For proper names ending in -s in the singular, add 's for the possessive:



Brackets are only used to show an author's changes to quoted material. They are generally used to enclose material that the "quoter" wishes to add to the quotation.

Additionally, they are used for:

  • Clarification of what something refers to (e.g., personal pronouns, abbreviations)

  • Grammar alteration (e.g., enclosing a verb to change tense from past to present)

  • Ellipses added by the author to compress the quoted text appear as brackets; ellipses that exist in the original text being cited are not enclosed in brackets

[S]he wrote, “They made there [sic] beds.”

Gross’s book has freed Poles from such delusion and self-enchantment. After Neighbors, “the paradigm of [Polish] innocence [...] no longer exists.

See also the section on parentheses.


In this section we will discuss the most common use of colons in SEEJ articles, but for a more in-depth discussion, please see this page. Colons have three primary functions:

Introduce Quotations

Colons can introduce formal quotations, block quotations and quotations with an introductory tag that includes the following, as follows, or equivalent.

Formal Quotations

We see his continued veneration of his hero in his response to his father’s low regard of Napoleon: “You may laugh as much as you like, but all the same Bonaparte is a great general!” (106).

Block Quotations

Note: For block quotations, you must wrap the text that is quoted in HVG Callout Tags. Specifically, use[HVG#li begin extract] and [HVG#li end extract] Please see the example below for how this works.

We learn from one of Princess Mary’s letters to her friend Julie Karagin that the old Prince similarly cannot bear seeing Bonaparte being treated as an emperor, being placed on the same level as the grandson of Catherine the Great. But she presents her father’s view as an exception:

[HVG#li begin extract]As you know, I am quite indifferent to politics, but from my father’s remarks and his talks with Michael Ivanovich I know all that goes on in the world and especially about the honors conferred on Buonaparte, who only at Bald Hills in the whole world, it seems, is not accepted as a great man, still less as Emperor of France. And my father cannot stand this.” (530) [HVG#li end extract]

Join Independent Clauses

A colon joining two independent clauses signals a connection between them, indicating that the second clause expands on the first. It alerts the reader to read on for an explanation or expansion of the first clause.

Append List

Use a colon before a series or list only if the words that introduce the list make up a complete sentence:

To make a cake you need a few basic ingredients: butter, sugar, eggs, milk, flour, leavener, and salt.

When to Capitalize?

Use a capital letter after a colon when the colon introduces:

  • A rule or principle

Many books would be briefer if their authors followed the logical principle known as Occam’s razor: Explanations should not be multiplied unnecessarily.

  • Several related sentences

Karen had the plan all worked out: She would take Dawn out to dinner for her birthday. While Karen and Dawn had dinner, Teresa would meet the guests at Karen’s house. Then Karen would bring Dawn to the house after dinner. Surprise!

When to NOT Capitalize?

Use a lowercase letter when the word that follows the colon is normally lowercased:

Bonnie had to admit what was already obvious to her roommates: she was allergic to the cat.


Use in Sentences

Please visit this link for information on how to properly include and space ellipses when used in a normal sentence.

Use In Quotations

Ellipsis points are used to omit material from the middle of a quotation:

In the preface, the author explains his choice for the novel's title: “The title […] has been chosen as the simplest and least suggestive" (141).

When quoting poetry, an ellipsis can be used to denote that some lines have been omitted.

Note that in this example the ellipsis receives its own line

Ellipsis points are not used:

Before the first word of a quotation, even if the beginning of the original sentence has been omitted.

According to Grossman, it is up to the writer to " […] tell the terrible truth, and it is a reader's civic duty to learn this truth" (Grossman 59).

According to Grossman, it is up to the writer to "tell the terrible truth, and it is a reader's civic duty to learn this truth" (Grossman 59).

After the last word of a quotation, even if the end of the original sentence has been omitted, unless the sentence as quoted is deliberately incomplete

According to Grossman, it is up to the writer to "tell the terrible truth […]" (Grossman 59).

According to Grossman, it is up to the writer to "tell the terrible truth" (Grossman 59).


There are two primary types of dashes:

Em dashes (—)

To quickly insert an Em-dash on PC, you can use the Alt code Alt+0151.

On Mac, hold down the Shift and Option keys and press the Minus key. Alternatively, press the Hyphen key twice and press Space.

Em dashes are used to set off an amplifying or explanatory element and can function as an alternative to parentheses, commas, or a colon—especially when an abrupt break in thought is called for. Comparison: commas enclose information without emphasis, parentheses with de-emphasis, and em dashes with emphasis. There are no spaces before or after em dashes.

She goes on to compare three variants—the manuscript, a corrected typed version, and the published work—of the story “A Few Sad Days,” whose composition occurred over an unusually long period, from 1940 to 1963.

En dashes (–)

To quickly insert an En-dash on PC, you can use the Alt code: Alt+0150

On Mac, hold down the Option key and press the Minus key.

En dashes are used for:

1. Compound terms when one element of the compound is a non-hyphenated two- or three-word element

post–World War II, New York–New Jersey highway

2. As a substitute for the word through in a range of inclusive numbers or times

The Third International advocated world communism from 1919–1943

See Dutt 11–26 for a detailed discussion of internationalism.

3. To report scores or tallies

Spartak Moscow kept alive their hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League with a 2–0 win over Yenisei Krasnoyarsk on Sunday.


Hyphens are commonly confused with em dashes and en dashes. Please see the section on dashes to learn the difference.

Hyphens are used in the following contexts:

Join some compounds words

mass-produced, kilowatt-hour, English-speaking

Attach prefixes

Generally any expression not included in your dictionary. When a compound functions as an adjective, it is hyphenated.

Centuries as adjective

When a century is used as an adjective, a hyphen should be placed in between the ordinal number and "century."

The essays within are organized chronologically, starting with Elena Boeck’s work on a late seventeenth- or early eighteenth-century manuscript collection of Marian texts.


Use parentheses within parentheses (usually for citation purposes), not brackets within parentheses.

(A "spiritual correlate of Russia's geostrategic situation" (Hosking 310))

(A "spiritual correlate of Russia's geostrategic situation" [Hosking 310])

See also the section on brackets.

Punctuation and Parentheses

The period goes inside when the parenthetical comment is its own complete sentence, but other wise goes outside

Tolstoy went to bed at ten and was up by five. (Though he would sometimes take a two hour nap during the afternoon.)

Tolstoy enjoyed afternoon naps (sometimes).

Punctuation marks that are part of the parenthetical comment go inside (e.g., exclamation point, question mark)

Even a fool gets to be young once (but not twice!).

Since a parenthetical comment cannot end with a comma or a semicolon, these always go outside the closing parenthesis

Wilhelm and George were first cousins (through George's father), George and Nicholas were also first cousins (through George's mother), and Wilhelm and Nicholas were third cousins.

Wilhelm’s mother was the sister of George’s father (Edward VII); George’s mother (Alexandra of Denmark) and Nicholas’ mother (Dagmar of Denmark) were sisters from the Danish royal family.

Quotations Marks

Punctuation and Quotation Marks

Periods and commas go inside the closing quotation mark

Chapter 1, “Christianity’s Unified First Millennium,” describes nascent saint-making processes in the early Christian era.

The fourth text selected for treatment is “The Tale of the Twelve Fridays.”

Colons and semicolons go outside the closing quotation mark

Participants stated they were “excited to begin”: We controlled for participants' expectations in our study.

Exclamation points, question marks, and dashes go inside if the mark belongs to the quoted material but outside the mark if not part of the quotation

Schwartz skillfully conveys the Tsvetaevian flavor of Likonya’s behavior and language by keeping the exclamations found in the Russian text: “Tonight she would have no sleep at all, that was evident. Oh, this was how it should be! Not bit by bit, dose by dose, but all at once! That’s what I want: all at once! I don’t care if I do suffocate!” (172).

Who is Pushkin referring to as "the queens of my soul"?

Single Quotation Marks

Single quotations marks (' ') are used when quotation marks are used within a quotation:

The main features of Soviet pet-keeping culture of the 60s and 70s, according to Amy Nelson, presented a paradox and “embraced the dog as companion, ‘a member of the family’ and an oracle of the natural world.”


Semicolons serve two primary functions:

Join independent clauses more closely together than a period would:

I am going home; I intend to stay there.

Separate syntactical elements more definitely than a comma

Genius consists in a carefully trained, highly polished ability; a thoughtfully educated, unbiased good taste; and a willingness to engage in, and a persistence to do hard work.

We encourage authors unsure of how to properly use semicolons to consult the following pages:

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