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7.01 Introduction

Punctuation serves primarily to help show the grammatical relationships between words, but it is also used to indicate intonation. Its role is to clarify, and this principle takes precedence over all precepts governing the use of individual marks of punctuation. In the interest of clarity, punctuation should be as consistent as possible within a given text. For clarity, too, some grammarians recommend the use of "close" punctuation—the insertion of all punctuation, required or optional, which can be legitimately used. Most readers, however, will be grateful to the writer who opts for a more "open" style, omitting punctuation when this can be done without creating ambiguity. Finally, punctuation should not be a chore; if a passage appears difficult to punctuate, it probably needs to be rephrased.

Quotation marks are discussed extensively in Chapter 8 Quotations and Quotation Marks.