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ACT English-UM Punctuation

Commas, Apostrophes, Semi-Colons, Colons, Dashes and Parentheses

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Transcript of ACT English-UM Punctuation

Apostrophes primarily indicate possession, but they also take place of omitted letters in contractions.
The main functions of a semicolon that you should know for the ACT are its ability to join related independent clauses and use in a series.
Things to Remember
There are many ways punctuation is used, but the ACT only tests the ways we just went over.
Practice Question
The tree
frog for example blends
perfectly into its surroundings.

Misplaced, misused, and missing commas are the most frequent punctuation offenders on the English Test.
1. Separate the elements in a series
2. Use a comma plus a little conjunction to seperate independent clauses
3. Use to set off introductory elements
4. Use to set of parenthetical elements
5. Use to separate coordinate adjectives
6. Use to set off quoted elements
He hit the ball, dropped the bat, and ran to first base.
He hit the ball well, but he ran toward 3rd base.
Scared of ghosts, Sarah never went to Haunted Houses.
My brother, who loves soccer, wants to be a history teacher.
Pat liked warm, soft, breezy nights.
"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many things."
1. The Possessive and Singular Nouns
2. The Possessive and Plural Nouns
3. The Possessive and Multiple Nouns
4. The Possessive and Pronouns
We removed the bottle's label.
We removed the bottles' labels.
Nick and Nora's dog solves crimes.
Dan's and Joann's socks are dirty.
The dog chews on its tail.
1. The Semicolon and Two Independent Clauses
2. The Semicolon and the Series: When the Comma's Already Taken
Roxanne ate five brownies;Mackenzie ate seven.
The tennis tournament featured the surprising comeback player, Eric, who dropped out last year due to injuries; the up and coming Tim, who dominated the junior tour; and the current favorite, John, who won the last five tournaments.
Identify the issue:
A. No Change
B. frog, for example blends
C. frog, for example, blends
D. frog for example, blends
Remember that on the ACT it is more common to remove commas (or refrain from putting them in) than it is to ever insert a comma.
When in doubt, take the comma out.
The most clear and concise answer is the best answer. This is often the shortest answer.
comma-"for example" is a parenthetical element
Colons are used to introduce lists, explanations and quotations.
1. Place a colon after an independent clause to introduce a list or illustration.
Bring these items to the ACT: an admission ticket, pencils, erasers, and a watch.
There is only one necessary personal trait: perseverance.
2. Place a colon before a quote when you have an independent clause.
The student's comment best summarized the school year: "This was the best year of my life."
Parentheses & Dashes
Use Parentheses or dashes to break up explanatory information in a sentence or to separate it in a sentence.
usually surround works or phrases that break a sentence's train of thought, but provide explanatory information for it.
Their road trip (which they made in a convertible) lasted three weeks and spanned fourteen states

Dashes function similarly to parentheses. Dashes indicate either an abrupt break in thought or an insertion of additional, explanatory information.
He walked slowly - with his lame leg he couldn't go much faster - that even his neighbor's toddler eventually overtook him.

I don't have the hear to refuse a friend's request for help -do you?
Hint: We use parentheses and dashes the same way that we use commas to separate non-essential information from the rest of the sentence.
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