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ACT Prep

Parentheses, dashes, periods, question marks, and exclamation points.

Parentheses

What do you notice about the following sentece?

Mrs. Carr and Mrs. Miller’s road trip (which they made in a red convertible) lasted three weeks and spanned fourteen states.

Parentheses

Parentheses usually surround words or phrases that break a sentence’s train of thought but provide explanatory information for it.

Mrs. Carr and Mrs. Miller’s road trip (which they made in a red convertible) lasted three weeks and spanned fourteen states.

Parenthetical Sentences

What do you notice about the following sentence?

Their road trip lasted three weeks and spanned fourteen states. (The one they took two years ago lasted two weeks and covered ten states.) When they got home, they were exhausted.

Parenthetical Sentences

add additional information without diverting the flow.

Their road trip lasted three weeks and spanned fourteen states. (The one they took two years ago lasted two weeks and covered ten states.) When they got home, they were exhausted.

Parenthetical Sentences

The parenthetical information is interesting but not completely relevant to the other sentences.

Their road trip lasted three weeks and spanned fourteen states. (The one they took two years ago lasted two weeks and covered ten states.) When they got home, they were exhausted.

Parenthetical Sentences

When an entire sentence is enclosed within parentheses, the period should be inside them as well.

Their road trip lasted three weeks and spanned fourteen states. (The one they took two years ago lasted two weeks and covered ten states.) When they got home, they were exhausted.

Dashes

What do you notice about the following sentences?

He walked so slowly—with his lame leg he couldn’t go much faster—that even his neighbor’s toddler eventually overtook him.

I don’t have the heart to refuse a friend’s request for help—do you?

Dashes

Dashes function similar to parentheses. They indicate either an abrupt break in thought or an insertion of additional, explanatory information.

He walked so slowly—with his lame leg he couldn’t go much faster—that even his neighbor’s toddler eventually overtook him.

I don’t have the heart to refuse a friend’s request for help—do you?

Ending punctuation

What do you notice about the following sentences?

The sentence ends here. Does the sentence end here? Hooray! The sentence ends here!

Ending punctuation

The sentence ends here. Does the sentence end here? Hooray! The sentence ends here!

Exclamation points should be used sparingly to indicate statements made with great emotion (for example, anger, excitement, or agitation).

Ending punctuation is sometimes on the test but the least tested punctuation item.