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Commas and Other Punctuations

Use commas to separate items in a simple series but not before the conjunction.

Example: The items on the dean's agenda included sabbaticals, collective bargaining and parking.


A comma should be used before the conjunction, however, if there would be a possibility of confusion without it.

Example: Among those attending the conference were the deans of art, humanities and social sciences, and health and human development.


Use a comma to separate a name and academic degree.

Example: Charles J. Jones, Ph.D.

Do not use a comma to separate a name from Jr. or Sr.


When used with quotation marks, commas and periods are always enclosed within the quotation marks.

Example: “This parking lot is crowded,” he said. “I should have stayed at home.”


Colons and semicolons are never enclosed within quotation marks unless they are part of the quotation.

Example: He had not read Professor Jones’ monograph, “Ozone Contamination”; in fact, he had never heard of it. He retitled his monograph, “Ozone Contamination: Earth’s Open Window.”


Colons and semicolons are followed by a single space in a typed manuscript.

The dash, question mark and exclamation mark are enclosed within quotation marks only when they apply to the quoted material.

Example: “Shall we all go together?” he asked. Did he say, “We should all go together”?