- The apostrophe forms the possessive case of nouns.Mr. Smith’s (apostrophe – s) car Bob Davis’s (apostrophe – s) boat — singular the
Davis’ (s – apostrophe) boat — plural the women’s (apostrophe – s) coats — plural father-in-law’s (apostrophe – s) In hyphenated words, add the apostrophe to the last word.
- Apostrophes show the omission of letters or numerals.do not — don’t (apostrophe – t) can not — can’t (apostrophe – t) class of 1984 — class of ’84 (apostrophe – 84)
- Apostrophes add clarity when forming the plural of words, letters, symbols, and numbers referred to as words (including acronyms).She earned three A’s (apostrophe – s).There are two MSC’s (apostrophe – s)on post. His 3’s (apostrophe – s) and 5’s (apostrophe – s) look alike. The Cowboys dominated football in the 1970’s (apostrophe – s).Use +’s(apostrophe – s) and -‘s (apostrophe – s) on the test.
- The dash (indicated by “–” in typing) shows a sudden break in thought.Well, if that’s how you feel –(dash) I guess the game is over.
- The dash sets off parenthetical elements.The train arrived –(dash) can you believe it –(dash) right on time.
- The dash emphasizes an appositive.Bill only worried about one thing –(dash) food.
- The dash precedes the author’s name after a direct quotation.
“That is nonsense up with which I will not put.” –(dash) Winston Churchill
- The hyphen joins compound words.mother-in-law: mother-(hyphen)in-(hyphen)law
- The hyphen joins words to make a single adjective.senior-level leadership: senior-(hyphen)level leadership
- The hyphen indicates two-word numbers (21 to 99) and two-word fractions.twenty-two: twenty-(hyphen)twothree-fourths: three-(hyphen)fourths
- The hyphen separates the prefixes ex- (when it means former), self-, all-, and the suffix -elect from the base word.ex-president: ex-(hyphen) president all-conference: all-(hyphen) conference self-confident: self-(hyphen) confident Senator-elect: Senator-(hyphen) elect
- The hyphen indicates words divided at the end of a line.The classroom accommodates thirty-(hyphen and line-break) six people.
- Italics, underlining, designates titles of separate publications. Underlining is used when italics cannot be reproduced (e.g., typewriter).Books — (ital) The Catcher in the Rye (end ital)
Magazines and newspapers — (ital) Newsweek/The New York Times (end ital)
Pamphlets — (ital) Bee Keeping (end ital)
Plays, TV and radio programs,
and films — (ital) The Burning Bed (end ital)
Long Pois — (ital) The Candelabras Tales (end ital)
- Italics indicate the names of ships, aircraft, and spacecraft.Schultz sailed on the (ital) Enterprise. (end ital)
The explosion aboard the (ital) Challenger (end ital) was a tragedy.
- Italics indicate the titles of paintings and sculptures.(ital) The Mona Lisa (end ital)(ital) Crossing the Delaware (end ital)
- Italics indicate foreign words not yet Anglicized.It was a (ital) fait accompli (end ital).
- Italics indicate words, symbols, letters, or figures when used as such.The (ital) t (end ital) is often silent.
Avoid using (ital) & (end ital) in formal writing.
- Italics show emphasis.You are (ital) so (end ital) right about the car