SPECIAL EDITION UWF WRITING LAB


Punctuate for Clarity and Effect

 

Is It Time for a Colonoscopy?

By Mandy Harrison

     The colon is the Paul Revere of punctuation. Just as Paul Revere ran around yelling, "The British are coming, the British are coming," a colon screams, "A list is coming, a list is coming!" The colon is a strong mark of punctuation that introduces information and connects that information to the rest of a sentence. Although the colon may be used to separate, combine, and introduce, it is most commonly used to introduce a list. The following are important rules concerning using a colon to introduce a list:

RULE 1: A complete sentence must precede a colon.

-Therefore, do not use a colon after a verb or a preposition, even though the verb or preposition may precede a list.

-The phrases the following and as follows are often used before a colon to make a word group preceding a colon complete.

RULE 2: In order to avoid redundancy, do not use phrases such as for example, namely, or that is after a colon because a colon means "namely."

RULE 3: One item may make up a list.

RULE 4: A colon may be used to introduce a vertical list if the information preceding the colon is a complete sentence.

     When used correctly, the colon can improve the clarity and conciseness of a person's writing. To certify that the above "colonoscopy" was successful, choose the correct sentence:

Grant applications should include: the organization's mission statement, anticipated expenses, and an overview of the proposed project.

Those attending the meeting were: Dr. Lanza, Dr. Boyd, and Dr. Wright.

The University maintains official documentation of academic preparation such as: official transcripts for all faculty members.

ANSWER: None of the sentences are correct because there is not a complete sentence before the colon.

CORRECT USES OF THE COLON

Grant applications should include the organization's mission statement, anticipated expenses, and an overview of the proposed project.

Those attending the meeting were Dr. Lanza, Dr. Boyd, and Dr. Wright.

The University maintains official documentation of academic preparation such as official transcripts for all faculty members.

The administrative division consists of three principal sections: resource management, finance, and customer service.

The critical problems in this company are
•low employee morale •incompetent management
•insufficient capital •lack of training

 

The Numbers Game

By Brian Hansen

     Figures (numerals) are used to express dates (August 13, since 1992), hours when they precede a.m. or p.m. (8:00 a.m.), page numbers (page 666), numbers containing decimals ($2.5 million settlement), and chapter numbers (Chapter 11).
     Write out numbers that can be expressed in two words or less (one hundred, twenty-six). Use figures for those numbers that require more than two words (156; 3,201) unless the number begins a sentence.
     In technical and business writing, use figures when expressing statistical tables, weights, totals, distances, speeds, sums, and percentages.
     For more information, consult the ever-popular Real Good Grammar, Too. I did.

 

 

The Series

By Justin Parafinczuk

     Contrary to popular belief, each punctuation rule was made with a logical and specific intent. In fact, punctuation rules are crucial in allowing a writer to convey his or her point unambiguously. For instance, when there is a series of items in a sentence, the items in the series must be separated by commas.

COMMAS: Stora Enso Paper has offices in Finland, Wisconsin, and Belgium.

     However, sometimes when a list is embedded in a sentence, it is necessary to use semicolons, instead of commas, to separate the items that must be grouped together within the list.

SEMICOLONS: Sora Enso Paper has offices in Helsinki, Finland; Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin; and Brussels, Belgium.

     If this rule is not followed, the meaning of some lists may be misconstrued.

 

 

WHICH TELEPHONE GRAMMAR 
DOES YOUR OFFICE USE?


TELEPHONE GRAMMAR I

OFFICE:  DEPARTMENT OF CITY, COUNTY, AND STATE, CAN I HELP YOU?
CALLER: HELLO, MY NAME IS . . . .
OFFICE: WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO SPEAK TO?
CALLER: ONE OF THE ADMINISTRATORS.
OFFICE: WHAT IS YOUR CALL IN REGARDS TO ?
CALLER: MAY I PLEASE SPEAK TO THE OFFICE MANAGER?
OFFICE: THIS IS HER/HIM.
ARE YOU A ESCAMBIA COUNTY RESIDENCE?
(CONVERSATION CONTINUES.)
OFFICE: WE APPRECIATE YOU CALLING.

 

TELEPHONE GRAMMAR II

OFFICE: DEPARTMENT OF CITY, COUNTY, AND STATE, MAY I HELP YOU?
CALLER: HELLO, MY NAME IS. . . .
OFFICE: WHOM WOULD YOU LIKE TO SPEAK TO?
CALLER: ONE OF THE ADMINISTRATORS.
OFFICE: WHAT IS YOUR CALL IN REGARD TO ?
CALLER: MAY I PLEASE SPEAK TO THE OFFICE MANAGER?
OFFICE: THIS IS SHE/HE.
ARE YOU AN ESCAMBIA COUNTY RESIDENT?
(CONVERSATION CONTINUES.)
OFFICE: WE APPRECIATE YOUR CALLING.


 

ON-THE-JOB GRAMMAR TIP

The writer or speaker implies;
the reader or listener infers.

His memo implied that the project would be delayed.

The general manager inferred from the memo that the project would be delayed.

 

 

 

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