FORMAT AND ARRANGEMENT

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6.27  PUNCTUATION

Use standard punctuation for formal writing, yet opt for a simple style. Your style manual will most likely provide the basic guidelines. The comma [ , ] generally gives writers the most problems, and there are a number of rules on its use. The best rule of thumb is to use the comma when it helps the reader understand better, and avoid using a comma when it does not help the reader understand better … and especially avoid the comma whenever it confuses the issue. Here are a few important points:

insufficient commas
in a series
clarifying commas
concepts

Moreover, it has the capability of integrating alternative resources of electricity, such as solar energy, bio-fuels, wind and mini-hydropower.

, such as solar, hydroelectric, nuclear and bio-mass.

Moreover, it has the capability of integrating alternative resources of electricity such as solar energy, bio-fuels, wind, and mini-hydropower.

… such as solar, hydroelectric, nuclear, and bio-mass.

 

Always use a comma [ , ] before the conjunctions “and” or “or” in a series, and avoid using a comma before “such as”.

more complex style
simpler style
Past studies suggest that the knowledge on the effects of vegetation management aids in conservation of rare plant habitats; however, it must come together with a historical understanding of the habitats. Past studies suggest that the knowledge on the effects of vegetation management aids in conservation of rare plant habitats. It must come together, however, with a historical understanding of the habitats.

 

Commas & periods in quotations
always inside closing quotation marks
According to Day and Gastel (2006), “Good scientific writing is not a matter of life and death; it is much more important than that”. According to Day and Gastel (2006), “Good scientific writing is not a matter of life and death; it is much more important than that.
“Good scientific writing”, according to Day and Gastel (2006), “is not a matter of life and death; it is much more important than that”. “Good scientific writing,” according to Day and Gastel (2006), “is not a matter of life and death; it is much more important than that.

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