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Punctuation in SAS Programming

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John Morrill, Quintiles, Inc., Kansas City, MO
George Li, Quintiles, Inc., Kansas City, MO


It's the little things that get you! Punctuation is often relegated to less than even a second thought, only to be considered when an error exists. It is our contention that a systematic review of punctuation in SAS programming yields for even experienced users a number of interesting tidbits and valuable efficiencies. In this paper we first briefly identify the common uses of several type of punctuation. Then from the less obvious uses we found during our search, we present the cases most likely to increase efficiency or provide new functionality. Examples of coverage include the when and why of single versus double punctuation marks (e.g., the semi-colon, the period, the question mark, the exclamation mark, the @ sign, and the pipe) including a discussion of macro processing, a review of punctuation usage differences between SQL and traditional SAS® code, and some interesting notes on the underscore character.

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