Sunday, June 08, 2014

Don't Interrupt Me!

Karl wrote with a punctuation question. “I frequently find myself adding information midsentence, usually a definition or an example, but using all those commas gets pretty tiresome. Are there alternatives?”

The first thing to consider is not interrupting yourself midsentence. Occasionally it seems necessary or highly effective, but if it’s become a mere reflex action, try putting the extra information in a separate sentence.

That said, there are three punctuation marks that can be used to enclose parenthetical information. They include the comma, the dash, and the parenthesis.

·      Members of the rodent family, such as mice, gophers, squirrels, beavers, and chinchillas, take their name from a Latin word meaning to gnaw.
·      Members of the rodent family—such as mice, gophers, squirrels, beavers, and chinchillas—take their name from a Latin word meaning to gnaw.
·      Members of the rodent family (such as mice, gophers, squirrels, beavers, and chinchillas) take their name from a Latin word meaning to gnaw.

And here’s the information expanded into a separate sentence:


·      Members of the rodent family take their name from a Latin word meaning to gnaw. They include mice, gophers, squirrels, beavers, and chinchillas.



Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to wtcmradio.com and clicking on Listen Now. You’ll also find about a month’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.






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