Symbols and Punctuation

  1. Quiz Yourself: How Many Emoji Can You Name?

    Who are you, emoji? Emoji are everywhere. They’re all over your social media feeds, your mom likes to text them to you, and they’re even making their way into ads. You know and love them, and so do we. But did you know that these fun, familiar characters have official names? Each emoji has a specific name that’s determined by the Unicode Consortium. Some names …

  2. Gettin’ Short and Sweet with Apostrophes

    An apostrophe (’) can show possession or indicate that letters or numbers have been omitted. They can also indicate ownership. Possessive Nouns When a singular noun doesn’t end in S, you just need to add an apostrophe and an S to make it possessive. Examples include “the boy’s bike,” “the dog’s leash,” and “Bob’s house.” If a singular noun does end in S, you should …

  3. Stand Apart from the Crowd (with Parentheses)

    Parentheses offset text that isn’t important to the meaning of a sentence. Things like extra information, clarifications, asides, or citations. The information inside the parentheses can be as short as a number or a word, or it can be as long as a few sentences. Parentheses always appear in pairs. They’re often used where commas would also be appropriate. Clarifying and Adding Extra A sentence …

  4. Custom-Made Descriptions with Hyphens

    The shortest of the dashes, hyphens (–) link words and parts of words. They can connect prefixes or break up a word at the end of a line of text. They can also combine two or more words that describe a noun. For example, in George Orwell’s 1984, hyphenated words help create unusual descriptive phrases: “He felt deeply drawn to him, and not solely because …

  5. En Dashes from A–Z

    You don’t hear as much about them as other dashes, but you’ve most likely seen them around. En dashes (–) can denote a range or connect the endpoints of a route. They can also show a contrast or connection between two words. You can use them to replace the words to, and, or versus. An en dash is longer than a hyphen (–) and shorter …

  6. The Joining and Separating Power of the Em Dash

    Few punctuation marks are as divisive as the em dash. Used in place of commas, parentheses, or colons, the em dash (—) sets off a word or clause with added emphasis. It’s the longest of the dashes, and it signals a disruption in the sentence’s flow. For example, F. Scott Fitzgerald uses one in The Great Gatsby to show an interruption in train of thought: …

  7. Super 6: The Major Punctuation Marks

    You’ve definitely seen them around, but do you know how they’re supposed to be used? The major punctuation marks are the period, comma, exclamation point, question mark, semicolon, and colon. These marks organize sentences and give them structure. The Period A period (.) ends a sentence. It comes immediately after the last letter of a sentence, and there only needs to be one space between …

  8. OMG, Texting Acronyms FTW

  9. Be a Grammar Expert: Master the Semicolon

    It’s one of the hottest things grammar nerds argue about: Just when are you supposed to use semicolons? Semicolons can join two or more independent sentences or divide items that are separated by commas in a list. A semicolon indicates a slight break in the flow of thought. Joining Independent Sentences A semicolon links two or more independent clauses that are closely related. An independent …

  10. Introducing: Colons!

    Colons are used to introduce lists, quotes, or further explanation. They’re also used to separate items in non-grammatical structures. Introducing a List A colon can be used to introduce a list. In general, the portion of sentence before the colon should be a complete sentence (it should contain a subject and a verb). Phrases like the following may sometimes be used to signal an introduction …

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