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Does punctuation (dots, comas, etc.) count toward word count?

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As in the title: Does punctuation (dots, comas, etc.) count toward word count? I'm asking this question because I have found out that Microsoft Word (and other programs probably too) count all the dots and comas in my essay as words so I'm wondering whether I should add some more words to my essay.

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Word doesn't count punctuation as words, as long as it is used as it should be. For example, word would count the comma in "Well , as you can see" as a separate word because it has spaces on both sides, but you would (hopefully...) never actually write it like that in an essay. If you wrote it as "Well, as you can see" Word counts the comma as part of the word "Well". Punctuation counts as characters but there is no character limit on the essay. 

 

So just go by whatever word tells you the word count is. 

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