I am confused about the usage of commas with "so." This is another topic that may be better addressed in Marla's punctuation sub-forum, but I think this topic may be helpful to a lot of folks. So I'm putting it in the Main Discussion category.

I do not insert a comma after the word "so" every single time it appears at the beginning of a sentence, but I have a good friend of mine, 80 years young, who does.

Example A. So it was time to buy apples.
Example B. So, it was time to buy apples.

In the above example, I do it like Example A. Since I see the word "so" handled in so many different ways, I would love to learn from the collective minds of this forum.

When do you place a comma after "so" at the beginning of a sentence? If you have a rule of thumb that is easy to remember for my inquiring mind, would you please share? Again, as in my previous comma thread, I would love to hear from veteran reporters, scopists, proofreaders, transcriptionists, and students. For the students, do they cover these topics in school?

I have seen the comma used so many different ways with "so." I need a refresher course.

So what say you? So, what say you? Believe it or not, they used to call me "Comma Girl" in another life. LOL

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Keith, I do not use an ellipsis either, unless it is in quoted matter, like if somebody was reading an exhibit and left something out. Otherwise, I'm do the double hyphen for all breaks in thought and interruptions.

This is how I use the ellipsis:

Example: Abraham Lincoln said, "Four score and seven years ago, our fathers...on this continent a new nation."

However, if I was working for somebody who happened to like ellipses, I'd be using 'em left and right. LOL
I think the main reason I use the ellipsis, right or wrong, is so there's no confusion months or even years down the road when attorneys who were not present at the deposition are reading the transcript. If I used dashes, someone might think the questioner was interrupting the witness' answer when, in fact, that wasn't the case, which could create an issue in the future when an attorney tries to argue to the judge that the witness was being cut off. Maybe I'm being super paranoid, but that's my reasoning (although admittedly it may be flawed) for doing it that way.

Rachel
Rachel,

That is an EXCELLENT point, one which makes sense to me. Thanks for sharing that!
Rachel,
That exactly what do when working on transcription jobs. The speakers oftentimes just sort of trail off and a few seconds later a question is asked or something. Depending on the client, the transcript is either manually captioned or they use software to convert the transcript into captioning. The latter instance is usually where the instance arises because the captions aren't always timed very well.
Jennie,
Thank you for validating me on this one.
I only use the ellipsis when they skip words on a quote too. I know some reporters use it in this instance where speakers trail off and I'm not saying I'm right but this way feels the best to me b/c nothing is missing. They just don't quite finish. It's like another thought is coming but it never gets said. It's just hanging there.
Thanks,
Janiece
Janiece,

I enjoy reading posts about punctuation. Having surfed the Internet, I have been searching for a forum where I can feel comfortable discussing industry topics, like punctuation.

Since I do not work in-house with a crew of seasoned court reporters anymore, I miss networking with other like-minded folk.

I will never forget one deposition I had (daily copy) during the Clinton impeachment era for Senate. It was due at 7 a.m. in the morning to the court reporting company, so they could deliver it on time to all parties.

Right at the beginning of this high-profile deposition of a well-known poltical figure, the lawyer said, "With the fourth estate not here, we can talk freely." Well, it was about midnight when I was transcribing this, and I had never heard of "fourth estate." I wasn't working in-house on this, and there was nobody to ask. I was afraid to insert "fourth estate," not having heard that term before.

So I turned the job in to the office at 6 a.m. the next morning, and I told the office manager that I left out a term in the beginning that sounded like "fourth estate." She hadn't heard of that either. I was thinking the lawyer misspoke.

The office manager asked a court reporter who happened to be in the office early if they had ever heard of that term, and, of course, she had. It means the press.

That is what I miss the most not working in-house, being able to ask questions and learn.

This forum provides a great opportunity to all its members for this purpose, and I intend to take advantage of it.

The one thing I have come to realize after 30-plus years of transcribing every single day -- well, almost every single day -- is that you never stop learning when it comes to producing a high-quality, comprehensive transcript.

I believe I am good at what I do, but I like to keep an open mind and continue to learn. This is exactly what separates the lions from the lambs in the court reporting and transcription racket.

Thank you, Janiece, for helping me learn too!
If you look at Rule 57 in Morson's, it states that you never place a comma after "hence," "thus,"
"so," and "yet" at the beginning of a sentence.

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