More about the Em Dash!

[source] Remember when I talked about using em dash vs. ellipses with dialogue? Here’s another quick em dash tip regarding surrounding punctuation, which can be found in CMOS 6.87. A question mark or exclamation point can precede an em dash. A comma, colon, and semicolon cannot. Example (from CMOS): Only if—heaven forbid!—you lose your passport should […]

Grammar Tip: Should You Use Double Punctuation?!

Hello! Welcome to Grammar Tip Tuesday, where I bring you a (hopefully) helpful grammar tip so that you can be smarter than everyone else. Today’s tip will be short and sweet and concerns a personal pet peeve of mine: double punctuation. Example: “You mean you’re breaking up with me?!” Note the use of an exclamation […]

How to Use Punctuation with Closing Quotation Marks

Welcome to grammar tip Tuesday, where every week I post an unusual, unknown, or otherwise helpful grammar tip to help you be smarter than everyone else. Today’s topic? Colons and semicolons and question marks and other types of punctuation with quotation marks, brought to you by Chicago Manual of Style 16th edition, 6.10: “Colons and […]

Grammar Tip: Cut Those Dangling Modifiers!

A dangling modifier is a tricky little beast. At first you think you’ve written a great sentence, but then your editor leaves you a comment about a dangling modifier. What? Let’s start with a definition: a modifier is something that, obviously, modifies. It alters, changes, or otherwise defines something else in the sentence. The reason […]

Using an Em Dash vs. Ellipses in Dialogue

The incorrect use of em dashes and ellipses is not something that matters a whole lot in the grand scheme of writing. There are  more crucial grammatical issues such as direct address commas, apostrophes, and spelling. However, dash/ellipses confusion is a personal pet peeve of mine, and thankfully, the rule is easy enough to remember: […]