This image is from one of Dr. Bailey's books: The Practical Writer (7th edition) Handout

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Summary of rules for punctuation

by Edward P. Bailey

This handout summarizes the punctuation rules in this web site. You have permission to print one copy for your personal use but not to make any other copies.


  1. Use a colon after a complete sentence to point to a word or phrase you wish to emphasize.
  2. Use a colon after a complete sentence to point to another closely related sentence.


  1. Use a dash after a complete sentence to emphasize a word, a phrase, or another sentence.
  2. Use a dash to highlight something in the middle of a sentence.


  1. Use a semicolon to separate two related sentences.


  1. When you join two sentences with the word and, put a comma before the and.
  2. Separate all items in a simple list with commas.
  3. Use a comma after most introductory material in a sentence.

Copyright 2002 by Edward P. Bailey
(all rights reserved)