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Punctuation is the use of symbols (punctuation marks) to add

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PostPosted: 3rd June 2007, 09:36 Post subject: Punctuation is the use of symbols (punctuation marks) to add

Punctuation is the use of symbols (punctuation marks) to add meaning or clarify written language. Punctuation marks don't correspond to sounds, but may indicate where to leave pauses when reading text aloud.

Commonly-used punctuation marks
Full stop [.]
The full stop or period, also called a full point, is the punctuation mark commonly placed at the end of sentences. A period consists of a small dot placed at the end of a line of text.

The period is also used after abbreviations, such as Mr., Dr., Mrs., Ms. If the abbreviation is ending a sentence the second period is not needed unless the sentence ends with a question or exclamation mark.

Comma [,]
The comma is used to mark off separate elements in a sentence: introductory clauses, words in a series, parenthetical phrases, or interjections. Commas are also used to separate items in lists, and to present large numbers in a more readable form.

These formal uses frequently also indicate a pause in speech. Writers often use optional commas for stylistic reasons, to indicate such a pause where none may be required, grammatically.

The comma is also used to separate two independent clauses (a group of words that can function as a sentence) that are joined by a co-ordinating conjunction ("and" & "but" when they are used to connect), eg:

"I passed the test, but he failed." -- "I passed the test" and "He failed" can function as separate sentences.

An important, often misunderstood use of the comma is for thought interruptions. Information that is unnecessary to the meaning of the sentence must be set off and ended by a comma. If the information is necessary, no commas should be used.

"I cut down all the trees, which were over six feet tall." -- In this sentence, all of the trees were over six feet tall and were cut down. Therefore, this information is unessential and "which" is used.

"I cut down all the trees that were over six feet tall." -- In this sentence, only those trees over six feet tall were cut down. Therefore, this information is essential and "that" is used.

Semicolon [;]
In English, the semicolon has two main uses:

It binds two sentences more closely than they would be if separated by a full stop or period. It often replaces a conjunction such as and or but. A writer might consider this appropriate where they are trying to indicate a close relationship between two sentences, or a 'run-on' in meaning from one to the next; they don't wish the connection to be broken by the abrupt use of a full-stop.

It is used as a stronger division than a comma, to make meaning clear in a sentence where commas are already being used for other purposes. A common example of this use is to separate the items of a list when some of the items themselves contain commas.
There are several rules that govern semicolon placement:

Use a semicolon between closely related independent clauses not joined by a coordinating conjunction: "I went to the store; they were closed."

Use a semicolon between independent clauses linked with a transitional phrase or conjunctive adverb: "I like to ride horses; however, they don't like to ride me."

Use a semicolon between items in a series containing internal punctuation: "There are several Waffle Houses in Atlanta, Georgia; Greenville, South Carolina; Pensacola, Florida; and Mobile, Alabama."
Some experts will allow for a semicolon to separate independent clauses that are joined by coordinating conjunctions when the clauses have internal commas that might lead to misreading:

"After the game, I won a red beanie baby, four edible ingots, and a certificate of excellence; but when the storm came, I lost it all in a torrent of sleet, snow, and profanity."

Semicolons are always placed after closing quotation marks and are never followed by an uppercase letter, unless that letter begins a proper noun.

Colon [:]
Colons are commonly used to introduce lists, or to connect a broad idea with a specific example: two related sentences can be separated by colons instead of full stops or semicolons. Colons may also be used to introduce a direct quote, or to draw attention to an appositive (a noun phrase that generally follows, but occasionally precedes, another noun phrase and renames or describes it). In any of these cases, a colon can only be used if the clause preceding the colon is independent.

In American English colons are also used after the salutation in a formal letter, Dear John:

When closing quotation marks and colons are adjacent, the colons always follow. Capitalization following colons is optional.

Apostrophe [']
An apostrophe is commonly used to indicate omitted characters as in:

abbreviations, as gov't for government, or '70s for 1970s.
contractions, such as can't from cannot and it's from it is or it has.
An apostrophe is used with an added s to indicate possession, as in Oliver's army, Elizabeth's crown. If a name already ends with an s the extra s is sometimes dropped: Jesus' parables.

An apostrophe is used by some writers to form a plural for abbreviations and symbols where adding just s rather than ’s would be ambiguous, such as mind your p's and q's. It is not necessary where there is no ambiguity, so CDs not CD's, videos not video's, 1960s not 1960's, 90s or '90s not '90's.

Things to watch

The apostrophe in it's marks a contraction of it is or it has. The possessive its has no apostrophe, eg the dog hurt its paw.

Who's means who is or who has. The possessive of who is whose. The person whose responsibility it is is the member who's oldest.

You're means you are. This is different from the possessive your. Your nuts implies the nuts belong to you. You're nuts would mean You are nuts.

When the noun is plural and already ends in s, no extra s is added in the possessive, so pens' lids (where there is more than one pen) rather than pens's lids. If the plural noun doesn't end in s, then add s as usual: children's hats
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PostPosted: 3rd June 2007, 09:36 Post subject: Publicité

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topenglish

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PostPosted: 3rd June 2007, 09:37 Post subject: Commonly-used punctuation marks

Commonly-used punctuation marks
Quotation marks [' “”]
Quotation marks, also called quotes or inverted commas, are punctuation marks used in pairs to set off speech, a quotation, or a phrase. The pair consists of an opening quotation mark and a closing quotation mark.

Quotations and speech

When the quoted text is interrupted, such as with the phrase he said, a closing quotation mark is used before the interruption, and an opening quotation mark after. Commas are also often used before and after the interruption. “Good morning John,” he said, “it's a lovely day.”

British and United States style differs as to whether single or double quotation marks are used, with single marks being preferred in British English. But neither is an absolute rule, and a publisher's or even an author's style may take precedence.

The American convention is for sentence punctuation to be included inside the quotation marks, even if the punctuation is not part of the quoted sentence, while the British style is to have the punctuation outside the quotation marks for small quoted phrases.

In some subject areas (such as software documentation and chemistry), it is conventional to include only the quoted string within the quotes, to avoid ambiguity with regard to whether a punctuation mark belongs to it:

Enter the URL as “www.wikipedia.org”, the name as “Wikipedia”, and click "OK".
The URL starts with “www.wikipedia.”. This is followed by “org” or “com”.

For speech within speech:

‘HAL said, “Good morning, Dave”,’ said Frank. (British)
“HAL said, ‘Good morning, Dave’,” said Frank. (American)

It is generally considered incorrect to use quotation marks for indirect (reported) speech:

RIGHT: HAL said that everything was going extremely well.
WRONG: HAL said that “Everything was going extremely well.”

In American English, commas and periods always go inside the quotation marks, no matter the circumstance:

He is called “HAL.”
Also called “plain quotes,” they are teardrops.

Question marks and exclamation marks must rely on logic to determine whether they go inside or outside:

Did he say, “Good morning, Dave”?
No, he said, “Where are you, Dave?”

(Note that in the above sentences, only one punctuation mark is used at the end of each sentence. Regardless of its placement, only one end mark (?, !, or .) can end a sentence in American English, whereas in British English, the combination ?”. is acceptable.)

Paragraph spanning quotes

In most cases, quotations that span multiple paragraphs should be block-quoted, and thus do not require quotation marks. If quotation marks are used for a multiple-paragraph quotation, the convention is to give each paragraph opening quotes, using closing quotes only for the final paragraph of the quotation.

Emphasis and ironic quotes

Another important usage of quotation marks is to indicate or call attention to ironic or apologetic words. Ironic speech is where the speaker says something other than what s/he actually means. Ironic quotes are sometimes gestured in verbal speech using air quotes, ie using one's fingers to draw quotation marks in the air.

He claimed he was too “busy” to visit me.

Ironic quotes should be used with care, as they can obscure the writer's intended meaning and are easily confused with quotations.

Quotes are also used to indicate that the writer realizes that the word is not being used in its (currently) accepted sense.

Titles of artistic works

Quotation marks are generally used for the titles of shorter works. Whether these are single or double is again a matter of style:

short fiction, poetry, etc.: Arthur C. Clarke's “The Sentinel”
book chapters: The first chapter of 3001: The Final Odyssey is “Comet Cowboy”
articles in books, magazines, journals, etc.: “Extra-Terrestrial Relays,” Wireless World, October 1945
album tracks, singles, etc.: David Bowie's “Space Oddity
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PostPosted: 3rd June 2007, 09:38 Post subject: Question mark [?]

Question mark [?]
A question mark is a punctuation mark that replaces the period at the end of an interrogative sentence (ie one which asks a question). It can also be used mid-sentence to mark a merely interrogative phrase, where it functions similarly to a comma, such as in the sentence "where shall we go? and what shall we do?," but this usage is increasingly rare. The question mark is not used for indirect questions, Jim asked what time it was.

Exclamation mark [!]
An exclamation mark is a punctuation mark that marks the end of a sentence. A sentence ending in an exclamation mark is either an actual exclamation (Wow!), a command (Stop!), or is intended to be astonishing in some way (They were the footprints of a gigantic hound!).

Dash [—]
A dash is a punctuation mark, and is not to be confused with the shorter hyphen, which has different uses.

There are various forms of dash, two common ones being the en-dash and the em-dash.

En dash

The en dash (–) is one en in width. By definition, this is by exactly half the width of an em dash.

The en dash is used to indicate a closed range, or a connection between two things of almost any kind: numbers, people, places, etc. For example:

June–July 1967
1:00–2:00 p.m.
For ages 3–5
pp. 38–55
New York–London flight
The Guide for the Use of the International System of Units (SI) recommends that the word "to" be used instead of an en dash when a number range might be misconstrued as subtraction, such as a range of units.

The en dash can also be used as a hyphen in a compound adjective, one part of which consists of two words or a hyphenated word:

pre–World War II period
anti–New Zealand sentiment
high-priority–high-pressure tasks (tasks which are both high-priority and high-pressure).
The en dash is also used, with a single space on each side, instead of a colon, and around parenthetical statements – like this one – in place of the more common em dash.

Except when used parenthetically or instead of a colon, an en dash does not have spaces around it.

Em dash

The em dash (—) is defined as one em in width. By definition, this is twice as wide as the en dash in any particular font.

The em dash indicates a sudden break in thought—a parenthetical statement like this one—or an open range (such as John Doe, 1987—). The em dash is used in much the way a colon or set of parentheses is used: it can show an abrupt change in thought or be used where a period is too strong and a comma too weak.

In North American usage—and also in old British usage—an em dash is never surrounded by spaces. In contrast, the modern practice in many other parts of the English-speaking world and in journalistic style is to separate the dash from its surrounding words when used parenthetically, by using spaces.

When an actual em dash is unavailable, a double hyphen-minus ("--") can be used in American English. However, this has never been accepted in other variants of English, such as Commonwealth English; instead, a single hyphen is used with space on either side (" - ").

Hyphen [-]
The hyphen ( - ) is used both to join words and to separate syllables.

Nouns formed of two nouns, or a noun and an adjective, are sometimes hyphenated, as blue-blood.

Except for noun-noun and adverb-adjective compound modifiers, when a compound modifier appears before a term, the compound modifier is generally hyphenated in order to prevent any possible misunderstanding, such as light-blue paint, twentieth-century invention, cold-hearted person, and award-winning show. Without the hyphens, there is potential confusion about whether 'light' applies to 'blue' or 'paint', whether 'twentieth' applies to 'century' or 'invention', etc. Hyphens are generally not used in noun-noun or adverb-adjective compound modifiers, because no such confusion is possible; for example:
government standards organization and department store manager
wholly owned subsidiary and quickly moving vehicle

Hyphenation is also common with adjective-noun compound modifiers. For example, real-world example; left-hand drive. Where the adjective-noun phrase would be plural standing alone, it usually becomes singular and hyphenated when modifying another noun. For example, four days becomes four-day week.

Names of numbers less than one hundred are hyphenated. For instance, the number 123 should be written one hundred [and] twenty-three.

Hyphens are also used to denote syllabification, as in syl-la-bi-fi-ca-tion.

If a word beginning on one line of text continues into the following line, a hyphen will usually be inserted immediately before the split.

Some married couples compose a new surname for their new family by combining their two surnames together with a hyphen in between. Jane Doe and John Smith might become Jane and John Smith-Doe, for instance. More often, however, only the woman hyphenates her birth surname with her husband's surname.
Slash [/]
The most common use of the slash is to replace the hyphen to make clear a strong joint between words or phrases, such as the Ernest Hemingway/William Faulkner generation. Yet very often it is used to represent the concept or, especially in instruction books.

The symbol also appears in the phrase and/or, a prose representation of the logical concept of inclusive or.

Brackets () [] {}
Brackets are punctuation marks, used in pairs to set apart or interject text within other text. Types of brackets include parentheses ( ), square brackets [ ], and braces { }.

Parentheses ()

Parentheses are used to contain parenthetical (or optional, additional) material in a sentence that could be removed without destroying the meaning of the main text. For example, George Washington (the father of his country) was not the wooden figure with wooden teeth that many think him. Indeed, such an interjection is called a parenthesis, and may also be set off with dashes or commas.

Parentheses may be used to add supplementary information, such as Sen. Kennedy (D., Massachusetts) spoke at length.

Square brackets []

Square brackets are used to enclose explanatory or missing [...] material, especially in quoted text. For example, I appreciate it [the honor], but I must refuse. Or, the future of psionics [See definition] is in doubt.

The bracketed expression [sic] (Latin for "thus") is used to indicate errors that are "thus in the original"; a bracketed ellipsis [...] is used to indicate deleted material; bracketed comments are used to indicate when original text has been modified for clarity: I'd like to thank [several unimportant people] and my parentals [sic] for their love, tolerance [...] and assistance [italics added].

Curly brackets or braces {}

Curly brackets (also called braces) are sometimes used in prose to indicate a series of equal choices: Select your animal {goat, sheep, cow, horse} and follow me.

Ellipsis [...]
The ellipsis is a row of three dots (...) indicating an intentionally omitted part of speech.

An example is, She went to … school. In this sentence, “…” might represent the word elementary, or the word no. The use of ellipses can either mislead or clarify, and the reader must rely on the good intentions of the writer who uses it. Omission without indication by an ellipsis is always considered misleading.

An ellipsis can also be used to indicate a pause in speech, or be used at the end of a sentence to indicate a trailing off into silence.
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