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September 24 is National Punctuation Day

September 24 is National Punctuation Day

Although most of know how a period, question mark and exclamation point works, there are plenty of punctuation mysteries that stump even the brightest grammarians. In honor of #NationalPunctuationDay, we thought we’d offer a crash course on some of the lesser-understood marks.

Brackets = [ ] = Among other uses, you can use brackets to include explanatory words or phrases within quoted language; to enclose “sic” to show that misspelled words or inappropriately used words are not your own typos or blunders but rather part of a quotation; to include parenthetical material inside parenthetical material.

• Colon = : = In addition to using a colon to separate the ratio or proportion of a number of to separate hours from minutes in the time, a colon can be used to create emphasis, to indicate dialogue or to create question-and-answer interviews.

• Semicolon = ; = Generally, the semicolon is used to indicate a major division in a sentences where a more distinct separation is felt between clauses or items on a list than a comma would indicate.

• Hyphen = - = Hyphens help join two or more words into a single idea to avoid ambiguity.

• Dash = — = Among other uses, a dash helps indicate a break, pause or hesitation.

• Ellipsis = … = Treated like a word (with spaces before and after), an ellipsis indicates the omission of one or more words.

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