Punctuation, Mechanics, and Usage

When used correctly, punctuation and mechanics can help to make writing clear and readable. At the very least, poor usage makes the writer appear unprofessional; at worst, it impedes meaning. This  workshop addresses all the most troubling marks of punctuation and mechanics, including the appropriate use of the comma in a wide variety of sentence constructions. Offer all the topics below in a one-day interactive seminar, or choose from among these topics for a shorter session. 

  • When is it appropriate to use a comma before and?
  • When can commas be used with conjunctions such as however, furthermore, and also?
  • When do we use a comma with dates? With month-day-year dates? With day-month-year dates?
  • When do we use commas to separate more than one adjective modifying the same noun?
  • How do we know when to place commas around dependent clauses, including those that begin with which and that?
  • When do commas help prevent a misreading?
  • How should we punctuate with quotation marks and parentheses?
  • How do we punctuate and capitalize the items in vertical lists?
  • Does a colon always have to precede a vertical list?
  • How do a hyphen, an en dash, and an em dash differ?
  • Italics, underscoring, quotation marks—which should we use when citing reports, book titles, newspapers, articles, or songs?
  • How do we use apostrophes correctly, especially with words ending in s, x, ch, sh, and z?
  • Are semicolons more like commas or periods?
  • How do colons differ from semicolons?
  • What are ellipses and how are they used?

Interested in booking a seminar?

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