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Transcript of Punctuation
Semicolons and Colons
Semicolons create a pause stronger than that of a comma but not as strong as the full pause of a period; this shows close connections between related ideas.
Colons are used to introduce explanations or examples, as well as to separate some elements from one another.
Dashes give more emphasis than parentheses to the material they enclose
Why should you care about proper comma usage?
When do we use commas?
1. To set off introductory words, phrases, and clauses
Slowly, she became conscious of her predicament.
At the worst possible moment, my girlfriend's mom walked in.
Once again, Miley Cyrus disgusted the world with her antics.
2. To separate clauses in compound sentences
The show started at last, and the crowd grew quiet.
I look at the floor, and I see it needs sweeping.
It was a hot summer night, and the beach was burning.
3. To set off nonrestrictive elements
The two drivers, who were involved in an accident due to drunken driving, should lose their licenses.
He works at Mr. Cacciatore's, down on Sullivan Street, across from the medical center.
I called her, the girl with kaleidoscope eyes, but she answered quite slowly.
4. To separate items in a series
The long, twisting, muddy road led to a shack in the woods.
You are the dancing queen, young, sweet, and only seventeen.
5. To set off parenthetical and transitional expressions
Some studies, incidentally, have shown that chocolate, of all things, helps to prevent tooth decay.
For example, ozone is a by-product of dry cleaning.
Ozone, for example, is a by-product of dry cleaning.
Ozone is a by-product of dry cleaning, for example.
She's got a ticket to ride, you know, but she doesn't care.
6. To set off contrasting elements, interjections, direct address, and tag questions
On official business it was she, not my father, one would usually hear on the phone or in stores.
My god, isn't Louis gorgeous?
Dear Prudence, greet the brand new day.
We aren't having class next Thursday, are we?
7. With dates, addresses, titles, and numbers
Today's date is Thursday, September 12, 2013.
Portland, Oregon, is much larger than Portland, Maine.
Henry Jekyll, MD, has a very interesting night life.
The city's population rose to 158,000 in the 2000 census.
8. To set off most quotations
He said, "One and one and one is three."
"Most people assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect," said the Doctor.
9. To prevent confusion
The members of the dance troupe strutted in, in matching costumes.
When do we use colons?
My favourite meal in high school was mystery meat: a slimy concoction of yesterday's left overs, whatever was freezer burnt, and chunks of hot dogs.
2. Introducing a series, a list, or a quotation
For my birthday yesterday, I had three different cakes: carrot cake with butter cream frosting, cookies and cream ice cream cake, and tie-dye cake with purple icing.
3. Separating elements
Salutations in formal letters
Dear Professor Grippi:
Hours, minutes, and seconds
Titles and subtitles
The Joy of Insight: Passions of a Physicist
When do we use semicolons?
1. To link independent clauses
The man handed me an ice cream cone; he had hairy knuckles.
She's not afraid of all the attention; she's not afraid of running wild.
For a smile they can share the night; it goes on and on.
2. To separate items in a series containing other punctuation (the super comma)
Dublin, Ireland; London, England; Cologne, Germany; and Edinburgh, Scotland are all places I hope to visit within the next five years.
1. Emphasizing explanatory material
Several of the show's characters -- such as Princess Bubblegum -- portray human characteristics, but are decidedly not human.
1. Introducing an explanation, an example, or an appositive
2. Emphasizing material at the end of a sentence
In the twentieth century it has become almost impossible to moralize about epidemics --except those which are transmitted sexually.
3. Making a sudden change in tone
New York is a catastrophe -- but a magnificent catastrophe
4. Indicating hesitation in speech
As the officer approached his car, the driver stammered, "What -- what have I done?"
5. Introducing a summary or explanation
College students spend an average of four hours doing homework every night -- three hours of actual work and one hour of Facebook.