Why punctuate? A panda walks into a café. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and proceeds to fire it at the other patrons.“Why?” asks the confused, surviving waiter amidst the carnage, as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder.“Well, I’m a panda,” he says at the door. “Look it up.”The waiter turns to the relevant entry in the manual and, sure enough, finds an explanation. “Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves.”
Know your puncs! The Key to success . , ! ? “ “ ‘ – ( ) ; :
The Comma Commas are used for: • Lists - To avoid confusion, use commas to separate words and word groups with a series of three or more. • Separating adjectives - Use a comma to separate two adjectives when the word and can be inserted between them. • Separating a main clause from a subordinate clause - Use a comma to separate two strong clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction-and, or, but, for, nor. You can omit the comma if the clauses are both short • In direct speech - Use commas to introduce or interrupt direct quotations shorter than three lines.
Text analysis Look at the text below. Discuss in pairs where the commas have been used and why: So far, so good. Seems to be safe.Have to be quiet in our nests of sacks up the back here. We’re pretty sure no one will find us, though. The owners have built a brand new garage for their gardening and farm equipment, and their house is away at the end of the garden. This old shed never gets a look-in. Anyway, it’s jammed with stuff. You can hardly squeeze through the door. To get to our cubby, you have to push past a whole lot of broken-down machinery, old chairs, suitcases, a chest of drawers, a mouldy leather bag of golf clubs, boxes of glass jars, a roll of carpet and some wooden tea chests. There are massive cobwebs floating of the ceiling. Dad calls it a circus trapeze because there are dead insects trapped in it, swinging back and forth in the breeze. Coils of rope and wire, lanterns and bits of rusty tools hang like bats from the rafters. The walls and even the fireplace are built out of kerosene tins. Dad says this means it’s old. He calls it heritage. Dad reckons it’s one of the last original buildings in the area from the time before a lot of this land was cut up into five- and ten-acre blocks. So I’ve called our shed Heritage hotel.
The semi-colon and colon A semi-colon is used: • to link two separate sentences that are closely related • The children came home today; they had been away for a week. • in a list that already contains commas • Star Trek, created by Gene Roddenberry; Babylon 5, by JMS; Buffy, by Joss Whedon; and Farscape, from the Henson Company.
The Colon Use a colon • Before a list.I could only find three of the ingredients: sugar, flour and coconut. • Before a summary.To summarise: we found the camp, set up our tent and then the bears attacked. • Before a quote.As Jane Austen wrote: it is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. • Where the colon is used in place of the following or thus. There are only three kinds of people: the good, the bad and the ugly. • Instead of a semicolon between two strong clauses when the second clause explains or illustrates the first clause and no coordinating conjunction is being used to connect the clauses. e.g I enjoy reading: novels by Stephen King are among my favourites.
The Dash Use a dash • for emphasis The book was great — a really good read. • for explanation or addition • In place of brackets or commas. The Colour Of Magic — the first of the series — was written in 1989.
Ellipsis Use an ellipsis • to indicate missing words in a quotation "the sight was awesome...truly amazing"
Parenthesis Use round brackets (aka parenthesis) for additional information or explanation • To clarify or inform.Jamie's bike was red (bright red) with a yellow stripe.2) • For asides and commentsThe bear was pink (I kid you not). Use square brackets for editorial information, etc • To amend or supplement the given detailsHis first book [The Colour Of Magic] was written in 1989. • To replace phrases for clarity or brevity[The treaty] decreed that no bear should be painted pink.
The Hyphen Use a hyphen with some prefixes and suffixes 1) To avoid multiple letters.re-evaluate [re-evaluate] 2) If the root word is capitalised.pre-Christmas, anti-European 3) With specific prefixes and suffixes.self-sacrificing, all-seeing, ex-wife, vice-chairman, president-elect 4) To avoid ambiguity or awkward pronunciation.un-ionised [unionised], re-read 5) Where a list of words each have the same prefix or suffix. pre- and post-recession, over- and under-weight
The Hyphen Use a hyphen to form compound words 1) For clarity.sit-in, stand-out, Mother-In-Law 2) In compound adjectives that modify what they precede.blue-chip company, devil-may-care attitude, up-to-the-minute news Use a hyphen with fractions, numbers and initial letters 1) With fractions and numbers between 21 and 99.one-half, sixty-four, twenty-eight and three-quarters 2) Words that start with a capital letterX-ray, T-shirt, U-Turn Use a hyphen to divide words at the right hand margin.
The Question mark • End a sentence with • a Question Mark • End direct questions, requiring a response, with a question mark.May I borrow your copy of the book? What did you think of the play?
Text analysis Discuss the use of question marks in this extract: Manfred's ears were still ringing from the explosion as he trudged past Christmas trees in shop doorways, and bakeries breathing out the aroma of cinnamon, honey and nuts. Snow had fallen on the fake palms of a nativity scene, giving it a wintry, fairytale air. Around him, people crowded into the narrow cobblestone streets, hurrying to buy presents. Saint Nicholas slid past on a horse-drawn sleigh, a small angel sitting beside him. Sleighbells jingled, the angel's trumpet blared. It was that fir, tinsel and brass time of year. Manfred paused at the statue in the town square. It was a man, running, pointing to a thing unseen. The horror in the man's face always made Manfred wonder - why? Why was that face familiar? Whose was it? And what had happened in 1405? That was the date at the base of the statue - 1405.
The Exclamation mark • This is used to add emphasis to the statement . e.g. I loved the play! It may also suggest someone is shouting e.g.' Don't!’ he cried
The Inverted Comma Use quotation marks • for direct speech Janet asked, "Why can't we go today?" • For quotes inside quotes, use single quotation marks.Billy said, "So then John told her 'I don't want to go today' and Janet cried." • for words that are defined, that follow certain phrases or that have special meaning 1) Stating a definition.'Buch' is German for book. 2) Following phrases such as entitled, marked and the term.The book was signed 'Terry Pratchett'. 3) Special meanings, noting inaccuracies or misnomers, etc.The 'free gift' actually cost us forty pounds.