Punctuation Points In English The Period . a Use a period to a declarative sentence, an indirect question , or a mild imperative. I have just telephoned George Lamb. ( declarative sentence) I don't know who did it. ( indirect question) Please shut the door after you. (mild directive) b Use periods after certain abbreviations in accordance with dictionary-recommended usage. Personal Titles Preceding Names Mr. Smith, Ms. Turner, Dr. John Academic Degrees B.A, M.A., Ph.D. Certain Foreign Terms i.e. , etc. , e.g. Note: If an abbreviation comes at the end of a sentence, do not use a second period. We are leaving for the airport at 5:00a.m. c Do not use a period to separate a part of a sentence from the whole. After a long day. The tennis match resumed. (misused) I have been to to the new cinema. Which seats almost 500 people. (misused) In the first sentence, a period sets off a prepositional phrase, and in the second a period sets off a relative clause. Each of these sentence fragments can be rejoined with rest of the sentence simply by substituting a comma for the period. After a long day, the tennis match resumed. (revised) I have been to the new cinema , which seats almost 500 people. (revised) The Exclamation Point ! a Use an exclamation point to end an emphatic statement. Forceful statements "Get out! I don't want ever to see you again." Interjections expressing strong feelings Oh no ! I'm going to be late. Emphatic responses to statements or questions " Can you come back for an interview next week? "The personnel manager asked. "Yes!" I enthusiastically replied. The Question Mark ? a Place a question mark after a direct question.
How many children have you got? "Why do you wanna know?" b Use a question mark at the end of a sentence if your purpose is to create a questioning tone. You are coming tomorrow? c Do not use a question mark after an indirect question. I wonder who will win the match? (misused) I wonder who will win the match. (revised) The Comma , aPut a comma before a coordinating conjunction ( and, but, or, for, nor, so ) that links two independent clauses in order to indicate the end of the first clause and prepare for the introduction of the second clause. Many of the the new recruits had looked forward for basic training , but some could not adapt to the rigorous physical fitness program. Note: The comma is optional if the two clauses are short. I looked for the book but I didn't find it. b Use commas to separate the elements of a series consisting of three or more words, phrases, or clauses. Buses, cars, and trucks skidded on the icy road. (a series of nouns) The tiger looked at me,roared angrily, and disappearedfrom view. (a series of verb phrases) Some films are successful at the box office but fail with the critics, others are acclaimed by the critics but rejected by the general public , and a rare few appeal to both audiences. (a series of of independent clauses) c Use a comma to separate coordinate adjectives (i.e., adjectives that independently modify the same noun). Here, we have to differentiate between two types of adjectives: Coordinate: Adjectives are coordinate when they independently modify the same noun. The adjectives are coordinate if they could be joined with the wordand. Coordinate adjectives can also be scrambled. Use a comma to separate the adjectives.
Mother has become a strong,confident,independent woman. Cumulative: Cumulative adjectives do not modify the noun separately. These adjectives build upon the previous one. Cumulative adjectives cannot be joined by the word and, nor can they be scrambled. Do not use a comma between the adjectives. More Six brightred apples were on the pantry shelf. d Use a comma to set off long modifying phrases. Walking along the fantastic beach, I saw hundreds of sunburned tourists. e Use commas to enclose parenthetical, non-restrictive, or contrasting elements (i.e., words, phrases, or clauses that could be deleted without changing the essential meaning of the sentence). Parenthetical words and expressions This course, I think, is going to be more difficult than I anticipated. Non-restrictive modifiers Al Baath University, which is one of the famous Syrian universities, is going to send a large number of demonstrators to England this year. non-restrictive appositives Mrs. Brown, a local businesswoman, has recently been elected to the university's Board of Trustees. Contrasting elements I think peace, not way, is their objective. The Semicolon ; Put a semicolon between two independent clauses if your purpose is to combine them in a single sentence without using a coordinating conjunction (and, but, for, or, nor, so) Rumor breeds mistrust; mistrust breeds fear. Note: If the relationship between the two clauses you wish to join is not obvious, add a conjunctive adverb (however, therefore, otherwise) I recently bought a new camera; however, I am not satisfied with the pictures I have taken with it. The Colon : a Use a colon immediately after an independent clause to introduce a list of appositives, a single appositive, a quotation, or a second independent clause that explains something in the first clause. The student newspaper received the following new equipment :a word processor, a short wave radio, and a scanner. ( a list of appositives specifying the new equipment) On my last fishing trip, I forgot one very important item: my fishing reel. ( single appositive identifying the very important item) The members of the Budget Committee soon learned the bad news: tax revenues were lower than expected. (independent clause explaining what the badnews was) b Use a colon to divide hours from minutes, separate chapters from verses in biblical references, and distinguish the title of a book from its subtitle. 9:00 a.m. Genesis3:1 Billy Budd: An Inside Narrative Parentheses ( ) a Put parentheses around figures or words that you want to include as supplemental information. Death of a Salesman (1949) has been acclaimed as a tragedy of the common man. In the opening section of the essay " Politics and the English Language" (pp.1-2) World War I ( the war that was supposed to end all wars ) ushered in a century of violence. b Enclose in parentheses numbers or letters that numerate the items in a series. In order to successful at computer games, a player must have the following skills:(1) good eye-hand coordination, (2) quick reflexes, (3) the ability to concentrate. cWhenever you use parentheses to enclose a part of a sentence , place any additional Punctuation marks outside the parentheses. One of the most famous outlaws of the Old West was Bill Harrington (alias Bill the kid), who started as the leader of a New York street gang.