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Punctuation is a method of indicating the construction of a sentence. Hence the grand rule that should guide us in punctuating is : Understand the construction, and then punctuate so as to show it.
Marks Used. The principal marks used in punctuation are :
The Comma (,), the Semi-colon (;), the Colon (:), the Dash (-), the Period (.), the Interrogation Point (?), the Exclamation Point (!), the Curves [()], the Caret (w).
The Comma is used :1. To isolatea. The nominative absolute; as, “That finished, our duty
is done.” b. The nominative of address; as, "O Grave, where is thy
victory?" 6. Words in apposition; as, “ Brutus, the last of the Romans,
was noble." d. The relative clause when not restrictive; as, “ The sun,
which shines above, is golden." e. Intermediate expressions; as, “ The sun, with its planets,
is but a small portion of the universe." f. Dependent clauses; as, “ Uriah proceeded, as I sat gazing
at him, with this thought in mind." g. Phrases and single words used parenthetically; such as
then, therefore, however, too, indeed, perhaps, surely, finally, namely, in short, in fact, in brief, no doubt, as it were, to be sure, of course, after all, to be brief; as, “Poetry has, nevertheless, a refining influence."
Some of these words may be used with an adverbial force only and then take no comma; as, “ However
wise he may be." h. Adverbs or phrases of order; as, “In the first piace, let
us deal with the spiritual.” 2. Between pairs of words or phrases; as, “ The rich and poor, the weak and strong, have one common father.”
3. When a word is omitted; as, “ To err is human; to forgive, divine.” “Alfred was brave, pious, and patriotic."
It should be observed that the comma is inserted before the and connecting the last of the series. Sometimes when the parts are emphatic, the comma and the and are both inserted.
4. To separate the parts of a compound sentence, if they are simple in construction; as, “We can tolerate the first line, but the allusion to trees is unsatisfactory."
If the parts are short and closely connected in sense, no comma is needed.
5. To set off inverted phrases and clauses standing at the beginning of a sentence; as, “To obtain an education, he was willing to make sacrifices."
The comma is often omitted in short sentences.
6. To separate adjectives qualifying the same noun, except when the second adjective and the noun form a complex idea, as in “ His red right hand.”
7. Before short direct quotations; as, “The poet says, ' Be wise to-day.'"
8. Before the predicate when the subject is long, or when it has several qualifying words or phrases; as, “ Any one that refuses to earn an honest livelihood, is not an object of charity.”
9. To set off negative expressions, used by way of contrast; as, “The king, but not his councillors, was present.”
10. Before a clause or phrase that is used loosely or appositively; as, “ There was no remains of the clown about him, save and except the redness of his cheeks."
II. Between a word and its repetition; as, Sweet, sweet home.”
12. Between the parts of a transposed name; as, “ Thompson, Henry S.”
13. Before the explanatory or; as, “ The skull, or cranium.”
14. Between words or phrases that express contrast ; as, “Though deep, yet clear.”
15. To divide figures; as, 7,840,321.
16. To separate titles and degrees from proper names, also from each other; as, “ John Campbell, M.A., Ph.D."
PUNCTUATION. DIRECTION. — Insert commas in the proper places, and give your reason in each case.
1. What then is your view of it?
4. All classes high and low rich and poor have the same opportunities.
5. To work is pleasant; to ride healthful.
6. There being no remedy he determined to endure his affliction.
7. Practically indeed the religious question hardly existed there. 8. Spring returning the swallows reappear.
9. Destiny which gives and takes away transfers fame from one to another.
10. When fell the night up sprung the breeze. 11. To gratify his wish I was willing to do anything. 12. Our own heart not others' opinions forms our true honor. 13:
It is an incessant act of creation ever advancing and ever developing
14. No man unless he is an absolute beggar should expect to receive an education for nothing any more than a loaf of bread.
15. Having frowned upon the abashed Bob the old gentleman began to read the letter.
16. What lay there was if I saw aright a wingless bird. 17. Come back come back Horatius.
18. Volcanoes throw out melted rock or lava ashes sand and dust.
19. Sugar also is found there as for example in the sugar-beet. 20. He could not only lead but mould an army.
21. It is easy Mrs. Dial for you who have always as every one knows set yourself above me to account for laziness.
22. The spirit and not the letter of the law should be followed.
23. He evinced astonishment at the eccentric not to say extraordinary behavior of his companions.
24. Yet a poet to be a poet must do something more.
25. The poet when he finds a truth not to his liking forthwith derides evades or perverts it.
The semi-colon is used :
1. To separate the members of a compound sentence less closely connected than those requiring a
a. In contrasts; as, “ Flattery brings friends; truth brings
foes.” b. In enumerations, when the parts are particulars indicated,
or preceded by a colon; as, “ The following articles were to be added to the free list : agricultural implements; bark for tanning purposes; bath bricks; bricks for building; hay; lime ; malt; manufactures of iron and steel.”
c. When the parts are short, independent sentences, but
are written as a compound sentence to avoid abruptness ; as, Cæsar was dead; the soldiers were dis
persed; all Rome was in confusion." 2. To separate such members of a sentence as are already subdivided by commas; as, “A man ought warily to begin changes, which once begun will continue ; but in matters that return not,
he may be more magnificent." = 3. When a sentence, complete in itself, is followed by a clause
containing an inference, consequence, iteration, or enumeration; as, “Of what consequence are all the qualities of a doctrine, if that doctrine is not communicated; and communicated it is not, if it be not understood."
4. Before as followed by an example. See illustrations in this Lesson.
1. To indicate a greater break than that indicated by the semicolon. For example, parts that have the semi-colon are separated by a colon. See (1.6) above.
2. Before a sentence added as an explanation of a word or sentence; as, “English Grammar: an exposition of the Principles and Usages of the English Language."
3. Before a direct quotation; as, “ Pope makes this remark: “There never was any party in which the most ignorant were not the most violent.'"
When the quotation is short, a comma is used instead of a colon.
4. A colon may be used instead of a semi-colon when the connective is omitted.
5. A full stop or a dash is now often used where a colon would formerly have been placed. See Bacon's Essays.