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UNF Style Guide Punctuation Basics

Cities and states

Use a comma after the city and after the state or country.


Right: Alexandria, Virginia, is my hometown.
Right: The conference is in Brussels, Belgium, next year.

Day and date

Use commas to separate the year from the day and after the year. Do not use suffixes with dates.


Right: July 1, 1960, is our anniversary.
Right: We were married July 1, 1960.
Wrong: We were married July 1st, 1060.
Wrong: We were married in June 1960, in Florida.
Right: We were married in June 1960 in Florida.

Introductory phrases

Short introductory phrases such as "Last year" and "In 1989" do not always require commas. When in doubt, leave it out.


Right: Last year 400 freshmen were admitted to UNF.
Wrong: Last year, the campus was much smaller.

Jr., Sr., III

The designations “Jr.,” “Sr.” and “III” should not be preceded or followed by commas.


Right: John Jones Jr. went to the party.
Wrong: John Jones, Jr., went to the party
Right: John Jones III went to the party.
Wrong: John Jones, III went to the party.


Place the period inside the parentheses when the matter enclosed is an independent sentence forming no part of the preceding sentence. Otherwise, place it outside.


Right: The office is in Founders Hall, Building 2 (on the first floor).

Punctuation with quotations

Commas and periods always go inside the quotation marks. Exclamation points and question marks go inside the quotation marks when they are part of the quoted matter; otherwise, they go outside.


Right: Gomer Pyle said, "Golly, Sergeant!" when he heard the news.
Right: What did Martin Luther King Jr. mean when he said, "I have a dream"?


In running quotations, closing quotation marks should be omitted at the end of paragraphs, but each new paragraph should begin with open quotation marks.

Semicolons and colons

Semicolons and colons should be placed outside quotation marks or parentheses. When quoting material ending with one of these punctuation marks, the colon or semicolon is dropped.


Right: Joseph Jackson said the plan needed "a few minor adjustments"; however, he did not reject it entirely.


Do not use a comma before the last item in a series unless it is needed for clarity.


Right: She chose the colors red, white and blue.

Wrong: She chose the colors red, white, and blue.


Only one space is needed between sentences. Be consistent with spacing.


If a website address is included in text and cannot fit on one line, manually break the address after a punctuation mark or between actual words in the address and continue on the next line of text. Make sure that a hyphen is not placed where the address breaks.


Right: The office often makes use of the advice listed at www.bestadvice/office/practices.htm.

Wrong: the office often makes use of the advice listed at wwwbestadvice- /office/practices.htm.


NOTE: A period is still needed after a website address to close the sentence. If "www" is part of the address, the "http://" does not need to be included. If "www" is not part of the address, include the http://.