Don’t Upset the Punctuation Police!

Hello… and welcome back to ME!  Sorry that I’ve been away for a little bit, but once again, that RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB is keeping me about as busy as my next two books are, and that is extremely busy.  So, please accept my sincere apologies and always know, that even though I’m not right here with you, I’m with you in spirit and writing 🙂

This month marks the one year anniversary of my baby, my blog WATCH NONNIE WRITE!  And even though it’s “our” birthday, we want to give YOU the gifts.  Today, I wanted to give you a brief snippet of writing support.  This is just a little teaser leading up to Wednesday. On Wednesday, April 16th, I embark on a 15-DAY BLOG TOUR, entitled HAPPY BIRTHDAY:  ARE YOU WATCHING NONNIE WRITE?  (And by the way, if you aren’t yet, now would be a great time to start!…I mean, you don’t want to miss out on anything good, do you?)  The blog tour schedule will be posted here and every day a new link will open and I hope that you will support me by stopping by and sharing your thoughts and comments. 

So, here goes, my WRITING SKILLS TIP Teaser:  Hail to the Punctuation Police!


If you’re a writer, punctuation marks are your traffic signals.  A period means to STOP (Red light), a comma means to slow down (yellow light) and no punctuation at all means to just keep going (Green light).  But, if you’re not careful with that green light, you could end up in deep trouble.

Now that we’re familiar with the signals that keep us moving smoothly along on the busy highways of writing, here are some symbols that you may or may not be familiar with and what they’re used for:

Quotation marks:  Can be used to emphasize a word or cite an example.  They also serve two main functions:

a)  to show what someone said and b) to identify the title of a short story, poem, article, song, chapter in a book or any other short piece of writing.  (Titles of longer written works such as books, movies and magazines are commonly underlined or italicized.)

Exclamation Points:  Use them sparingly and wisely otherwise when you need them to really count, they won’t be taken seriously.  Remember the boy who cried wolf?  (By the way, I’m guilty of their over-use, but I use them to show my excitement…that’s OK, right?)

The Ellipsis:  Many of us use these and don’t even know what they’re called .  (I often refer to them as dot, dot, dot…you all know what I mean, though).  These three periods (…) indicate that words have been left out of a direct quotation.  The correct way to write an ellipsis is with one space on either side.

The Colon:  Used to announce a list of items, a long quotation or a very important statement … (i.e. The following books are being purchased, read and reviewed from our online catalog:  “DAYDREAM’S DAUGHTER, NIGHTMARE’S FRIEND,”THE GOOD MOMMIES’ GUIDE TO RAISING (ALMOST) PERFECT DAUGHTERS,” “SUGARCOATIN’ IS FOR CANDY & PACIFYIN’ IS FOR KIDS”).

The Dash:  Did you know the dash (-) can serve the same function as parentheses?  The proper way to write them is with one space on either side.

I hope I’ve left you with just enough to whet your palate for more.  Stay tuned for my first stop on Wednesday.  The full schedule of stops will be posted right here, and just know, there will be more tips for you to enjoy!  And if you don’t follow my tour, that guy above with the stick, will be forced to give you a ticket!

Until next time…..









  1. If going by The Chicago Manual of Style, section 2.13 states that no space is to be left on either side of the dash.


    • Hi Jeri! Unfortunately, everyone doesn’t use the Chicago Manual of Style. I, for one don’t use it myself. So, if it’s that important of an issue to someone, I would suppose that they would use their own preference (which is what I tend to do) or best judgment in the matter. Thanks for stopping by!


      • Yet the CMOS does help a standard to guide us through so many choices 🙂


      • I’m sure it does. I personally have never looked at a copy of it, but have read thru other manuals that I found to be pretty helpful. To me, in the end, the use of that particular piece of punctuation, will boil down to someone’s preference, even in the guide they use as their go-by 🙂


  2. Shirley L. Slaughter

    Nonnie is at it again, sharing a wealth of good information. You Rock!!


  3. Thank you for sharing this information.


  4. Thanks for the heads-up – don’t want to get caught by the Police.
    Hope my punctuation is okay. Did I use – correctly?


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