French Grammar For Dummies
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Punctuation creates meaning by helping your reader understand where one thought ends and another begins, what's quoted or possessed, when a list follows, and a host of other things. Use these grammar quick tips for correct punctuation:


  • To set apart the name of a person being addressed

  • To separate items in a list

  • After an introductory expression

  • To separate extra, nonessential statements from the rest of the sentence


  • To join two complete sentences without using and, but, and similar words

  • To separate items in a list when at least one item contains a comma


  • Following the Dear Sir or Madam line in a business letter

  • To introduce a long quotation or a list


  • To separate and emphasize an extra comment in a sentence

  • To show a range


  • To show possession (Herman's hermit, the girls' gym class)

  • To substitute for missing numerals ('07)

  • To substitute for missing letters in contractions (isn't, what's, and he's)


  • To divide words or syllables at the end of a line

  • To link two words, creating one description (second-string quarterback)

  • To attach prefixes to capitalized words (anti-Communist)

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Véronique Mazet has taught French at the high school and college level since 1986. Mazet is currently professor of French at Austin Community College. She has written several instructional French books, and works as a private and corporate French tutor and translator.

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