A(nother) Grammar and Punctuation Lesson

This one will be on the short side, primarily because there are two pesky punctuation marks I should have covered in the prior article that weren’t mentioned: colons and ellipses.

As most are probably aware, colons are used to lead into an explanation or list. This lead-in on the left side of the colon is an independent clause, and only one space should follow the colon itself. Generally, the first letter of the explanation/list after the colon should be lowercase. However, there are exceptions. While there is some disagreement between style guides, the two times capitalization are generally agreed to occur are when the text following the comma consists of a quotation that begins with a capital letter and when the explanatory section contains multiple sentences.

Next up is the ellipsis. And again, there are discrepancies between guides, so I’m going to try to keep the rules as clean and clear as possible. When an ellipsis notes a pause inside a sentence, it should be buffered on both sides by a space. However, if the pause occurs at the end of a quote, there will be no space separating it from the following quotation marks (i.e. “Where should I go …” Tom whispered.).

Using an ellipsis at the end of a sentence is where things really get tricky. The omission of a few words can be marked by an ellipses buffered on both sides by a space. However, there should also be another space and a period after it to mark the end of the sentence ( … . ). Even more strangely, the omission of one or more sentences is treated differently. In these cases, the above is essentially reversed: . … That said, I honestly can’t recall ever seeing these two exceptions used in practice, so I believe a more common ellipsis at the end of a sentence would also be acceptable. Just make sure the ellipsis is never be broken up between lines.

And yet again, it becomes clear just how confusing a simple punctuation mark can be. Research: it’s a beautiful thing.


One Response to A(nother) Grammar and Punctuation Lesson

  1. Pingback: New Article Up (A(nother) Grammar and Punctuation Lesson) | The Third Eye Opened

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