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Phrase marking

  1. Sentence
    Noun Phrase + Verb Phrase
    Spot ran.
  2. Sentence bar

    Complement (tensed Verb) + “Sentence”
    Did Spot run?

  3. Complement phrase
    Complement (complementizer) + “Sentence”
    Where did Spot run?
    Spot ran at the park that he liked.


  1. Period
    at the end of sentences
    in abbreviations (exempli gratia e.g.)
    at the end of titles (e.g. Dr., Mr., Ms.)
    acceptable: Unlike him, she did not consider badminton a “sport for wimps”. (Brit punctuation, also known as logical punctuation)
  2. Question mark
    at the end of a question
  3. Exclamation point
    at the end of an exclamation—not necessarily a “complete sentence”
  4. Semicolon
    between two semantically related independent clauses
  5. Colon
    between an independent clause and a semantically relevant clause (Sentences do not have arrows to point at logically relevant clauses and that is where colons come in.)
    before speech
    between a title and its subtitle
  6. Comma
    after disjunct and conjunct adverbs (around said adverbs if adverbs are embedded)
    between a dependent clause and an independent clause if appropriate
    as a partition in a series (google “serial comma”)
    before speech
    to enclose a tangent*
    where the author would like the reader to imagine a pause
  7. Dash – m
    to enclose a tangent*
    to replace a colon because colons are out of fashion
  8. Dash – n
    … see Wikipedia
    to do miscellaneous ‘joining’ tasks
  9. Hyphen
    to join words together (e.g. Avon-by-the-Sea)
    to indicate “minus”
    suffixed to an interrupted word/to otherwise indicate that a word is incomplete
  10. Apostrophe
    to indicate contraction
    to indicate possession (except “its possession” or “their possessions”)
  11. Quotation marks – single**
    around spoken quotes used within a quote
    around words used not for their function
    around non-spoken phrases that refer outside the sentence
    for emphasis
  12. Quotation marks – double***
    around spoken quotes
    around phrases that quote outside the sentence
    in place of “so-called”
    around titles that are not ‘heavy’ enough to be underlined such as article headlines or short story titles
  13. Parentheses
    to enclose a tangent*
  14. Brackets
    to show modification of a quote
    to enclose a tangent within parentheses
  15. Ellipsis
    where the author would like the reader would like to imagine the author trailing off
    to mark omissions in a quote (Rather than using the specified “ellipsis” or “three dot leader” symbol, use “[. . .]” .)

*Tangents may be set off by parentheses, commas, or dashes.  The choice depends on the author.
**My single quotes usage is difficult to explain explicitly.
***In WordPress, only use a single space before starting a sentence with a quotation.  The author would like to rant about the devaluation of double spacing but that would not be very productive.

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