Parentheses ( ) serve the following functions as
shown in each example:
To set off material not intended to be part of the
main statement or that is not a grammatical
element of the sentence, yet important enough to
Examples: It is not customary (at least in the
areas mentioned) to stand at attention. That
proposal, he said, and one by (Prime Minister
John) Major are being studied.
To facilitate further identification that is not part
of the official name
Example: The Springfield (Virginia) Historical
To set off letters or figures in a series
Examples: The order of importance will
be (a) general acceptance, (b) costs and
(c) opposition. The water is (1) tepid, (2) muddy
from silt and (3) unpalatable.
As shown in each example, the dash () is used in
the following cases:
To indicate a sudden change and interjection
I mean? approved it. If that man gains control
Examples: The commanderdo you know who
God forbid our troubles will have just
After dateline and before the first word of a story
Example: NEW YORK five people were
Note that a dash consists of two strokes of the
hyphen (or minus sign) key on your computer keyboard.
The hyphen (-) is used to separate compound words,
figures, abbreviations and figures, double vowels in
some cases and to divide a word at the end of a line.
The general rule for hyphens is that like
characters take the hyphen; unlike characters do not.
Note the following examples:
Examples: Secretary-Treasurer (compound word);
20-20 vision (figures); bell-like (use a hyphen to avoid
tripling a consonant).
Other uses of the hyphen and examples are as
Adjectival use of hyphens must be clear.
Examples: The 6-foot man eating shark was
killed (the man was). The 6-foot man-eating
shark was killed (the shark was).
Ordinarily, in prefixes ending in vowels and
followed by the same vowel, the hyphen is used.
Example: pre-eminent. (Check dictionary for
exceptions such as cooperate, coordinate, etc.)
The hyphen also serves to distinguish between
meanings of similarly spelled words.
Example: recover (from illness), re-cover
The hyphen separates a prefix from a proper
Examples: un-American, pre-Christian era
Do not use a hyphen between vice and
president or other such titles, or with adverbs ending
in ly. Note the following examples:
Examples: badly damaged car, frilly informed
public, newly elected official.
In newswriting, capitalization is correct in the
following cases, examples and exceptions:
The first word of a sentence
Example: Good grammar is essential.
Titles and ranks (rates) followed by a proper
noun, but lowercase titles standing alone or
following a name
Example: Secretary of State C. R. Dryden, but
C. R. Dryden, secretary of state.
Exception: The President of the United States is
Pope and the titles of foreign religious leaders,
when used as a formal title before a name, but
lowercase when titles stand alone or follow