User:Stabby the Misanthrope/GODDAMN PUNCTUATION

From RationalWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

I see a lot of misuse of dashes (and I don't mean poorly formatting them), so I figured I'd tell how you're supposed to use them. For that matter, it seems many people here don't realize how to use a lot of punctuation.

This advice doesn't necessarily follow the technical explanations of them, but rather their use in practice.

When to use an em-dash[edit]

When you're making an aside that you want to draw attention to.

When to use parenthesis[edit]

When you're making an aside that it's okay for the reader to skim/skip over.

When to use a colon[edit]

To denote a list, or when you want to say "I want to show you something: here it is."

When to use a semicolon[edit]

When you want to effectively join two sentences together, because the two ideas/statements are closely tied together; the second sentence restates/clarifies what the first says.[1]

When to use a period[edit]

All the time. Seriously, don't be afraid to split an independent clause off by itself. I sometimes see whole paragraphs welded into a single sentence, as if the author was afraid of periods or something—don't do that!

When to use a comma[edit]

There are a lot of times when you're technically supposed to use a comma, but you really shouldn't. Qualifiers ("however," "unfortunately," "regardless," etc.) are supposed to be followed by a comma, as is every goddamn clause in a sentence. However, this causes longer sentences—sometimes even shorter ones—to become minefields of commas, to the point where it becomes harder to read it. So it's okay to drop a comma if using it "feels" forced.


  1. See what I did there?!