Composition 9 End Marks and Commas
Periods and Exclamation Marks • Follow along on Textbook pages 654-656. • End marks are used to indicate the purpose of a sentence. • A statement (declarative sentence) is followed by a period ( . ). Statements of fact and statements of opinion are declarative. This is true even when the sentence contains an indirect question, which is a question that needs no answer; it refers to a question that has been or might be asked. • Example: John considered what might have happened to his hat. • A command (imperative sentence)may end with either a period ( . ) or an exclamation mark ( ! ). If the command is not forceful or expressive of emotion, it is a mild imperative and should end with a period. • Example: Please see me after school. • If the command is forceful and expressive of emotion, it is a strong imperative and should end with an exclamation mark. • Example: Get over here!
Exclamation Marks and Question Marks • Direct questions demand answers and must always end with question marks ( ? ). • Example: When did you arrive? • Incomplete questions and statements intended as questions should not be used in formal writing, but they should be punctuated with question marks to show that they demand answers. • Example: He arrived? When? • Use exclamation marks ( !) to punctuate sentences that demonstrate strong emotion (exclamatory) and interjections that are delivered emphatically. Neither of these should occur much in formal writing. • Example: Wow! That was the best night of my life! • We will work together on Exercise 1.
Abbreviations • Follow along on Text pages 864-867. • The abbreviations that are acceptable in formal writing are the following: Mr., Mrs., Miss, Ms., Dr., A.M., P.M., A.D., C.E., B.C., B.C.E., M.A., B.A., Ph.D., and M.D. • The vast majority of abbreviations are followed by a period. • Examples: Mr. ; B.C.E. ; Ave. ; lb. ; M.A. • Two-letter state abbreviations are only used when the ZIP codes are included and do not include periods. Otherwise, the states have abbreviations that involve more than two letters and a period. • Examples: NE, 67890 ; Nebr. • Abbreviations for government agencies are written without periods. • Examples: FBI ; CIA • Metric system abbreviations are written without periods. • Examples: kg ; cm • If a sentence ends with an abbreviation, let the period following the abbreviation serve as the end mark; do not insert an extra period. However, add a question mark or exclamation point as needed. • Example: My friend weighs 600 lbs. • Example: Does your mom weigh 600 lbs.? • If a sentence ends with a quotation mark, the end mark goes inside of the closing quotation mark. • Example: She said, “Leave me alone!” • Example: I asked, “When will you be there?” • Quiz on end marks coming up!
Commas and Compound Sentences • Follow along on Textbook pages 658-659. • When joining two independent clauses in a compound sentence, you should use a comma before a coordinating conjunction between the clauses. • Example: I bought a house, and my wife really likes it. • This is not the case for compound verbs or compound subjects, nor is it the case for conjunctions merely joining together words, phrases, or subordinate clauses. In these instances, the conjunctions can stand alone without commas. • Example: Samuel destroyed his life and regretted his choices. • Example: Jack and Jill lied to my father and mother. • We will work together on Exercise 7.
Commas in Series • Follow along on Textbook pages 660-661. • Commas should be used to separate items in series. A series is a list of three or more similar items. The number of commas in the series should be one fewer than the total number of items in the series. You will never be wrong to insert the last comma before the coordinating conjunction. • Example: I bought a hat, a glove, cleats, and a helmet. • Coordinating conjunctions are sometimes used in place of commas to join items in series, though this is not preferred. • Example: I bought a hat and a glove and cleats and a helmet. • In rare instances, series of pairs of items that are thought of as one thing may appear. No commas are necessary between the joined items. • Example: I requested ham and eggs, coffee and cream, and cream cheese and jelly. • If you are joining together independent clauses in a series of more than two, you should use semicolons, not commas, to separate them. This will help avoid confusion. • Example: The tired, lonely, angry passengers arrived at the station; the families rushed to meet their returning loved ones; and I stood on the platform watching their joyful reunions. • We will work together on Exercise 8.
Commas and Coordinate Adjectives • Follow along on Textbook page 662. • Coordinate adjectives modify the same noun or pronoun in an equal way. These adjectives can be joined by commas or coordinating conjunctions. • Example: The crowded, noisy, smelly bar repulsed my mother. • To determine if the adjectives are equal and thus whether the comma should be included, ask yourself whether you can sensibly switch the order of the adjectives. If you can, you need to include commas or coordinating conjunctions between the adjectives. If you cannot switch the order, no commas are necessary. • Example: The sad, angry, disgusted mother stared at her disappointing son. • Example: The refreshing orange juice quenched my thirst. • We will work together on Exercise 9.
Commas and Introductory Elements • Follow along on Textbook pages 663-664. • Commas are typically needed to set off introductory words or groups of words that set up the sentence, but are not acting like a subject. • Example: Yes, I will be there. • Example: Sam, don’t go in there! • Example: Of course, I was there. • Example: Nevertheless, I will show up. • Example: In a week or two, you will see me. • Example: Running in the street, he screamed her name. • Example: To leave the house, he fought his mother. • Example: Because you were late, everyone became angry. • There is a nice list of these circumstances on Textbook page 663. • We will work together on Exercise 10.
Commas and Parenthetical Expressions • Follow along on Textbook pages 665-666. • Parenthetical expressions relate one group of words to another but are not intimately related grammatically to the sentence; they should be set off by commas. • Example: The referees who did not bet on games, on the other hand, were given promotions. • Example: His show, not mine, was canceled. • Example: I will, nevertheless, be there on time. • Example: You, Don, are late. • If the expression is at the beginning or end of the sentence, only one comma is necessary. • We will work together on Exercise 11.
Commas and Nonessential Elements • Follow along on Textbook pages 667-668. • Nonessential clauses and phrases are ones that can be omitted without changing the meaning of a sentence. These should be set off by commas. • Example: Kyrie Irving, one of the NBA’s brightest stars, made the All-Star Team. • Essential clauses and phrases change the meaning of the sentence if they are omitted, and they should not be set off by commas. • Example: The referees who bet on games were fired. • The chart on page 667 includes a few examples of this distinction. • We will work together on Exercise 12.
Commas with Places, Dates, Titles, and Other Elements • Follow along on Textbook pages 669-671. • In addresses, commas separate elements. • Example: 650 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY • In dates, commas separate elements most of the time. The exceptions are months followed by days, only months and years, and prepositional phrases. • Example: Friday, June 15, 1943; June 1943; June 15; June 15 of 1943 • Commas separate names from titles which follow names. • Example: DoogieHowser, M.D.; Sammy Davis, Jr. • Commas are used after personal letter salutations and after closings in all letters. • Example: Dear John, ; Sincerely, Dave
Commas and Other Elements • Elliptical sentences are set up so that some words are understood and do not need to be written. Use commas to indicate the words left out. • Example: The father of the bride was named John; the mother, Samantha. • Use commas to set off direct quotations. • Example: He said, “I will never do this again.” • Example: “I will never do this again,” he said. • Example: “I,” he said, “will never do this again.” • Use commas to set off tag questions, which are short questions at the end of a statement meant to emphasize the statement. • Example: He isn’t going, is he? • Example: He is going, isn’t he? • We will work together on Exercise 13. • Quiz on commas coming up!
Standardized Test Punctuation Work • Follow along on Textbook pages 724-725. • Standardized tests will often ask that you identify errors in punctuation and general proofreading within sentences. If you cannot figure out how you would fix the error, perhaps look elsewhere and see if there is one you are sure you know how to fix. • We will work through the two example problems on the bottom of page 724. • We will work through Practice 1 and 2 together.
Don’t be mad. Test on end marks and commas.