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Chapter 31: Punctuation II--commas, colons, semicolons, parentheses, brackets, hyphens, dashes, and slashes.

By the end of this chapter, you should begin to ...

* use commas appropriately to separate clauses, phrases, and words;

* use commas in numbers, dates, addresses, etc.;

* use colons appropriately, and avoid using colons after for example, etc.;

* use semicolons appropriately between two independent clauses, etc.;

* use parentheses, brackets, hyphens, dashes, and slashes appropriately.

Like other punctuation marks, the ones in this chapter direct the reader's attention to meaningful groups of words. They are like the hands of a traffic cop telling cars to stop or go, turn right or left. They are like the hands of a waiter guiding the customer through a meal, from pointing out the table and offering the menu to serving the dishes and sweeping up the crumbs.

THE COMMA

The comma is one of the most misused punctuation marks; in fact, it is often overused. There are certain occasions when commas must be used in standard written English, and there are occasions when they must not be used. There are also times when the comma may be used to add emphasis or to make the meaning clearer. We're sometimes told to place a comma wherever we pause in reading the sentence, and that works well as we're writing a rough draft. However, once we're proofreading the final copy, that advice may not always be useful. Rather, it makes sense to consult a list of rules and to use commas only when these rules apply. When in doubt, leave commas out.

1. Add a comma before the coordinating conjunction that joins two independent clauses.

   One train stopped, but the other kept going.

   Joaquin grilled two steaks, and Dexter added a garnish of
   mushrooms.


In these two examples, the comma is like a hand giving a short wave to the reader as if to say, okay, here's where the next clause begins.

2. Add a comma after an introductory subordinate clause. Remember, a subordinate clause is a group of words that contains a subject, a verb, and a subordinating conjunction ("coat hanger").

   While one train stopped, the other kept going.

   After Joaquin grilled two steaks, Dexter added a garnish of
   mushrooms.


Again, the comma is like a hand drawing the reader's eye to the subject of the main clause, Dexter.

Exercise 31.1 | Coordinate and Subordinate Clauses

Rewrite the following sentences, adding commas where necessary.

1. When Emma first meets Frank Churchill she thinks he is very handsome and wellmannered.

2. As she gets to know him better she does not completely trust him.

3. Frank is not perfect yet Emma would like him to marry her best friend, Harriet.

4. While Emma is busy matchmaking she fails to notice that both Frank and Harriet are in love with other people.

5. She doesn't realize that Frank is in love with Jane Fairfax and she also doesn't realize that she herself is in love with Mr. Knightley.

3. If a subordinate clause follows the main clause, add a comma if the clause is nonrestrictive, that is, if it could be omitted without altering the fundamental meaning of the sentence.

Nonrestrictive: The Boston fans greatly admired David Ortiz, who had hit several home runs during the season. We came home early, although the party was not over. I went to the new restaurant, which we learned later had received good reviews.

The comma is omitted when the subordinate clause is restrictive, that is, when it limits the meaning of a word in the main clause or is otherwise essential to the meaning of the sentence. Note that a subordinate clause that begins with the pronoun that is always restrictive; therefore it is not preceded by a comma.

Restrictive: The crowd cheered for the player who hit the home run. We came home early because we were tired. I went to the new restaurant that everyone was talking about.

4. Add a comma after an introductory word or phrase. The purpose of punctuation is to map out the meaning of the sentence so that the reader is able to follow it clearly. Since the main clause and its subject are especially important to the meaning of a sentence, commas are often used after an introductory word or phrase as an indication that these are going to be followed by this main clause.

   First, the server asked for their drink orders.

   After ordering their drinks, the customers opened the menus.


Many writers place a comma after four or more introductory words, or after two or more prepositional phrases. Note that if the introductory word or phrase is short and the meaning is clear, the comma may be omitted.

   Yesterday we went to a new restaurant downtown.

   In the window there was a photograph of the award-winning chef.


5. Add commas on both ends of words, phrases, or clauses that interrupt the sentence. Use two commas--like two hands holding a tray--unless the phrase begins or ends the sentence.

   Dr. House, however, is not always popular with his coworkers.
   However, Dr. House is not always popular with his coworkers. Dr.
   House is not always popular with his coworkers, however.


In the second and third examples, the capital letter and the period, respectively, act as the other "hand" that helps the comma hold the tray.

Appositives, which are words or phrases that sit next to a noun and rename it, are usually separated from the rest of the sentence with commas, unless they are very short or unless they restrict the meaning of the noun.

   The new show, a hospital drama, premiered on Tuesday night. [commas
   set off a hospital drama, which renames show]

   My aunt Sally loves the show. [Sally restricts the meaning; it's
   not my aunt Betty. Therefore no comma is used.]


Words or phrases used in direct address are also separated from the rest of the sentence by commas.

   I am sorry, Dr. House, but your license has been suspended.


Exercise 31.2 | Using Commas with Interrupters

Rewrite the following sentences, adding commas where necessary.

1. Another popular medical series this one with a large ensemble cast is Grey's Anatomy. 2. Meredith Grey from whom the series derives its name is an intern at a hospital. 3. She initially shares a house with two other interns Izzy and George. 4. The interns' supervisor Dr. Bailey runs a tight ship. 5. In addition the show is enlivened by the many romantic entanglements.

6. Add commas between three or more items in a series. Both MLA and APA

style guides prefer that a comma precede and.

   The apple was green, round, and juicy.


Note that if you use a conjunction between each item, you do not need commas.

   The apple was green and round and juicy.


You may choose to add commas where they are not required, however, as in the example that follows, if each item is rather long and the sentence would be clearer with punctuation.

   The fruit salad consisted of Granny Smith apples bought from the
   grocery store and used with their bright green skins intact, and
   blueberries and raspberries picked that morning at a local farm,
   and walnut pieces that were left over from holiday baking.


When you have a series of adjectives describing a noun, insert a comma between those that modify the noun directly:

The cafe was painted a bright, cheerful color.

Both bright and cheerful describe color, and the sentence might have been written as follows:

   The cafe was painted a bright and cheerful color.


When adjectives modifying the same noun could be joined by and (bright and cheerful color), they are separated by commas if and is removed (bright, cheerful color). In the next example, however, bright is now an adverb modifying yellow and is not separated from it by a comma.

   The cafe was painted a bright yellow color.


Items in a Series

The cafe was painted a bright, cheerful color.

The cafe was painted a bright yellow color.

Charlotte is fond of buttered, toasted English muffins.

We wouldn't write a bright and yellow color; thus, we do not place a comma after bright. Finally, do not add a comma between an adjective and a noun if the adjective limits or qualifies the meaning of the noun. For example, there is no comma between toasted and English in the following sentence because the adjective English limits the muffins to a certain variety. They're not corn muffins, but English muffins.

   Charlotte is fond of buttered, toasted English muffins. [correct]

   Charlotte is fond of buttered, toasted, English muffins.
   [incorrect]


One common qualifier is the season of the year. In the following sentence, we wouldn't speak of the mild and summer evening; therefore, there is no comma between the two adjectives.

   The children watched the fireflies throughout the mild summer
   evening. [correct]

   The children watched the fireflies throughout the mild, summer
   evening. [incorrect]


Exercise 31.3 | Commas with Items in a Series

Rewrite the following sentences, adding commas where necessary.

1. The two business partners bought a small attractive restaurant on a side street.

2. The newly opened cafe had fresh seasonal vegetables on the menu.

3. The customers especially enjoyed the varied tender salad greens.

4. Another popular item was the thick nutritious vegetable soup.

5. For dessert many customers ordered the very rich chocolate cake.

7. Add a comma to mark the thousandth place in numbers larger than four digits, such as 150,000 or 23,671. The comma is optional in four-digit numbers, but be consistent. If you're using other numbers that must have a comma, add a comma to the four-digit numbers as well.

   Marlene made 1,129 phone calls at work last month. [correct]

   Marlene made 1129 phone calls at work last month. [correct]

   At that rate, she will have made 13548 calls by the end of the
   year. [incorrect]

   At that rate, she will have made 13,458 by the end of the year.
   [correct]


Do not add commas to telephone numbers, years, or zip codes.

8. Add a comma between elements of a date,

   Julia Child was born on August 15, 1912.


and add a comma after the date if the sentence continues, as in this example:

   Julia Child was born on August 15, 1912, and was an influential
   figure in the American culinary world.


However, do not add commas when the date is given in inverted order-day, month, year--as in the following example: 15 August 1912. Do not use a comma when you write just the month and day or just the month and year.

   Julia Child was born on August 15.

   Julia Child was born in August 1912.


9. Add a comma between elements of an address, except between the state and the zip code. Use a comma after the address if the sentence continues.

   The President of the United States lives at 1600 Pennsylvania
   Avenue, Washington, D.C. 20500.


10. Add a comma between a name and abbreviations such as MD or Jr. Use a comma after the abbreviation if the sentence continues.

   Sanjay Gupta, MD, wrote a book called Monday Mornings, which was
   turned into a television show.


11. Add a comma after the greeting of a personal letter and after the closing of all letters. Note that the greeting of a business letter is followed by a colon.

   Dear John,
   Sincerely yours,
   BUT
   Dear Superintendent Yang:


Commas are often added where they don't belong. Observe the following rules:

* Don't put a comma between the subject and the verb of a sentence.

* Don't put a comma between a verb and its object.

* If a pair of commas is needed to separate an interrupter from the rest of the sentence, don't skip one.

* Don't use a comma to separate two independent clauses.

* Don't use a comma unless you have a specific purpose in mind.

Finally, let's look at the one rule most people remember: put a comma wherever you pause in the sentence. It's true a comma will make the reader pause briefly (though not as long as a semicolon or period). However, if you use a comma for this reason, be sure it's not breaking any of the rules in this section at the same time.

THE COLON

Colons are like a pair of eyes tipped over, like the emoticon :) without the smile. They mean "look at this."

1. Use a colon to introduce a list or a quotation.

   Dexter dislikes all vegetables except the following: broccoli,
   carrots, and corn.

   Perhaps one of the most well-known sentences in the English
   language comes from Hamlet: "To be or not to be, that is the
   question."


2. Colons may be used between independent clauses, if the first clause is explained or summarized by the second. In APA format, the first word after the colon is always capitalized. In MLA format, the first word is capitalized only if it states a rule or principle.

   Dexter applies this same selectivity to ice cream flavors: he
   prefers pure chocolate or vanilla, with an occasional scoop of
   cookies and cream to add texture. [MLA]

   Dexter applies this same selectivity to ice cream flavors: He
   prefers pure chocolate or vanilla, with an occasional scoop of
   cookies and cream to add texture. [APA]


3. Use a colon in the greeting of a business letter.

   Dear Sales Associate:


4. Use a colon in expressions of time.

   Dinner was served at 7:00 p.m.


5. Use a colon in certain parts of bibliographic citations. (See Chapter 19 for additional details on bibliographic citations.) Study the following examples:

   Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's [colon between city and publisher/MLA]

   Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin's [colon between state and
   publisher/APA]

   Food and Wine 18:63-65 [colon between volume and page numbers/ MLA
   only]

   Food and Wine, 18, 63-35 [comma between title, volume, and page
   numbers/APA only]


Some style manuals require a colon between biblical chapter and verse; the Modern Language Association prefers a period. Follow the preference of your instructor or publisher.

6. Do not use a colon after the expressions for example, including, and such as; between a verb and the rest of the sentence; or between a preposition and its object.

   Dexter enjoys many types of potatoes, such as: mashed, baked, and
   fried. [incorrect]

   Dexter enjoys many types of potatoes, such as mashed, baked, and
   fried. [correct]

   Dexter's favorite vegetables are: broccoli, carrots, and corn.
   [incorrect]

   Dexter's favorite vegetables are broccoli, carrots, and corn.
   [correct]

   Dexter's mother made his favorite meal of: lasagna and garlic
   bread. [incorrect]

   Dexter's mother made his favorite meal of lasagna and garlic bread.
   [correct]


Exercise 31.4 | Using the Colon

Add or delete a colon where necessary in the following sentences.

1. Each episode of Law & Order follows a specific sequence the discovery of the body, the police investigation, and the jury trial.

2. Over the years, several different actresses have played Jack McCoy's assistant, for example: Jill Hennessey, Carey Lowell, and Angie Harmon.

3. Detective Briscoe's partner has also been played by different actors, including: Benjamin Bratt and Jesse L. Martin.

4. Jennifer is a huge fan of the show she has at least ten seasons on DVD.

5. Did you watch the episode last night at 1000 p.m.?

THE SEMICOLON

The semicolon is somewhere between a comma and a period. It's as if our friend Comma Man got into a semi to increase his strength. Like a comma, the semicolon is part of a single sentence. Like a period, the semicolon can handle two independent clauses. While we take a pause at a comma, we take a longer one at a semicolon, and an even longer one at a period.

1. Use a semicolon to join two independent clauses that are very closely related in meaning. (See also Chapter 23.)

Raw eggs may contain a dangerous bacterium called Salmonella; they should always be stored at cool temperatures.

   A conjunctive adverb, such as consequently or however, may be used
   to describe the relationship between two clauses.


Raw eggs may contain a dangerous bacterium called Salmonella; consequently, they should always be stored at cool temperatures.

   Such conjunctive adverbs are typically followed by a comma,
   particularly when they interrupt the sentence, as in the previous
   example.


2. Use semicolons instead of commas to separate independent clauses that are joined by a coordinating conjunction and already contain a number of commas.

   On the following day, dressed in clean chef whites, the new
   students learned to prepare vegetable stock, beef stock, and
   chicken stock; and their instructor, who was fair but strict, was
   pleased with their progress.


3. Semicolons may be used instead of commas to separate items in a series when these already contain a number of commas.

   Mystic River is the story of three friends: Sean Devine, a quiet
   child, now a state trooper and the only one of the three to go to
   college; Jimmy Markham, the leader of the group, a small-time crook
   who went straight after serving two years in prison; and Dave
   Boyle, perhaps the central figure, the boy who was kidnapped, the
   man who couldn't escape.


See Exercises 23.4 and 23.5 for practice in using semicolons.

PARENTHESES

Parentheses are used to set off words and phrases that explain or refer to something within the main sentence. The parentheses indicate that this information is less important and that the structure and meaning of the sentence are not affected. Look at these examples:

   The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate the sale
   of dietary supplements.

   Parentheses may be used like commas to set off explanatory
   information (see Chapter 31).


Parentheses are like "stage whispers" or "asides" in a play. The actor turns from the other cast members and speaks directly to the audience, often in an exaggerated whisper. While the stage whisper is intended to be heard, and sometimes contains such information as explanations of the actor's motives or of elements in the story, it is not part of the regular dialogue. Think about Romeo in the garden, listening raptly to Juliet's outpouring of desire. In an aside to the audience he wonders, "Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this?"

Punctuation marks generally fall outside the parentheses, unless they are part of the phrase inside the parentheses. Consider the following examples:

   After Barrett saw Ray (the biography of Ray Charles), he bought the
   soundtrack.

   After Barrett saw Ray (What a great movie!), he bought the
   soundtrack. brackets


Brackets are used within quotations to set off words, phrases, or explanations that were not in the original text.

   'After I saw Ray [the biography of Ray Charles]," said Barrett, "I
   bought the soundtrack."


Brackets are also used to set off explanatory words and phrases within parentheses.

Exercise 31.5 | Parentheses and Brackets

Rewrite the following sentences, adding parentheses or brackets where necessary.

1. The students developed a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point HACCP plan for the restaurant in their case study.

2. "My mom's the chef at Bistro Urbano a trendy downtown restaurant," the boy bragged to his friends.

3. Commas are also important in setting off words and phrases from the rest of the sentence see Chapter 28.

4. American Idol a reality series drew more viewers than the Olympic Games that night.

5. The company's new CEO Chief Executive Officer made it a policy to visit each department once a week.

HYPHENS

Hyphens are the short lines used within single words to form compound numbers, such as thirty-three or ninety-one, and with the prefixes all-, ex-, and self-, for example, ex-boyfriend and self-esteem. Hyphens are also used with compound adjectives, that is, adjectives that are modified by an adverb and directly precede a noun.

   The servers appreciated the well-behaved children. [hyphen
   required]


However, no hyphen is required if the adverb ends in -ly.

   The servers appreciated the surprisingly polite children. [no
   hyphen]


Note that in APA style, you would use an en dash, which is slightly longer than a hyphen, to join compound adjectives of equal weight. For example, use a hyphen for well-behaved children in the previous sentence, but use an en dash for Atlanta-Tampa flight. See Figure 31.1.

When writing by hand, use hyphens to break words at the end of a line in order to maintain an orderly margin. However, when using a word processor, turn off the auto-hyphenation feature. Set the margin to align left and press the Enter key only at the conclusion of the paragraphs; the computer will "wrap" the text automatically at the end of each line.

DASHES

Dashes--like commas--are used between words and phrases to set off a thought that interrupts the rest of the sentence. Also called em dashes, they can add a lively, conversational tone to the text but should be used sparingly in very formal academic or business writing.

   The new bakery--the one around the corner--featured an assortment
   of muffins.


Dashes may also be used like a colon to introduce additional material or to explain or rename a word or phrase in the sentence.

   In a single year, Jamie Foxx was nominated for two Oscars for two
   separate films--Ray and Collateral.


SLASHES

In formal writing contexts, slashes have some very specific uses: when citing URLs, quoting lines of poetry, offering paired alternatives, and writing certain abbreviations. See Figure 31.2.

RECIPE FOR REVIEW

COMMAS (THE HELPING HANDS)

Add a comma in the following situations:

1. Before a coordinating conjunction that joins two independent clauses

2. After an introductory subordinate clause

3. Before a nonrestrictive clause or phrase

4. After an introductory word or a phrase

5. On both sides of words, phrases, or clauses that interrupt the sentence, including words or phrases used in direct address

6. Between three or more items in a series

7. To mark the thousandth place in numbers larger than four digits (the comma is optional in four-digit numbers)

8. Between elements of a date and after the date if the sentence continues

9. Between elements of an address, except between the state and the zip code, and after the address if the sentence continues

10. Between a name and abbreviations such as MD or Jr. and after the abbreviation if the sentence continues

11. After the greeting of a personal letter and after the closing of all letters (note that the greeting of a business letter is followed by a colon)

COLONS (A PAIR OF EYES)

Add a colon in the following situations:

1. Introducing a list or quotation

2. Between related independent clauses

3. Following the greeting in a business letter

4. In expressions of time

5. Between certain parts of bibliographic citations

6. Do not use a colon in these situations:

* After the expressions for example, including, and such as

* Between a verb and the rest of the sentence

* Between a preposition and its object

SEMICOLONS (COMMA MAN IN A SEMI)

Add a semicolon in the following situations:

1. Between two independent clauses

2. Between two independent clauses that contain several commas and are joined by a coordinating conjunction

3. Between items in a series when these already contain a number of commas

PARENTHESES

1. Use parentheses to set off information that explains or refers to something within the sentence.

2. In general, place punctuation marks outside the parentheses.

BRACKETS

1. Use brackets within quotation marks to set off words, phrases, or explanations that were not in the original text.

2. Use brackets to set off explanatory words and phrases within parentheses.

HYPHENS

1. Use hyphens to form compound numbers and with the prefixes all-, ex-, and self-.

2. Use hyphens with compound adjectives before a noun, for example, a well-known recipe.

3. Use hyphens to break words at the end of a line in a handwritten text (but turn this feature off on a word processor).

4. See Figure 31.1.

DASHES

1. Use dashes to set off a thought that interrupts the rest of the sentence.

2. Use dashes to introduce additional material or to explain or rename a word or phrase in the sentence.

SLASHES

1. Use slashes when citing URLs, quoting lines of poetry, noting paired alternatives, indicating division, and representing dates and certain abbreviations.

2. See Figure 31.2.

CHAPTER QUIZ

DIRECTIONS: Rewrite the following sentences,* adding or deleting commas, colons, and semicolons as necessary. Assume all other punctuation is correct. Some sentences have more than one error.

1. While some characters in Mystic River are timid and reserved others are intense and fearless.

2. My personal favorite is, Jimmy Markham played by Sean Penn.

3. Jimmy is a loving compassionate family man but he is forced to backpedal into a life that had been forgotten a life in organized crime.

4. Markham captained a crew that included the Savage brothers and "Just Ray" Harris, it landed him directly in federal prison.

5. These painful years molded the character into what the film depicts; a powerful rugged leader, who commands loyalty.

6. However with the birth of his eldest daughter the elements of love compromise and family are created as well.

* Sentences adapted from an essay by student writer Adam McGlone. Errors were introduced to create this quiz.

7. As the film continues to unfold Jimmy Markham rises to a climactic implosion and his wrath is felt by all.

8. Jimmy's sight once transparent and clear is now opaque with rage and vengeance.

9. In the end the teachings of Katie's birth are ironically in vain Markham is forced to honor his slain daughter, by dishonorable means and actions.

10. His past is now the present and the dragon's slumber is permanently disturbed.

Figure 31.1 Using Hyphens and Dashes

      hyphen -           en dash -        minus sign -    em dash -

MLA   to form com-       N/A              N/A             to set off a
      pound numbers or                                    thought that
      adjectives                                          interrupts
                                                          the sentence

APA   to form com-       to form compo-   use a hyphen    to set off a
      pound numbers or   und adjectives   if minus sign   thought that
      adjectives (but    when words are   not available   interrupts
      see en dash); to   of equal                         the sentence
      indicate a nega-   weight
      tive number

Figure 31.2 When to Use a Slash

Use of Slash                        Example

In URLs                             http://www.imdb.com

Between lines of poetry quoted      "'Twas brillig, and the slithy
within a paragraph                  toves /Did gyre and gimble in the
                                    wabe"

Between paired alternatives         We are expecting a yes/no answer.
                                    He/she should send a resume by
                                    email.

In certain abbreviations            HIV/AIDS
                                    AFL/CIO

In fractions or division            He ate 2/3 of the apple.

In dates written with numerals      11/7/12
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Title Annotation:UNIT 3: PRESENTATION
Author:Cadbury, Vivian C.
Publication:A Taste for Writing, Composition for Culinarians
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2015
Words:4415
Previous Article:Chapter 30: Punctuation I--end marks, capitalization, apostrophes, abbreviations, numerals, italics, underlining, and quotation marks.
Next Article:Appendix A: spelling of selected culinary terms.
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