Punctuation Guidelines

Ampersand &
Use only when part of a company’s formal name or an official title – never in the place of “and.”

Capitalize the first word after a colon only if it is a proper noun or the start of a complete sentence.

En dash –
An en dash is supposed to be the size between a hyphen and an em dash. For reference, an en dash is used to connect numbers in a range. Examples: Open 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Monday – Friday. During the years 1999 – 2003.

NAB also uses an en dash to indicate abrupt changes. NAB style differs from AP Style, which uses an em dash to indicate abrupt changes.

Example: We will fly to Paris in June – if I get a raise.

When a phrase that otherwise would be set off by commas contains a series of words that must be separated by commas, use dashes to set off the full phrase. Example: He listed the qualities – intelligence, sense of humor, looks, charm – that he liked in a woman.

(To create an en dash in Word, type a space after a word and two hyphens after the space, then hit return and an en dash is created.)

Hyphen -
Use a hyphen to prevent one word from being mistaken for another. Examples: lock the chicken coop, buy a co-op, a unionized factory, an un-ionized substance.

When a prefix ends with an “a” or “i” and the base word begins with the same letter, use a hyphen. Examples: ultra-active, semi-indirect, semi-independent, anti-inflammatory.

When the prefix ends with an e or o and the base word begins with the same letter, the hyphen is almost always omitted. Examples: reeducate, preempt, reemploy, reelect. But: de-escalate, de-emphasize.

Use a hyphen after self when it serves as a prefix. Examples: self-addressed, self-worth, self-help, self-evident.

Omit the hyphen when self serves as the base word and is followed by a suffix. Examples: selfdom, selfish, selfhood, selfless.

When a prefix is added to a capitalized word, add a hyphen. Examples: un-American, pro-Republican, mid-January, post-World War II period.

When two or more words that express a single concept precedes a noun, use hyphens to link all the words in the compound except the adverb very and those endling in -ly. Examples: a first-quarter touchdown; a full-time job; a well-known man.

Inch marks and foot marks " and '
Used only for measurement. Do not substitute for quotation marks or apostrophes. Example: The boy’s height is 5'7".

Period .
A period is placed at the end of a sentence and inside quotations marks.

Quotation marks “ ” and ‘ ’
Use quotation marks around titles that represent part of a complete published work – articles in newspapers or magazines, titles of essays or lectures. Example: An exciting article, “Stock Market Hits 12,000” appeared in yesterday’s Washington Post. (See Composition titles on page 67.)

Use single quotation marks for a quotation or title using quotation marks inside another quotation or title, which uses quotation marks. Example: “I was hard pressed to answer her when she asked, ‘Does this outfit make me look fat?’” John quipped.

Semicolon ;
Use a semicolon when a coordinating conjunction such as “and”, “but” or “for” is not present. Example: The package was due last week; it arrived today.

To clarify a series, use semicolons to separate elements when the items in a series are long or when individual segments contain commas. Example: He is survived by a son, John Smith, of Chicago; a daughter, Ann Smith, of Denver; and a sister, Martha Smith, of Boston.