The Only Grammar Handbook You Hope You'll Never Need: Article 2

October 9, 2010
By Weatherby SILVER, Newtown, Pennsylvania
Weatherby SILVER, Newtown, Pennsylvania
8 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Favorite Quote:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
~ The Declaration of Independence

Article 2: Back to Really Basic Basics: The Punctuation Essentials elementary years:

Question marks


Exclamation Points
Hey, we’re not picking on you. We’ve been merely reminiscing about our teen years and how we couldn’t remember where anything went, save for periods (even that went downhill), and thought we ought to help our co-parts living through the same tough times. Ready to say, “Now, how just how did I forget that?”

Let us begin with question marks. Okay, so it’s for implying a question. No, duh. But! Do you happen to know The Three Essentials? They’re not just three essentials, they’re The Three Essentials. The Omniscient Three Essentials. Now before we get too carried away with ourselves, let us explain The Three Essentials:
1. Direct Question
2. Inside the Quotations… Always
3. Half-and-Half
Yeah. Whoa. Big time. What does it all mean? In essence, these are the three basic rules for how to use a question mark. When we say direct question, we mean that these punctuation commons can only be used after a direct question.
Check it out:
“Has the doctor assessed the situation yet?”
It is entirely a question, without any parts of sentences in it.
That’s simple. Now here’s where you may be totally stunned. As little as grammar may mean to you, this is pretty important. Like all the other punctuation symbols, it is of the essence that when you have quotation marks, and that quote needs a mark such as the question mark, then it must go inside the quotations. Otherwise, people will think you’re asking a question about the quote.
Check it out:
Example One:
“Did the president just quote Shakespeare; ‘to be or not to be’?”
Here you’re asking a question about the quote.
Example Two:
“Has the president gone astray?”
Since you are asking a direct question, and it doesn’t involve quotes, the question mark goes inside.
The last Essential is not something you put in your coffee (but believe us, we had plenty of both in writing this book) The last Essential states that when you’ve got a sentence involving sentence and question parts, then you use a question mark.
Check it out:
“Is it just me, or has the world turned on its financial axis?”
Now we proceed to periods. Periods, like question marks, also have The Three Essentials, also these may be a bit more familiar. First off, we tie in with our previous studies of independent and dependent clauses. What do you put after an independent clause? A period, because independent clauses are complete sentences.

Check it out:

“Fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on your car insurance.”
Trendy Tip: Let’s say you have a dependent clause, and you’re in a grammar crisis. You have this independent cause, and you need a way to make it fit right. You can always use a comma to link to the nearest independent clause that makes sense.

Check it out:

The dependent clause is: ‘What a world.’

The nearest sensible independent clause: ‘It’s absolutely corrupted.’

Final product: “What a world, it’s absolutely corrupted.”

The next Essential involves a bit of confusion. Take the term, Esq., commonly used for lawyers and other professionals. It’s got a period at the end, so if it’s at the end of a sentence, do you put another period to signal the end? Let us deliberate. Would it make sense, or would it look awfully strange? Truth is, you shouldn’t.

Check it out:

“Your husband has chosen an attorney for your divorce, a Mrs. Ruth Jordan, Esq.”

The final Essential get tricky, and might very well put your mind in knots. According to, “Use a period after an indirect question.” What’s an indirect question, you may ask? Well…

Check it out:

“She asked me just yesterday, despite the teacher repeating it several billion times, what the homework was.”

Here, “she” is asking a question, but it has been put into sentence form by a second person, therefore making it indirect.

Who’s excited for exclamation points?! We are! Whether you turn them into a face at the end of your sentence, or multiply in large amounts to express overwhelming joy, exclamation points are the lives of the party in the convoluted world of grammar (yes, something even as dull as grammar can have a little fun, as well) In addition, they can’t even simpler. The only thing you have to remember:
“Do not use the exclamation point in formal business writing.” (

The author's comments:
The second installation of The Only Grammar Handbook You Hope You'll Never Need.

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