Tag Archives: punctuation

Punctuation may be used to clarify meaning in written English, but the rules governing these marks tend to be anything but clear to modern high schoolers. Luckily, we can teach every rule the SAT and ACT test on commas, colons, semicolons, dashes, apostrophes, and other marks in a surprisingly short and engaging session. Plus, mastery of punctuation marks makes anyone a better writer! This seminar is perfect for any student who still struggles with punctuation questions on the tests or in school.   This online seminar is part of our August Seminar Series. The fee is $25 for this program or $99 for as many of the month’s seminars as you like.   Advance registration is required. Register through our Student Information Form and specify August SAT & ACT Punctuation. We will reply to registrants by email with the invitation to this Zoom seminar.   ABOUT YOUR TEACHER: Hilarie Lloyd is…

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In a world where most communication occurs through spoken word and snippets of text, the rules governing effective written communication begin to fade, becoming first esoteric and then inscrutable. Punctuation appears most mysterious to the average English speakers, particularly those marks that appear in the middle of sentences. Punctuation marks in general serve to add structure and logic to written communication. Often, this role requires making the right connections between independent clauses (those that stand on their own) and dependent clauses (those that cannot stand on their own). While commas, colons, and dashes may be used to connect clauses, none of these operate as easily and simply as the semicolon. In a world of complexity, semicolon rules are beautifully basic: use a semicolon to connect related independent clauses. That is all. We generally use terminal punctuation marks like periods and question marks to connect independent clauses by making them sentences.…

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Punctuation is definitely stressed on the ACT and SAT, and comma rules are probably among the most commonly tested. While many rules are just that (a guiding principle), some rules are more ‘guiding’ than ‘principle.’ This is the case with the Oxford, or serial, comma that is optional depending on preference. The Oxford comma (named for the preferred style of the Oxford University Press) is the last comma that appears in a list. For example, I went shopping and bought a pen, pencil, and stapler. The Oxford comma is the last comma in the list (between ‘pencil and the word ‘and’). Many would leave out this comma so that the sentence looks like this: I went shopping and bought a pen, pencil and stapler. In this case, it’s clear what the person means. However, there are situations where leaving out the Oxford comma affects the meaning of the sentence. Consider…

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