or paragraph scheme, place the new letter in brackets.
The New York Times article stated that "[b]aseball, an American pastime, is favored by many women as well as children."
Note that the article would have read "Baseball, an American pastime . . ." in the original source.
Italics and Underlining
When writing by hand, italicizing words is difficult so we underline them instead. In printing and word processing, we can use either one (although underscores are uncommon). Just remember to be consistent. Don't use one and then another in the same text.
Italicize (or underline) the titles of long works such as books, long poems, magazines, newspapers, or movies.
James Michener's Chesapeake James Michener's Chesapeake The New Yorker The New Yorker Robert Frost's Birches Robert Frost's Birches
Set off shorter works such as stories, songs, short poems, and articles with quotation marks rather than italics or underlines.
Italicize foreign words in your writing.
The handsome man said, "Ciao bella," when he left the table.
When you want to emphasize a particular word, italicize (or underline) it. The following chart shows how emphasizing different words in a sentence can change the meaning completely.
Exercises for this concept can be found at Internal Punctuation Practice
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