Editorial, Graphics & Publishing Services → Editorial Help Desk
Editorial Help Desk:
Your Resource for Grammar and MCPS Style
Word of the Month
Dissenting (especially dissenting from the majority opinion).
From the noun
which is a small (sometimes rebellious) group. A factious group is one that breaks away or wants to.
During the Civil War, the Confederate states was a factious group. They wanted to break away from the Union.
Tip of the Month
Six Ways to Use the Comma
It is best to use the comma frugally. Here's a useful tip: Place a comma where the reader would logically take a breath before continuing, or where there is a change in direction of thought within the sentence. Too many commas can intrude on the flow of the statement and make it hard to grasp the gist of what is being said.
1. Use the comma in a list or series within a sentence.
In reports, correspondence, and most other documents, MCPS uses the serial comma (i.e., a comma before a conjunction like
or in a list of three or more items). Example: Teachers, students, and staff gathered for a special assembly to welcome the new principal.
2. Use a comma
to separate parts of a compound sentence. Example:
We have 159,000 students, and many of them speak a second language at home.
3. Use a comma
to separate a sentence with a dependent clause. Example:
All participants are required to pay an application fee, except those 50 years and older.
4. Use a comma
to separate two or more adjectives that describe a noun
(i.e., when the adjectives could be joined by the word and without changing the meaning of the sentence).
The protesters crowded around the fire pit for warmth on that cold, windy winter night.
5. Use a comma
before an introductory phrase,
especially if misreading is likely.
After reading, the students worked on their essays.
It is not needed in this case: Walking along with us were three ducks.
6. Use a comma
after a date that includes a year. Example:
November 30, 1874, marks the birthday of Winston Churchill.
For more details and examples of how and when to use the comma, consult the
MCPS Editorial Stylebook.
Contact Donna M. Marks on Outlook or call 301-517-8139.
Learn to decipher the alphabet soup! Look it up in MCPS Acronyms
Do you know the difference between an ELT and an EMT, between FLS and FLES? Keep this reference on hand and you'll never get lost in jargon.
MCPS Acronyms (PDF)