NSU Style Manual and Publications Service Guide

41 This section includes selected guidelines only; it does not attempt to cover all the rules of punctuation. For additional information on the use of punctuation, consult The Chicago Manual of Style or a grammar handbook. apostrophe For nouns plural in form, but singular in meaning, add only an apostrophe: mathematics’ rules, measles’ effects, United States’ wealth. For singular nouns ending in -S sounds (but not in -S itself), add apostrophe and s: Butz’s policies, the fox’s den, Xerox’s product. Never use an apostrophe to denote the plural of a personal name: the Smiths, not the Smith’s. See plurals. colon Capitalize the first word after a colon only if it is a proper noun or the start of a complete sentence. Insert only one space after the colon. • She gave us her promise: The company will make good all the losses. • BUT That evening we had three goals: to eat dinner, to discuss the day’s work, and to get to bed before 2:00 a.m. UNNECESSARY COLONS. The words preceding a colon should form a complete sentence. If you find yourself putting a colon after such as or a verb, it is probably incorrect. (Hint: Try reading your sentence out loud and see how silly it sounds to come to a complete stop after such as.) comma In a series, put a comma before the and. • The campus tour included the library, the gym, and the theater. With dates: see dates in this manual. You can omit the comma after a short introductory phrase, but only if no ambiguity will result. • At St. Mary’s you feel immediately at home. • BUT On the street below, a curious crowd gathered. When a conjunction such as and, but, or for links two independent clauses, use a comma before the conjunction if the subject of each clause is expressly stated. • We visited Washington, and our senator greeted us personally. • BUT We are visiting Washington and plan to see the White House. Use a comma in numbers of 1,000 and above, unless they appear in an address or an SAT score. Use a comma before too (when it means also) unless it looks wrong in context. Consistency is not necessarily in order here. Names of people • Robert Allen Smith III (no commas) • G. Benjamin Lantz, Jr., is the president of the University of Indianapolis. Names of states or nations, with city names • Last year we had students from Selma, Alabama, and from Fargo, North Dakota; this year we have students from Dublin, Ireland, and even from Reykjavik, Iceland. Commas always go inside quotation marks. See also academic degrees and class of. dash There are several types of dashes, each with specific uses. For the purposes of this manual, there are three types to know: the em dash, the en dash, and the hyphen. Most wordprocessing programs have em and en dashes available. For those that don’t (or for typewriters), use two hyphens to represent an em dash, and a hyphen to represent an en dash. The em dash is the longest, and denotes an abrupt change, interruption, or emphatic phrase. Do not place spaces before or after the dashes. • The professor’s hypothesis—though rejected by scholars— actually had merit. University name—location • University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill Guide to Punctuation and Usage