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Title: Punctuation in English


1
Punctuation in English
  • Rules and recommendations.

2
Introduction.
  • In writing, we can use punctuation marks to
    emphasize, clarify, what we mean.
  • Meanwhile, in speaking, we can make a pause,
    stop, change our tone of voice
  • Thats why in writing, we make use of Punctuation
    marks as signals to our readers.

3
1. The full stop.
  • The full stop is used
  • a. at the end of a complete statement (or
    utterance) which is neither an exclamation nor a
    question.
  • e.g. He saw a UFO among the trees.
  • He asked me if I had seen it.
  • Yes. A UFO.

4
1. The full stop.
  • b. After abbreviations.
  • B.A. ( Bachelor of Arts ).
  • e.g. ( exempli gratia, for example ).
  • N.B. ( Nota bene, note well ).
  • Note It is often the practice to omit the full
    stop if the last letter of the abbreviated word
    is given
  • e.g. Mr
  • Dr

5
1. The full stop.
  • The full stop is the most important of the
    punctuation marks.
  • Its omission, when its use is undeniably
    required,
  • will confuse the reader
  • ideas will be mixed up and
  • the meaning intended by the writer will not be
    probably communicated to the reader.

6
2. The comma.
,
  • A comma is a punctuation mark that indicates a
    pause is needed in a sentence.
  • It separates the structural elements of sentences
    into manageable segments.
  • Commas are both an aid to sense and to ease of
    reading.
  • They are sometimes used in long sentences to
    break up words into sections where the sense
    allows a pause to be taken. It is better to
    underuse them than to overuse them.

7
2. The comma.
  • Commas are frequently overused. It is as well
    always consider the effect on the sense and
    construction of a sentence that their inclusion
    or omission would have. Consider the following
  • e.g. I saw my friend John.
  • I saw my friend, John.

8
2. The comma.
  • The first sentence implies that I have several
    friends, but the one that I saw was Tom. The
    omission of the comma allows Tom' to define which
    friend it was that I saw.
  • The second sentence may imply that I have only
    one friend and that his name happens to be Tom'.
    The inclusion of the comma allows the word Tom'
    merely to qualify the word friend. It might also
    mean that the speaker is addressing Tom when he
    or she says, "I saw my friend".

9
2. The comma.
  • Conventional uses of the comma.
  • To separate two descriptions, set side by side,
    of the same object or person
  • The second of the two descriptions adds to the
    meaning of the first and is parallel to it.
    (Technically, the second statement is said to be
    'in apposition to' the first.)
  • e.g. Mr Brown, the grocer, sells butter.

10
Conventional uses of the comma.
  • 2. To separate the items or elements in a list.
  • e.g. At the grocer's I bought some eggs, bacon,
    sugar, tea and biscuits.
  • Note Some writers would not insert the comma
    before the final and but others would argue that
    because it separates 'tea' from 'biscuits' as
    elements in a list it should be there. Look,
    however, at the final coma in the following list,
    where it is essential
  • For breakfast I ate some cereals, toast, and
    eggs and bacon.
  • The final pair of items here (eggs and bacon)
    may be seen as a single element to have omitted
    the comma after 'toast' would have obscured the
    sense by running 'toast' and 'eggs and bacon'
    together.

11
Conventional uses of the comma.
  • 3. To mark off the name or title of a person
    being addressed.
  • e.g.
  • Mr Smith, what is the trouble ?
  • I'd much rather, James, you told me the truth.
  • Doctor, I have had a pain in my back for quite
    a time.

12
Conventional uses of the comma.
  • 4. Following introductory words which introduce
    direct speech or a direct question.
  • e.g. He said, 'I know that I should not have
    said that.'
  • The policeman asked, 'why did you hesitate?'

13
Conventional uses of the comma.
  • 5. To separate short clauses which list actions,
    events, and so on.
  • e.g. The man rose, left the room, slammed the
    door, and made his way into the street.

14
Conventional uses of the comma.
  • 6. To indicate a statement interpolated within a
    sentence. Commas here effectively bracket off the
    interpolation.
  • e.g. It was obvious, all things considered, that
    he had done the wrong thing.

15
Conventional uses of the comma.
  • 7. To separate, or mark off, a phrase which
    stands apart from the rest of a sentence.
  • e.g. The decision taken, there was no going back.

16
Conventional uses of the comma.
  • 8. To indicate where the words have been
    deliberately omitted but need to be understood.
  • e.g. The professor could pursue his own ideas
    I, mine.

17
Conventional uses of the comma.
  • 9. To mark off a series of statements in the same
    sentence.
  • e.g. He knew what he had to do, where he had to
    go, and when he should take the next step.

18
Conventional uses of the comma.
  • 10. To mark off a statement which qualifies the
    meaning of a word. (The omission of the comma
    here would alter the sense by changing the
    qualification into a clear definition.)
  • e.g. He stumbled into the house, which was his
    home.
  • (This implies that there was only one house and
    this house happened to be his home.)
  • Use commas wherever you think they are are
    necessary to prevent possible confusion or
    misreading.

19
Conventional uses of the comma.
  • The comma in a compound sentence is placed before
    the coordinating conjunction.
  • Andy built a sand castle, and Joe played with his
    dog.

S V conj. Andy
built a sand castle, and Joe played with his
dog. S V
20
Conventional use of the comma
  • When a dependent clause is located after an
    independent clause,
  • DO NOT place a comma between the two.

S.Agustín is a good team but Natación is
better. S V
DCM S V
I became very sick when the S V
DCM roller coaster zoomed upside down.
S V
21
3. The semicolon.
  • The semicolon marks off one part of sentence from
    another much more sharply than a comma.
  • It is particularly useful to divide a long
    sentence into self-contained sections. The
    semicolon is used

22
3. The semicolon.
  • To separate a series of complete statements
    which, nevertheless, belong to a longer whole
    statement.
  • e.g. He was ill he now knew it he would go to
    the doctor's.
  • Note
  • The semicolons here give to the three short
    statements a dramatic note which would not be
    present if the first were replaced by a comma and
    the second by a conjunction, such as and indeed,
    to change the statement in this way would weaken
    it so much that it would become almost
    meaningless.

23
3. The semicolon.
  • 2. To introduce a sharp contrast between complete
    statements which are closely related.
  • e.g. He knew what he should do yet he could not
    do it.
  • He trusted the doctor he distrusted himself.

24
3. The semicolon.
  • Note
  • The semicolon is particularly useful to make
    this kind of contrast before liking words such as
  • therefore,
  • otherwise,
  • still,
  • yet,
  • for,
  • nevertheless.

25
3. The semicolon.
  • 3. To break up a long sentence which would
    otherwise be overwhelmed by a confusion of
    commas.
  • e.g. He would do it, if he could do for, after
    all, he had the time.

26
The Colon
  • The colon is used
  • To introduce a list which follows immediately.
  • e.g. He studied the use of the following
    punctuation marks full stops, semicolons,
    colons, question marks, etc.
  • (ii) To introduce examples which illustrate or
    expand an idea and which follow immediately.
  • e.g. He counted his treasures gold, silver,
    diamonds, and books.

27
The Colon
  • (iii) To introduce a quotation which follows
    immediately.
  • e.g. Hamlet once contemplated his own death "To
    be or not to be...
  • (iv) To introduce an explanation which follows
    immediately.
  • e.g. This is what to do pour the yellow liquid
    into the green one and then get out - fast.

28
The Colon
  • (v) To introduce a speech which follows
    immediately.
  • e.g. He rose to his feet, cleared his throat,
    and began 'Unaccustomed as I am to public
    speaking, I should like to say ...
  • (vi) To divide two sharply contrasting
    statements.
  • Note A semicolon sometimes has this function,
    too.
  • Speech is silver silence is golden.
  • The river ran downhill he made his way slowly
    up the path.

29
4. The colon.
  • The colon is used
  • (i) To introduce a list which follows
    immediately.
  • e.g. He studied the use of the following
    punctuation marks full stops, semicolons,
    colons, question marks, etc.
  • (ii) To introduce examples which illustrate or
    expand an idea and which follow immediately.
  • e.g. He counted his treasures gold, silver,
    diamonds, and books.

30
4. The colon.
  • (iii) To introduce a quotation which follows
    immediately.
  • e.g. Hamlet once contemplated his own death "To
    be or not to be...
  • (iv) To introduce an explanation which follows
    immediately.
  • e.g. This is what to do pour the yellow liquid
    into the green one and then get out - fast.

31
4. The colon.
  • (v) To introduce a speech which follows
    immediately.
  • e.g. He rose to his feet, cleared his throat, and
    began 'Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking,
    I should like to say ...
  • (vi) To divide two sharply contrasting
    statements.
  • Note A semicolon sometimes has this function,
    too.
  • Speech is silver silence is golden.
  • The river ran downhill he made his way slowly up
    the path.

32
5. The question mark.
  • The question mark had its origin in an awareness
    not of grammar but of rhetoric
  • It indicated where the voice was to turn upward
    to indicate that a question was being asked.
  • The full stop which forms part of this
    punctuation mark shows that a statement ( in this
    case, a question) has come to an end.

33
5. The question mark.
  • The question mark is used
  • To mark the end of a direct question.
  • e.g. Where did you go.
  • Note It is not used in an indirect question
  • e.g. He asked where you went.
  • (ii) To show that statements within a given
    context are to be taken as direct questions.
  • e.g. Question marks are not used in indirect
    questions ?
  • No, they are not.
  • He asked where you went ? You may well be
    surprised.

34
6. The exclamation mark.
  • The exclamation marks, like the question mark, is
    mainly a rhetorical sign
  • It shows where a statement is used as an
    interjection or carries very strong emotion.
  • The full stop which forms part of this
    punctuation mark shows that a statement ( in this
    case, an exclamation ) has come to an end.

35
6. The exclamation mark.
  • e.g. Good Gracious ! You must certainly not go
    there !
  • Oh dear ! I thought that you might say that.
  • After this last sentence an exclamation is also
    possible but, if it is added, it will inject
    strong emotion into the utterance.
  • This is one of the occasions in the use of
    punctuation where a sign does not merely follow
    the sense and structure but can determine
    meaning.
  • The context will usually make it clear when the
    emotion in a statement is strong enough to
    warrant the use of an exclamation mark.

36
7. The apostrophe.
  • The apostrophe is one of the most interesting
    punctuation marks in English but it is very often
    misused.
  • Misunderstandings abound and it is not uncommon
    to find on notices displayed in shops simple
    plurals of nouns that are wrongly given an
    apostrophe -s
  • e.g. Sign is men's hairdresser's No boy's today.

37
7. The apostrophe.
  • The apostrophe is used
  • (i) To denote the possessive form of the noun.
  • All nouns, singular and plural, take an
    apostrophe -s to show the possessive case.
  • e.g. The boy's book.
  • The men's hats.

38
7. The apostrophe.
  • There are two main groups of exceptions which
    merely take an apostrophe without the final -s
  • e.g. (a) Plural nouns which already end in -s
  • The boys' book.
  • (b) Singular nouns that already contain so many
    's' sounds (sibilants) that the addition of a
    further -s would be ugly.

39
7. The apostrophe.
  • (ii) To mark the omission of a letter or group of
    letters in a word.
  • e.g. don't ( do not ). Shan't (Shall not).
  • (iii) To form the plurals of letter, figure, and
    contractions consisting of initial letters.
  • e.g. Dot your i's and cross your t's.
  • There are three 4's in twelve.

40
7. The apostrophe.
  • The use of the apostrophe in such cases is often
    confusing.
  • It is now the convention to omit the use of the
    apostrophe here but to italicise single letters
    before adding the final -s es, gs, but 4s, the
    1930s, M.P.s and so on.
  • (iv) Current practice omits the apostrophe in the
    following cases in spite of what has been said
    above

41
7. The apostrophe Omission
  • ? Certain words where the initial letters are
    omitted
  • e.g. bus ( for omnibus ), phone (telephone), car
    (autocar).

42
7. The apostrophe Omission
  • ? Some place names
  • e.g. Land's End but Golders Green St Jame's Park
    but St Helens.
  • ? Some well-known proper nouns
  • e.g. Marks and Spencers, Woolsworths, ...

43
7. Parentheses (Brackets and the double dash).
  • Most frequently brackets are used to mark off
    within a sentence,a word, comment, explanation or
    statement without which the sentence would
    otherwise be grammatically complete.
  • It should be possible to take out the brackets
    and what they contain and then read the sentences
    without feeling that it is incomplete.

44
7. Parentheses (Brackets and the double dash).
  • Sometimes, instead of brackets two dashes are
    used what is placed between the dashes will,
    however, remain an interpolation.
  • If there is a distinction to be made between the
    use of brackets and the use of dashes it is
    probably that dashes mark off the interpolation
    less sharply from the rest of the sentence than
    brackets.

45
7. Parentheses (Brackets and the double dash).
  • Compare, for example, the following
  • He managed (such was his skill) to build his own
    house.
  • He managed -such was his skill- to build his own
    house.
  • He had enough money ( he was rich ) to buy the
    car.
  • He had enough money - he was rich - to buy the
    car.

46
7. Parentheses (Brackets and the double dash).
  • Brackets are also used to add information, to
    amplify a comment without interrupting its
    general flow.
  • e.g. They were all there ( John, Mary, Tom, and
    Sarah ) and the party was complete.
  • (iii) Brackets are used, too, to provide a
    comment or a gloss on a statement what is
    contained within the brackets should be taken as
    an 'aside' when they are used in this way. It is
    often effective to use brackets like this to
    convey humour, satire, or irony.
  • She thought she was beautiful. (It was a pity
    about her squint.)
  • He said he needed five pounds. (That's what he
    said last time.)

47
7. Parentheses (Brackets and the double dash).
  • Square brackets are used to indicate
    comments, corrections, explanations, or other
    comments not in the original text but added later
    by the writer or by an editor.
  • e.g. The poem was written in 1972, although it
    referred to events which took place two years
    before. Editor's note see the poet's
    Autobiography, p.10.

48
8. The dash.
  • It is not acceptable to use dashes in a slovenly
    manner to avoid having to decide whether a full
    stop is required or not. They are most
    effectively used to achieve a deliberately
    specific effect.
  • (i) To indicate a change in the direction of a
    comment
  • e.g. She was wearing a top hat -I noticed her
    immediately.

49
8. The dash.
  • (ii) To provide an antithetical ( or contrasting)
    comment within a sentence
  • e.g. Everything -except the mummy- left the
    auction room hurriedly.
  • (iii) To indicate hesitant of faltering speech
  • e.g. 'I -er- I should like to -er- emphasise
    that - that public speakers should -er- should
    always speak - talk clearly.'

50
8. The dash.
  • (iv) To mark a sudden breaking-off of a
    statement, often for dramatic effect
  • e.g. 'If I were you, I should get off the camel,
    unless-
  • (v) To suggest a sudden start to a statement,
    perhaps by way of interruption
  • e.g. -Oh, I don't agree with you for one minute
    when you say so confidently that there is life
    after death.-

51
8. The dash.
  • (vi) To mark off a parenthesis, perhaps less
    emphatically than brackets.
  • (vii) To pull together items in a list or a
    number of loosely strung words in order to resume
    the direction of a sentence
  • e.g. Kicking in the stomach, twisting arms,
    stamping on a fallen opponent, gouging eyes
    -these are not the actions of a gentleman playing
    rugby.

52
9. Inverted Commas.
  • What follows is a summary of the practises more
    usually found in books, serious newspapers, and
    magazines.

53
9. Inverted Commas.
  • (i) Where only one set of quotation marks is
    needed the single are usually preferred to the
    double. They are used to mark off the exact words
    used by a speaker or writer.
  • e.g. He said, 'I never know how to use quotation
    marks.'
  • Quirk argued that quotation marks 'are a
    nuisance to the writer'.

54
9. Inverted Commas.
  • The placing of the final full stop in these
    examples is interesting.
  • In the first, the full stop marks both the end of
    the statement in single inverted commas and the
    end of the whole sentence beginning He said... It
    is unnecessary to use two full stops here and the
    normal practice is to allow the one inside the
    closing inverted comma to do the work of both.

He said, 'I never know how to use quotation
marks.'
55
9. Inverted Commas.
  • In the second example, the words within the
    inverted commas do not constitute a complete
    sentence but are merely six quoted words used by
    a writer the full stop, therefore, might be
    placed after the quotation to indicate the end of
    the whole sentence beginning Quirk argued...

Quirk argued that quotation marks 'are a nuisance
to the writer'.
56
9. Inverted Commas.
  • For the sake of uniformity, however, many
    publishing houses place a single full stop within
    the final inverted comma, whatever the situation.

57
9. Inverted Commas.
  • (ii) Where a direct statement, question, or
    exclamation is given in the form of the actual
    words used and this statement, question, or
    exclamation include another that is quoted ( as
    in the examples in (i) above, double inverted
    commas are used to mark off the quotation within
    the statement, question, or exclamation
  • e.g. The weeping child said, ' I never said,
    "What a big nose you have!" to auntie.'

58
9. Inverted Commas.
  • (iii) Inverted commas are used to mark a word or
    phrase outside the predominant variety of English
    being used
  • e.g. To argue that economically, politically,
    and socially it would be better for Great Britain
    to leave the European Union is 'bosh'.

59
9. Inverted Commas.
  • (iv) Inverted commas re used to mark a quotation
    from an article, a book, a poem, a magazine and
    so on
  • 'To be or not to be' is a quotation from Hamlet.

60
10. Italics.
  • Although italic script is a device used for
    printing, underlining can be used by writers
    effectively in order to
  • (i) avoid the confusing over-use of double
    inverted commas within single inverted commas
  • it is often clearer and more convenient to
    underline titles, words used outside the
    predominant variety of English, and short
    quotations

e.g. The judge asked the accused one-armed man,
'Did you not see the notice which said, Do not
feed the animals?'
61
10. Italics.
  • (ii) Stress a word or short phrase
  • e.g. I cannot really say that I like eating cold
    porridge.
  • I positively abhor eating cold, lumpy porridge.

62
11. Hyphens.
  • (i) Hyphens should be used to convey a
    significance in the relationship on one word to
    another or others.
  • For example, examine the differences in meaning
    between
  • e.g. eleven-year-old children and eleven year-old
    children.

63
11. Hyphens.
  • (ii) Hyphens are used to form compound nouns or
    adjectives, especially where such compounds are
    newly-coined, not fully established as compounds,
    or carry a specific meaning
  • e.g. teddy-boys, punk-rockers.

64
11. Hyphens.
  • (iii) Hyphens often separate elements in a
    compound word
  • which would look awkward (perhaps because of a
    clash of vowels or a danger of confusing
    consonants ) or
  • be difficult to read or pronounce if it were
    written as a single word
  • e.g. socio-economic hi-fi retro-active.

65
11. Hyphens.
  • (iv) Hyphens may be used to split words at the
    end of lines (because of lack of space ) in order
    to carry them forward to the next line.
  • It is customary, however, to divide words in
    British English at an appropriate morphological
    point e.g. posit-ion rather than positi-on.
  • Often this morphological break (i.e. the point at
    which a unit with its own division of meaning
    within the word ends) coincides with the syllabic
    break (i.e. the point at which the part of a word
    uttered by a single effort of the voice ends)
    e.g. resent-ment.

66
Bibliography
  • Banks, R.A. (1983). Living English. Hodder and
    Stoughton.
  • Purdue University Writing Lab at
  • http//owl.english.purdue.edu/
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