# Common Confusions

Quotations, apostrophes, and more!

TCTC Writing Center Prepared by Jennifer Higgins-Spiers July 2007

### Quotation Confusions….

 When students write quotations, they tend to believe that ALL quotes must go inside quotation marks. This is not always true.  Indirect quotes explain what was said or described in written text, DIRECT quotes are EXACT quotes from the person’s mouth or written text .  Only direct quotes need quotation marks .

### Direct Quotes vs. Indirect Quotes

 He said, “The Tigers will play against the Gamecocks next week.” DIRECT QUOTE  He said that the Tigers will play against the Gamecocks next week. INDIRECT QUOTE  According to Dr. Finnegan, “Results of the experiments will vary depending on age and weight.” DIRECT QUOTE  Dr. Finnegan explained that the results of the experiments will vary depending on age and weight. INDIRECT QUOTE

### Incorrect Usage of Quotation Marks

 Mrs. Donovan said that “Earth is located in the Milky Way Galaxy.”  The principal told us “that school safety was our number one priority.”  My mother said that “she was tired.”  It has been said that “life is like a box of chocolates.”

   

### Punctuation and Capitalization Inside Quotation Marks.

Periods and commas ALWAYS go inside the quotation marks.

First letters of the first words in quotes are ALWAYS capitalized. If you have a SPLIT quote, the second part of the quote does not always need capitalization.

Question marks go inside the quote only if the ? is part of the quote.

Semicolons and colons go outside the quotation marks.      “Next week, we need to get our visa for Kazakhstan,” Rob said.

Rob said, “Next week, we need to get our visa for Kazakhstan.” “Next week,” he said, “we need to get our visa for Kazakhstan.” “Can you help me with this physics problem?” Margo asked.

Do you like the song “Blue Suede Shoes”?

Bam Bam yelled, “Pebbles! Come here!”; Pebbles exclaimed, “Get away from me!”

### Apostrophe Confusions

   Apostrophes are used in TWO ways:   To show possession For contractions (combining a pronoun/verb or a verb/adverb and sometimes two verbs) You NEVER use the apostrophe to make a word plural.

You NEVER use an apostrophe for a verb that ends in -s Plural means more than one.

Possessive means ownership.

Contraction means combination.

### Apostrophes for Contractions

 They can’t be serious!

can + not (verb + adverb)  Isn’t that lovely?

is + not (verb + adverb)  She’s coming tomorrow.

she + is (pronoun + verb)  Mark should’ve listened to him.

should+ have (verb + verb)  You’ll have to wait.

you + will (pronoun + verb)  Do you know when they’re they + are (pronoun + verb) coming?

### Plural vs. Possessive

 They have so many dogs !

Plural- NO apostrophe

 The dog’s paw is sore.

Possessive- NEEDS apostrophe

 All students should go to the Writing Center.

Plural- NO apostrophe

 Students’ writing will improve!

Possessive NEEDS apostrophe

### Note: The Difference between Possessive Nouns and Pronouns

 You use apostrophes for possessive NOUNS only.  Possessive pronouns are separate words and NEVER need an apostrophe!

 REMEMBER: You NEVER use apostrophes to make a noun or pronoun plural!

### Incorrect usage of apostrophes

  Those

are

her’s.

horse’s

for our barn.

   She never

use’s apostrophe’s

correctly!

I know

his’

family.

Today, I bought

egg’s

,

potato’s, chip’s

and

pickle’s

. This is BAD! DON’T DO IT!

### When Apostrophes Are Tricky…

 Most of the time, when you indicate possession in a noun, the apostrophe comes BEFORE the –s.  Apostrophes, however, are complicated. They like to confuse you.  Sometimes you need to put the apostrophe AFTER the –s in order to make your possessive noun correct.

### WHY? WHY? WHY?

    Remember: Nouns are both SINGULAR and PLURAL.

When the apostrophe comes BEFORE the –s, the noun is SINGULAR and the possession deals with that ONE noun ONLY. When the apostrophe comes AFTER the the plural noun.

–s, the noun is PLURAL and the possession deals with A good rule to follow with plural possessives is to make the noun plural and then make it possessive.

### Examples of the Plural Possessive

 The governments’ leaders will have a big summit next week. (More than one leader of more than one government ).

 The kittens’ mother is too tired to play.(ONE mother to more than one kitten ).

 Jessica stayed the night at her parents’ house. (She has more than one parent living in one house).

### Grammatical Confusions

 There are some grammatical structures that are incorrectly mistaken for grammatical errors:  Passive voice  Multiple commas  Numbers

### Passive Voice

    When you are writing, MS Word picks up on some grammatical structures. Many times, if you write a sentence in passive voice, MS Word will “tell you.” While MS word underlines the sentence, it is often mistaken as an error. Passive voice sentences are GRAMMTICALLY CORRECT; you just want to limit yourself on the number of passive voice sentences.

Passive voice, if overused, creates confusion to the reader. Otherwise, it is perfectly OK to use it. There may be better ways to write the sentence, but it is not incorrect.

Sometimes you MUST write a sentence in passive voice, depending on the context of your paragraph. Be sure that you are clear.

### Examples of Passive Voice Sentences

Passive Voice       The tantrum was thrown by my brother.

It has been said: if you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen. The cookies were engulfed by the Cookie Monster.

The flowers were planted.

We have been told to never talk to strangers.

CSI

has been watched for a long time.

Remember: all of these passive voice sentences are grammatically correct; just make sure you avoid using this too often.

Active Voice   My brother threw a tantrum.

“If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen” is a famous quote.

Jamie and Ashley planted the flowers.

Our parents told us to never talk to strangers.

People have watched

CSI

for a long time.

### Multiple Commas

    Sometimes we write COMPLICATED sentences! When we do this, we may need to use more than one comma in a sentence.

Students are often wary about using commas since they tend to get themselves in trouble using so many commas.

If you know your comma rules and FOLLOW THEM, you will find that your commas, even if you have a bunch of them in one sentence, are correct. Remember: a comma splice happens ONLY when a comma joins two independent clauses.

### Examples of Sentences with Multiple Commas

    A long time ago

,

a large lightning bolt hit that tree

,

and when the tree fell

,

it damaged our roof.

They tried to get home

,

but since the water level rose so quickly

,

they were stuck on the interstate. Last week

,

day

,

even though it was a cold

,

I got a lot of work done in my yard cloudy

,

and I was able to clean my entire house

,

too.

After three long years

,

Persephone

,

a senior who worked five part-time jobs to save enough money to study in St. Petersburg.

,

was finally able

### Numbers

Here is the rule:  You spell out numbers between zero and nine,  You write any number 10 and above. Exceptions to the rule:  If you have a number as the first word in your sentence, you need to spell it out.

 If you have a sentence with multiple numbers, and some of them include numbers beyond 10, you can write out all numbers

### Examples of Sentences with Numbers

 Zoey needs to grow three more inches before she can ride the roller coaster.

 I haven’t seen her in 15 years!

 He is 12, his brother is 6, and his sister is 9.  Seventeen years ago, she was convicted of blatant plagiarism, and now she is finally getting out of jail.

### You’re finished!

 Hopefully you are not more confused about these issues than you were before you began this presentation!