PUNCTUATION
    GUIDELINES
     
Quotation Marks (" ") --- Used around the exact words of a speaker.

Example One: "Have you been to the new mall?" asked Todd.
Example Two:  Todd asked, "Have you been to the new mall?"

Warning! Do not be fooled by a sentence such as the example shown below. It  is not a direct quote and does not require quotation marks.

Example: Todd asked if I had been to the new mall.

Semicolon (;) --- Used between the clauses of a compound sentence that are not joined by and, or, but, or  nor. It can be regarded as a weak period. Example: I reserved the room for the party; Sally took care of the music.

Apostrophe (') --- Used in place of the omitted letters of a contraction. Example: doesn't = does not --- Used to form possessive nouns. Examples: baby's rattle, student's books, dog's collar

Period (.) --- Used at the end of a statement, request, or indirect question. Examples: I ate the pizza. Speak more slowly. I wonder who will win. --- Used in abbreviations for titles, degrees, and expressions of time.

Examples:
Sue Clark, M.D.
The play begins at 7:30 p.m.

  Colon (:) --- Used to show a list of items that follows it.
Examples:
He  participates in three sports: football, basketball, and track.

Do not use a colon directly following a form of the verb be or a preposition.
Example:
His four favorite writers are Bradbury, King, Donne, and Thoreau.

Comma (,)

1)  Used to set off elements that interrupt a sentence.
Example:
That boy, in fact, worked very hard this summer.

2)  Used to separate items in a list.
Example:
  I like hotdogs, cake, and tacos.

3)  Used to set off nonessential clauses and nonessential participial phrases.
Example:
Texas, which has the most farms in this country, produces one fourth of our oil.

4)  Used after an introductory dependent clause.  
Example:
If you study, you will pass.

5)  Used to set off a appositive.
Example:
William Shakespeare, a famous English playwright, wrote  Romeo and Juliet.

Warning! Because there are so many comma rules, people tend to overuse the comma. When in serious doubt, leave the comma out; it's better to have too few than too many.