Correct use of punctuations


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Correct use of punctuations

  1. 1. Language Training ManualTraining & Development Team
  2. 2. DAY 1 Correct use of punctuation marks4/21/2012 Private and Confidential 2
  3. 3. Comma The comma is a valuable useful punctuation device because it separates the structural elements of sentences into manageable segments. The rules provided here are those found in traditional handbooks, however in certain rhetorical contexts and for specific purposes, these rules may be broken.4/21/2012 Private and Confidential 3
  4. 4. Comma Use comma to separate independent clauses when they are joined by any of these seven coordinating conjunctions: and, but, for, or, nor, so, yet Examples: The game was over, but the crowd refused to leave The student explained her question, yet the instructor still didn’t seem to understand Yesterday was her brother’s birthday, so she took him out to dinner4/21/2012 Private and Confidential 4
  5. 5. Comma Use comma after introductory a) clauses, b) phrases or c) words that come before the main clause Common starter words for introductory clauses that should be followed by a comma include after, although, as, because, if since, when, while Examples:  While I was eating, that car scratched at the door.  Because her alarm clock was broken, she was late for class  If you are ill, you ought to see a doctor  When the snow stops falling, we’ll shovel the driveway4/21/2012 Private and Confidential 5
  6. 6. Comma However, don’t put a comma after the main clause when a dependent (subordinate) clause follows it (except for cases of extreme contrast) Example:  She was late for class, because her alarm clock was broken (Incorrect)  The car scratched at the door, while I was eating (Incorrect)  She was still quite upset, although she had won the Oscar (correct, extreme contrast)4/21/2012 Private and Confidential 6
  7. 7. Comma Common introductory phrases that should be followed by a comma include participial and infinitive phrases, absolute phrases, nonessential appositive phrases, and long prepositional phrases (over four words). Examples: Having finished the test, he left the room. To get a seat, you’d better come early. After the test but before lunch, I went jogging. The sun radiating intense heat, we sought shelter in the café.4/21/2012 Private and Confidential 7
  8. 8. Comma Common introductory words that should be followed by a comma include yes, however, well. Examples: Well, perhaps he meant no harm. Yes, the package should arrive tomorrow morning However, you may not be satisfied with the results4/21/2012 Private and Confidential 8
  9. 9. Comma Use a pair of commas in the middle of a sentence to set off clauses, phrases and words that are not essential to the meaning of the sentence. Use one comma before to indicate the beginning of the pause and one at the end to indicate the end of the pause. Here are some clues to help your decide whether the sentence element is essential  If you leave out the clause, phrase or word, does the sentence still make sense?  Does the clause, phrase or word interrupt the flow of words in the original sentence?  If you move the element to a different position in the sentence, does the sentence still make sense? If you answer “YES” to one or more of these questions, then the element in question is nonessential and should be set of with commas.4/21/2012 Private and Confidential 9
  10. 10. Comma Clause: That Tuesday, which happens to be my birthday, is the only day when I am available to meet. Phrase: This restaurant has an exciting atmosphere. The food, on the other hand, is rather bland. Word: I appreciate your hard work. In this case, however, you seem to have overexerted yourself.4/21/2012 Private and Confidential 10
  11. 11. Comma Do not use commas to set off essential elements of the sentence, such has clauses beginning with that (relative clauses). That clauses after nouns are always essential. That clauses following a verb expressing mental action are always essential. That clauses after nouns:  The book that I borrowed from you is excellent.  That apples that fell out of the basket are bruised. That clauses following a verb expressing mental action:  She believes that she will be able to earn an A.  He is dreaming that he can fly.  I contend that I was wrong to mislead her.  They wished that warm weather would finally arrive.4/21/2012 Private and Confidential 11
  12. 12. Comma Examples of other essential elements (no commas):  Students who cheat only harm themselves.  The baby wearing a yellow jumpsuit is my niece.  The candidate who had the least money lost the election. Examples of non essential elements (set off by commas):  Fred, who often cheats, is harming himself.  My niece, wearing a yellow jumpsuit, is playing in the living room.  The Green party candidate, who had the least money, lost the election.  Apples, which are my favorite fruit, are the main ingredient in this recipe.4/21/2012 Private and Confidential 12
  13. 13. Use commas to separate three or more words, phrases or clauses written in a series: Examples:  The constitution establishes the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government.  The candidate promised to lower taxes, protect the environment, reduce crime, and end unemployment.  The prosecutor argues that the defendant, who was the scene of the crime, who had a strong revenge motive, and who had access to the murder weapon, was guilty of homicide. Please note that serial comma is only used in US English.4/21/2012 Private and Confidential 13
  14. 14. Comma Use commas to separate two or more coordinate adjectives that describe the same noun. Be sure never to add an extra comma between the final adjective and the noun itself or to use commas with coordinate adjectives. Coordinate adjectives are adjectives with equal (“co”- ordinate) status in describing the noun; neither adjective is subordinate to the other. You can decide if two adjectives in a row are coordinate by asking the following questions:4/21/2012 Private and Confidential 14
  15. 15. Comma  Does the sentence make sense if the adjectives are written in reverse order?  Does the sentence make sense if the adjectives are written with and between them? If you answer yes to these questions, then the adjectives are coordinate and should be separated by a comma. Here are some examples of coordinate and non-coordinate adjectives:  He was a difficult, stubborn child (coordinate)  They lived in a white frame house (non-coordinate)  She often wore a gray wool shawl (non-coordinate)  Your cousin has an easy happy smile (coordinate)4/21/2012 Private and Confidential 15
  16. 16. Comma Use a comma near the end of a sentence to separate contrasted coordinate elements or to indicate a distinct pause or shift: He was merely ignorant, not stupid. The chimpanzee seemed reflective, almost human. You’re one of the senators close friend, are’nt you? The speaker seemed innocent, even gullible.4/21/2012 Private and Confidential 16
  17. 17. Comma Use commas to set off phrases at the end of the sentence that refer back to the beginning or middle of the sentence. Such phrases are free modifiers that can be placed anywhere in the sentence without causing confusion. (if the placement of the modifier causes confusion, then it is not “free” and must remain “bound” to the word it modifies).  Nancy waved enthusiastically at the docking ship, laughing joyously (correct)  Lisa waved at Nancy, laughing joyously (incorrect)  Laughing joyously, Lisa waved at Nancy (correct).  Lisa waved at Nancy, who was laughing joyously (correct).4/21/2012 Private and Confidential 17
  18. 18. Comma Use commas, to set off all geographical names, items in dates (except the month and day), addresses (except street number and name) and titles in names. Birmingham, Alabama, gets its name from Birmingham, England. July 22, 1959, was a momentous day in his life. Who lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC? Rachel B Lake, MD, will be the principal speaker. (When you use just the month and the year, no comma is necessary after the year: “The average temperatures for July 1998 are the highest on record for that month.”)4/21/2012 Private and Confidential 18
  19. 19. Comma Use a comma to shift between the main discourse and a quotation. John said without emotion. “I’ll see you tomorrow.” “I was able,” she answered, “to complete the assignment.” In 1848, Marx wrote, “Workers of the world unite!” Use commas wherever necessary to prevent possible confusion or misreading. To George, Harrison had been a sort of idol.4/21/2012 Private and Confidential 19
  20. 20. Comma Comma abuse Commas in the wrong place can break sentence into illogical segments or confuse readers with unnecessary and unexpected pauses. Don’t use a comma to separate a subject from a verb.  An eighteen year old in California, is now considered an adult (incorrect).  The most important attribute of a ball player, is quick reflex actions. (incorrect).4/21/2012 Private and Confidential 20
  21. 21. Comma Don’t put a comma between two verbs or verb phrases in a compound predicate  We laid out our music and snacks, and began to study (incorrect).  I turned the corner, and ran smack into a patrol car (incorrect). Don’t put a comma between the two nouns, noun phrases, or noun clauses in a compound subject or compound object.  The music teacher from your high school, and the football coach from mine are married (incorrect compound subject)  Jeff told me that the job was still available, and that the manager wanted to interview me (incorrect compound subject)4/21/2012 Private and Confidential 21
  22. 22. Comma Don’t put a comma after the main clause when a dependent (subordinate) clause follows it (except for cases of extreme contrast. She was late for class, because her alarm clock was broken (incorrect). The cat scratched the door, while I was eating (incorrect). She was still quite upset, although she had won the Oscar (correct extreme contrast).4/21/2012 Private and Confidential 22
  23. 23. The Semicolon The semicolon is another important tool you can use when you write. There are two ways to use this punctuation mark: as a connector between two sentences and as a supercomma.4/21/2012 Private and Confidential 23
  24. 24. The Semicolon To Connect two sentences The semicolon is most often used to connect two sentences. Obviously, the sentences ought to be relatively close in content, but other than that you can connect any two sentences with a semicolon. SENTENCE; SENTENCE As a communicator, you are always putting together complex terms in your prose and showing how they relate to one another. A semicolon is an economical way to join two sentences, and therefore two ideas, so that your reader sees the relationship. For example, you may write any of the following sentences:4/21/2012 Private and Confidential 24
  25. 25. The Semicolon  Jim is a good typist; he makes few mistakes.  The AFC corporation is an excellent company to invest in; its investments have risen sharply and steadily over each of the last ten years.  Ms. Sanchez is a successful real estate salesperson; however, she was unable to sell her own house.  Each of the three examples above contains two sentences glued together by a semicolon. The second part of each sentence makes a comment on the first. Certainly each sentence could be written as two sentences, but you wouldn’t be expressing the close relationship between two parts that you do when you use a semicolon. With two separate sentences, the reader must stop at the period of the first sentence and then begin to read the second; with two sentences connected by a semicolon, the reader does not come to a full stop and, therefore, the relationship seems that much closer. Also this type of sentence allows you to express your ideas economically.4/21/2012 Private and Confidential 25
  26. 26. The Semicolon The important point to remember is that you must have a complete sentence on both sides of the semicolon. If your second sentence begins with a conjunction (and, but, or, etc.), you do not need a semicolon because the conjunction and the comma that usually goes with it are equivalent to a semicolon. Instead, combine two full sentences with a semicolon. Sometimes, a sentence may begin with words like however, therefore, and nevertheless. If your second sentence begins with one of these words, and if it is indeed a full sentence, you still must use a semicolon to connect the two. The sentence about Ms. Sanchez illustrates this use.4/21/2012 Private and Confidential 26
  27. 27. The Semicolon A word of caution: never glue two sentences together with only a comma. Grammarians call this sentence error a comma splice. Here is an example of two sentences connected with only a comma: The banking community became quite upset at the rise in the prime rate, bankers felt that they would ultimately lose a considerable amount of money.4/21/2012 Private and Confidential 27
  28. 28. The Semicolon A comma splice is considered ungrammatical because the reader begins reading the second sentence before realizing that the first sentence is completed. Readers are used to stopping at the end of a sentence, and they become disoriented when they find that they have unknowingly left one sentence and entered a new one. This is why effective writers avoid the comma splice. Here are two additional examples of comma splices: Ms. Linccini is a fine worker, she meets are her deadlines. Our sales have increased by twenty percent, our inventory has been reduced by thirty percent.4/21/2012 Private and Confidential 28
  29. 29. The Semicolon Each of the examples above constitutes two sentences glued together with a comma. You can correct a comma splice by inserting a semicolon between two sentences, by adding a comma to your conjunction, or, of course, by punctuating them as two sentences. Whichever way you choose, however, you must make sure your final drafts do not contain comma splices. There is one instance where a comma splice is considered acceptable. Occasionally, you may have a list of items that could stand alone as full sentences. You may use commas to attach these items so long as it is clear to the reader that this is a list of relatively equal items. Here is an example:  I opened the safe door, I took out the money pouch, and I concealed it in my desk drawer.4/21/2012 Private and Confidential 29
  30. 30. The Semicolon The example above shows a list of three items and illustrates a step-by-step process. Even though the items all constitute full sentences, it is acceptable to use commas to attach them but only because they are members of a larger list. If you are unsure about using commas to connect sentences in a list, perhaps it is best to rewrite the sentence. Do, however, stay alert for any two sentences in your prose that are connected by only a comma.4/21/2012 Private and Confidential 30
  31. 31. The Semicolon Related to the comma splice is the run-on sentence. Run- on sentences, often called “fused” sentences, are two sentences punctuated as if they were one. In other words, a run-on is a comma splice without the comma – two sentences smashed together with no punctuation between them. Here are two sample run-ons: Chu Lie is the foreman Joseph Garcia is the Line Boss. I knew that the new personnel policy would cause problems the union is reacting quite vehemently.4/21/2012 Private and Confidential 31
  32. 32. The Semicolon As you can see, each of the two samples above is composed of two sentences. The writer should have connected the sentences with a semicolon or punctuated then as separate sentences. Again, you don’t have to worry about such matters until the proofreading stage, but you must make sure your final draft doesn’t contain run-on sentences.4/21/2012 Private and Confidential 32
  33. 33. The Semicolon As Supercomma As you know, you normally separate the members of a list with commas, as in this sentence: I have just bought shares in IBM, USAG, ITT. The commas let the reader know where one item ends and the next begins. Sometimes, however, you have a list of complex items and one (or more) of the items already contains a comma. In such a case, the reader is likely to get confused about what is really a member of the list and what is not. You can avoid this confusion by making the semicolon a sort of “supercomma”.4/21/2012 Private and Confidential 33
  34. 34. The Semicolon Look at the sentence below to see how the supercomma works:  Suncom Corporation has subsidiaries in four cities: New York, New York, Wilmington, Ohio, Houston, Texas, and San Francisco, California. This sentence contains so many commas, both between the members of the list and within them, that readers are likely to become confused. Instead you can make the semicolon a supercomma between each of the members so that your meaning is clear:  Suncom Corporation has subsidiaries in four citites: New York, New York; Wilmington, Ohio; Houston, Texas; and San Francisco, California.4/21/2012 Private and Confidential 34
  35. 35. The Semicolon The second sentence is clearer than the first because the reader knows exactly where the members of the list begin and end. You probably will not need to use a semicolon as a supercomma often, but if your sentence contains a list of items, one(or more) of which already contains a comma, you can clarify your meaning by using the supercomma.4/21/2012 Private and Confidential 35
  36. 36. The Colon You might be surprised to learn that the colon is one of the most helpful and easiest to use of all the punctuation marks. You dont need to remember six or seven rules to understand how a colon works. In prose, a colon really does only one thing: it introduces. It can introduce just about anything: a word, a phrase, a sentence, a quotation, or a list. Youll notice that weve used colons in the two preceding sentences to introduce a sentence, in the first case, and a list, in the second case. This is how simple the colon is. Lets look at some other examples:  Joe has only one thing on his mind: profit.  Joe has only one thing on his mind: his stock portfolio.  Joe has only one thing on his mind: he wants to get rich.  Joe has three things on his mind: Stocks, bonds, and certificates of deposit.4/21/2012 Private and Confidential 36
  37. 37. The Colon  We have used a colon in these four sentences to introduce various kinds of things: a word, a phrase, a sentence, and a list. You can use a colon in your prose in any place where you must directly introduce something. A colon gives special emphasis to whatever youre introducing because readers must first come to a stop, and so they pay more attention to it. For example, lets say you are writing a letter describing a product, and you want to emphasize above all that this product, the Jacobsen lawn mower, is reliable. You could very well write:  The Jacobsen lawn mower beats its competitors especially in the key area of reliability.  While this sentence gets the point across, it doesnt place much emphasis on reliability. A sentence using a colon is much more emphatic:  The Jacobsen lawn mower beats its competitors especially in one key area: reliability.  Notice that the second example places clear emphasis on the point that the writer is trying to communicate to his or her reader: that the Jacobsen lawn mower is above all reliable. The writer of this sentence has used the colon effectively.  Perhaps the most common way to use a colon is to introduce a list of items, as in this sentence:  This report reviews five main criteria to determine whether to purchase the reliability.4/21/2012 Private and Confidential 37
  38. 38. The Colon  IBM PC: hardware, software, maintenance agreements, service, and customer support.  If you arent sure whether you need a colon in a particular sentence, here is a handy test: read the sentence, and when you reach the colon, substitute the word namely; if the sentence reads through smoothly, then theres a good chance that you do need a colon. For example, you can read any of the example sentences above with the word namely in the place of the colon:  Joe has only one thing on his mind [namely] profit.  Joe has only one thing on his mind [namely] his stock portfolio.  Joe has only one thing on his mind [namely] he wants to get rich.  Joe has three things on his mind [namely] stocks, bonds, and certificates of deposit.  This test may not work 100 percent of the time, but it is a fairly reliable indicator of whether you need a colon.  One word of caution: do not place the colon after the verb in a sentence, even when you are introducing something, because the verb itself introduces and the colon would be redundant. For example, you would not write:4/21/2012 Private and Confidential 38
  39. 39. The Colon  My three favorite friends are: Evelyn, Marlyne, and Ronni. The colon is not necessary in the sentence above because the verb does the work of introducing the three friends. You can check this sentence by using the test we just mentioned. It would seem awkward to read this sentence, "My three favorite friends are, namely, Evelyn, Marlyne, and Ronni." The fact that the sentence is awkward when you read it with namely is an indication that the colon is unnecessary. Remember, the colon shows emphasis and, therefore, you want the reader to stop at the colon before preceding on to whatever it is you are introducing.4/21/2012 Private and Confidential 39