TOW #2- GRAMMAR GIRL: D-shes…Parenth(s)s…Comm,s

I read and listened to the article titled Dashes, Parentheses, and Commas from Grammar Girl. I have always been somewhat unfamiliar with the correct way to use these certain punctuations. This article provided a clear set of instructions, including examples, to properly use these punctuations. It taught me that though these three symbols can be used in many different ways, there is a preferred place for each in writing. Dashes give enthusiasm or excitement to a sentence, parentheses provide just an FYI in the sentence, and commas are used when a sentence is conversational; used as if you were writing your verbal communication.

Dashes, Parentheses, and Commas are used in writing to clarify the text.

I was surprised to find out that dashes interrupt and provide excitement to sentences. To me, that is contradictory but also makes sense. I never truly understood how punctuation provides such emotion in writing. It’s not just the way a reader perceives what is written; it is up to the writer to provide such emotion through proper punctuation.

I would like to learn more about other punctuation such as semicolons and colons. I tend to lack the knowledge to know when to use certain punctuations in certain writing situations. I will look more on Grammar Girl to see if I can find the proper help.

Take Note:


  • Use when you want to “hang a spot light on your words.”
  • Interrupt your sentence, unlike commas and parentheses.
  • Use when the part you need to set off already has commas.
  • Highlights add-ins, rather than just mentioning them.
  • It is OK to use just one dash to pin point a “wild” feeling to a sentence.
  • Use dashes when you want to enclose or set off something that deserves a lot of attention, is meant to interrupt your sentence, or already has commas or parentheses in it. 

Example from the website:

There was only one thing missing from the pirate ship–pirates.


  • Use when you want to add something to the sentence.
  • The text in the parentheses is not necessary; without the add-on the sentence loses no meaning.
  • Use when the text presents no excitement.
  • Use when the text being added already has an internal comma.
  • Use parentheses when you want to enclose something that is incidental to the sentence, something that is background or almost unnecessary. 

Example from the website:

The 30th anniversary of the eruption of Mount St. Helens (May 18, 1980) brought back vivid memories of ash and darkness.


  • Kind of dull
  • Tons of rules that govern the use of comma use
  • Use when the words you are inclosing are a natural part of the sentence.
  • Define and clarify statements
  • Use when using “which” clauses. (“which” versus “that” and commas)
  • Use commas to enclose things that belong firmly in the flow of your sentence. 

Example from the website:

My youngest sister, Meghan, will be visiting soon.


TOW #1 Part 2 – NEWSU: Cleaning Your Copy

In order to be an effective writer, you must first know the basic priciples of grammar. When to use: that/which, who/whom, they’re/there/there, lay/lie, etc. A copy with punctiation errors, spelling errors, and poor overall grammar will never be taken seriously. NewsU provides an excellent look into the correct way to compose work and writing.

I was surprised to see how much I did not know. There were many elements pointed out in this course that shocked me; that I have been gettign wrong all along.

For instance, I had no idea that there were eight states that you don’t abbreviate. I wasn’s aware that a comma does not go in from of “Jr,” now was I aware that when listing an address, the Blvd., Ave., and St. can be abbreviated; only with number address.

I learned so much about the correct ways to punctuate and style my writing. I think this is a wonderful tool to help any improve their writing skills.


1 Comment

Filed under PRCA 3330, TOW

One response to “TOW #2- GRAMMAR GIRL: D-shes…Parenth(s)s…Comm,s

  1. Great post! You have given a ton of information to clarify the difference between dashes, parentheses and commas. If you want you can subscribe to and download the latest podcasts from Grammar Girl to stay up to date with her latest posts.

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