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Punctuation: Sentence and Independent Clauses Example

By bverbik Oct 14, 2013 1270 Words
ACT ENGLISH NOTES
Punctuation Rules

COMMAS
Use when…
Use a comma with a coordinating conjunction to separate independent clauses within a sentence. Example: Jenny sings in the choir, and she plays the guitar in a rock band. Use a comma to separate elements that introduce and modify a sentence. Example: Yesterday, I painted the entire garage.

Use a comma before and after a parenthetical expression.
Parenthetical expression – a phrase that is inserted into a writer’s train of thought Example: Stephanie’s decision, in my opinion, was not in her best interest. Use a comma to separate an appositive from a clause.

Appositive – a noun or phrase that renames the noun that precedes it. Example: My brother, a well – respected scientist, made an important discovery. Use a comma to set off interjections.
Example: Well, it’s about time that you got here.
Use a comma to separate coordinate adjectives.
If two adjectives modify a noun in the same way, they are called coordinate adjectives. Coordinate adjectives can also be joined with the coordinating conjunction and instead of a comma. Example: We walked the long, dusty road to the abandoned farm. OR: We walked the long and dusty road to the abandoned farm. Use a comma to set off nonrestrictive phrases and clauses.

Nonrestrictive phrase: can be omitted from a clause without changing the meaning of he clause. Nonrestrictive clauses are useful because they can modify the nouns that they follow. Example: My sister’s dog, a brown and white terrier, barks at me whenever I visit. Use a comma to separate elements in a list or series.

Example: Jill decided to purchase a leash, a collar, and a water dish for her dog. Use a comma in dates, addresses, place names, number, and quotations. Example: Mary is leaving for Jamaica on Monday, February 19, 2007. Example: The Library of Congress is located at 101 Independence Avenue, Washington, D.C, USA. Example: “My sister is a nurse,” Becky said proudly.

Do NOT use a comma:
To separate a subject from a verb
Example: My cousin Mary walked down to the corner. NOT – My cousin Mary, walked down to the corner. To separate an adjective from the word it modifies.
Example: The pretty girl sat in front of me on the bus. NOT – The pretty, girl sat in from of me on the bus. Before a coordinate conjunction that is NOT joining independent clauses Example: Before he goes to bed, Jeff likes to relax on his couch and listen to music. NOT – Before he goes to bed, Jeff likes to relax on his couch, and listen to music. In this sentence, the coordinating conjunction “and” is joining the verb phrases “relax on his couch” and “listen to music.” These are not independent clauses because they lack a subject. To separate two independent clauses; aka a common – splice. Example: I plan to attend a liberal arts college. My parents want me to get a well – rounded education. NOT – I plan to attend a liberal arts college, my parents want me to get a well – rounded education. Could be fixed also by using a conjunction, “I plan to attend a liberal arts college, as my parents want me to get a well – rounded education.” A semicolon would also be appropriate in place of the period in the first sentence. Apostrophes

Use when…
Use an apostrophe with s to form the possessive singular nouns, plural nouns that do not end in s, or indefinite pronouns that do not end in s. Example: My friend’s house is at the end of the street.

Use an apostrophe to form the possessive of plural nouns ending in s. Example: The horses’ stalls were filled with straw.
Use an apostrophe with the last noun in a series to indicate joint possession. Example: Frank and Ruth’s anniversary is in September.
Add and apostrophe to all nouns to indicate individual possession. Example: Brian’s, Jason’s, and Michael’s computers were stolen. Add an apostrophe to indicate contractions.
Example: It’s raining outside again.
Note: phrases such as “should of,” “could of,” and “would of,” are NEVER correct in Standard English Language. (see this on ACT). Add an apostrophe to form the plural of letters and number.
Example: Did you dot your i’s and cross you t’s?
Do NOT use apostrophes with possessive pronouns.
Example: The car with the flat tire is ours. NOT – The car with the flat tire is our’s. Colons and Semicolons
A colon is used before a list or after an independent clause that is followed by information that directly modifies or adds to the clause. An independent clause can stand alone as a complete sentence. A semicolon is used to join closely related independent clauses when a coordinate conjunction is not used, with conjunctive adverbs to join main clauses, to separate items in a series that contains commas, and to separate coordinate clauses when they are joined by transitional words or phrases. Use when…

Use a colon before a list.
Example: We are required to bring the following items to camp: a sleeping bag, a pillow, an alarm clock, clothes, and personal care items. Use a colon after an independent clause that is followed by information that directly modifies or adds to the clause. Example: Jennifer encountered a problem that she had not anticipated: a power outage. Colons can be used before direct quotations, after salutations in business, correspondence, and between titles and subtitles. Example: Captain John Paul Jones said: “I have not yet begun to fight.” Use a semicolon to join closely related independent clauses when a coordinate conjunction is used. Example: Jane starts a new job today; she is very excited.

Use a semicolon with conjunctive adverbs to join independent clauses. Example: Martha is interested in taking the class; however, it does not suit her schedule. Use semicolons in a series to separate elements containing commas. Example: The art museum contained some fragile, old oil paintings; bronze, plaster, and marble statues; and recently completed modern art pieces. Use a semicolon to separate coordinate clauses when they are joined by transitional words or phrases. When a sentence contains more than one clause, each of which is considered to be equally as important as the other, the clauses are called coordinate clauses They are typically joined by a coordinating conjunction

When the coordinating conjunction is not used, a semicolon should be Example: My sister and I enjoyed to play; afterwards, we stopped for an ice cream cone. OR My sister and I enjoyed the play, and afterwards, we stopped for an ice cream cone. Parentheses and Dashes

Parentheses are used to enclose supplemental information that in not essential to the meaning of the sentence. Dashes are used to place special emphasis on a word or phrase within a sentence. Use when…

Use parentheses to enclose explanatory or secondary supporting details. Example: In addition to serving as Class Treasurer (a challenging job), she was also a national Merit Scholar. Use dashes in place of parentheses to place special emphasis on certain words or phrases. Example: Dr. Evans-a noted scientist and educator-spoke at our commencement ceremony. Periods, Question Marks, and Exclamation points

Periods, question marks, and exclamation points are considered end punctuation, which means that they should be used at the end of a sentence. Use when…
Use a period to end most sentences.
Example: Scott enrolled in classes at the university.
Use a question mark to end a direct question.
Example: Do you think it will rain today?
Use an exclamation point to end an emphatic statement.
Example: Please don’t leave your vehicle unattended!

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