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A Dash of Style: Punctuation

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Tricia Ebarvia

on 3 November 2016

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Transcript of A Dash of Style: Punctuation

( )
The Triumvirate
period .
comma ,
semi-colon ;
the stop sign
,
the speed bump
;
the bridge
Into the Limelight
the colon, the dash, parenthesis, quotation marks, paragraph and section breaks
A Dash of Style: Punctuation
Flaws in the writing can be spotted most quickly by the punctuation, while strengths extolled by the same medium.
Punctuation reveals the writer.

- Noah Lukeman,
A Dash of Style
{ the foundation }
How to use it:
withhold the period = long sentence
to draw out a thought or explanation, allowing the reader to settle in (or out) of your thoughts
to set up a short(er) sentence for greater impact
where you want the reader to pause to think about what you're saying

related: the dramatically short paragraph
use the period more often = short sentences
to emphasize a point
(or series of points)
to summarize several points
(particularly after a series of longer sentences)
to provoke the reader's thinking
to halt or quicken pacing
Find a paragraph in your essay that could use some revision.

Revise it now for sentence length variety. Can you combine sentences, split others? Is there a place for a dramatically short sentence? Are good ideas getting lost in the tangle of long sentences?
to add variety and fluidity, particularly among many short(er) sentences
to overwhelm the reader with detail (listing)
How to use it:
to introduce
to interrupt
to list
to link
by connecting simple sentences and ideas together
Two L
s
and Two I
s
l
ink,
l
ist,
i
ntroduce,
i
nterrupt
and, or, but, for, so, yet
series of three or more items

*Oxford Comma
and now a lesson/tangent...
when you introduce the main clause with a transitional word, phrase, or clause
When Mrs. Ebarvia walked into the room, the students cheered.

As the students cheered, Mrs. Ebarvia walked into the room.
to set apart a phrase or clause within the sentence
Common interrupters:
absolute
appositives
participle
adjectives out of order
Revise a sentence in your essay using one of the brushstrokes above.
Locate an introductory clause or phrase; check your comma usage.
Forgot what these are? Check your notebook for the golden sheet!
a stronger pause than the comma, but not as strong as the period.

by its very nature, a combination of the two... and so,
a bridge
.
How to Use it:
separates two independent clauses
(like a period)

connects closely related ideas
(like a comma)
Compare

Computers change the way we think. We've outsourced our thinking.

Computers change the way we think; we've outsourced our thinking.
keep ideas organized under a bigger "umbrella"
Mrs. Ebarvia enjoys many different flavors of frozen yogurt, but her favorites include watermelon, which she particularly enjoys during the summer, taro, for when she savors something a bit more exotic, and salted caramel pretzel, which is her favorite "go-to" flavor whenever she's out with the kids.

Mrs. Ebarvia enjoys many different flavors of frozen yogurt, but her favorites include watermelon, which she particularly enjoys during the summer
;
taro, for when she savors something a bit more exotic
;
and salted caramel pretzel, which is her favorite "go-to" flavor whenever she's out with the kids.
for the sake of brevity
Because it was raining today, she would not be going out.

It was raining today; she would not be going out.
Find a place in your essay to connect two closely related ideas can be connected using a semi-colon.
Warning:
Be sure that the ideas are closely related AND that using a semi-colon will add clarity or meaning to the sentence.
the magician
:
Mrs. Ebarvia enjoys many different flavors of frozen yogurt: watermelon, which...
"It holds the audience in suspense, waits until just the right moment, then voila: it pulls back the curtain to reveal the result." - Lukeman
How to Use It:
to reveal
Standard use

Reveals a list
Compare

I put on my coat, grabbed my bag, and stepped out the door,
since I wasn't coming back.

I put on my coat, grabbed my bag, and stepped out the door
: I wasn't coming back.
Creative Use

Reveals a definition or defining moment
Compare

In the end, the true magic of Harry Potter isn’t made up of house-elves, horcruxes, Invisibility cloaks, hippogriffs, or even the Sword of Gryffindor. No, the true magic of the Harry Potter world is
love, the simplest and oldest kind of magic.

In the end, the true magic of Harry Potter isn’t made up of house-elves, horcruxes, Invisibility cloaks, hippogriffs, or even the Sword of Gryffindor. No, the true magic of the Harry Potter world is
the simplest and oldest of its kind: love.


Find a moment in your essay that builds to a revelation.

See if you can revise through the creative use of a colon.

OR Find a moment where a colon can
emphasize a concluding point.
Warning:
Like the semi-colon, the colon should connect closely related ideas, either to reveal or to summarize
to summarize, to conclude, to offset a point
the interrupter
the advisor
Built to interrupt and strikes without warning--perhaps the most aggressive of punctuation marks
bold, striking
respectful
"excuse me"
interruption is an enhancement, a "you might like to know..."
How to Use them:
to indicate an aside or digression
In the end, it wasn’t the Unbeatable Wand that he needed to bring him happiness
–Harry, in fact, gives that back to Dumbledore–
it was a family. Harry got his happy ending.
In Dumbledore, we get the quintessential teacher and father figure. Few of our teachers
(and for some of us, even our fathers)
will ever live up to our imagined versions of Dumbledore in all his wisdom.
to emphasize a point
On the one hand, you feel relief and pleasure in seeing the story through to its close. But on the other hand, you feel saddened because the characters
–your friends–
are moving away.
to build a sense of intimacy between writer and reader (informal voice)
Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, or Slytherin… where do you think the Sorting Hat would put you? Sadly, I probably wouldn’t have been in Gryffindor with Harry and company. More likely Ravenclaw with Luna. After all, that’s what I got when I took this
(very scientific, I’m sure)
quiz online.
Find a place to add an aside, digress for a moment, or emphasize a point.

See if you can use a dash or parenthesis
" "
the trumpet
Dialogue
quickens pace, shows rather than tells

Tone
indicates sarcasm or irony
It was really "cold" alright, so cold that I was sweating uncontrollably.
the stoplight
CHECK
Long v. short paragraphs
Topic sentences
Closing sentences
inspired by
(the power of less is more)
italics
For emphasis, particularly when showing a contrast... but make it selective.
It's not that I don't believe in Santa Clause. No, it's precisely because I
do
.
It's not that I don't believe in Santa Clause. No, it's precisely because I do.
strikethrough
To show what you could have said but didn't
Humorous effect
My parents interrogated asked me about where I had been last night.
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