General rules for punctuation

Commas and periods

  • Use between elements of a series in running text. Only use a comma before the final "and," "or" or "nor" to avoid confusion.
  • PS: - appears with colon and without periods.
  • Acronyms should be all caps, no periods, no spaces.
     - GPA, ID cards

Quotation marks

  • Quotation marks are placed outside commas and periods and inside semicolons and colons.
  • Question marks and exclamation points are placed inside quotation marks if they are part of the quote and outside if they are not.
  • Items placed inside quotation marks include article titles, direct quotes, parts of books, and short poems.

Dashes and hypens

  • en dash (longer than hyphen, shorter than em dash): use in ranges, such as dates and times, and to connect nouns.
     - 3:00–5:15 p.m., June 6–10
     - human–computer interaction

    *To make an en dash, press ctrl+minus. Looks like:
  • em dash: use as a strong comma or parenthesis—or for extra emphasis
    *To make an em dash, press ctrl+alt+minus. Looks like: —
  • hyphen: use hyphens in compound adjectives
     - 12-year-old world-class athlete


  • Use one space, not two, between the end punctuation of one sentence and the beginning of the next.
  • When using a slash "/" omit surrounding spaces.


  • An ellipsis ( ... ) is used to indicate an omission from text or a quotation. Insert one space before and after the ellipsis. No further punctuation is required when an ellipsis ends a sentence.