Методичні рекомендації з письмової практики: пунктуація та механіка методические рекомендации по письменной практике: пунктуация и механика для студентів старших курсів icon

Методичні рекомендації з письмової практики: пунктуація та механіка методические рекомендации по письменной практике: пунктуация и механика для студентів старших курсів

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Київський державний лінгвістичний університет

Киевский государственный лингвистический университет



(для студентів старших курсів
факультету англійської мови)

(для студентов старших курсов
факультета английского языка)

Сканирование, распознавание, вычитка:
Корректор, август 2004 г.

Для некоммерческих целей.

Видавничий центр КДЛУ

Методичні рекомендації з письмової практики: пунктуація та механіка (для студентів старших курсів факультету англійської мови)/ Укл.: Г.В. Чеснокова. - К.: Вид. центр КДЛУ, 2000. - 61с.

Методические рекомендации по письменной практике: пунктуация та механика (для студентов старших курсов факультета английского языка)/ Сост.: Г.В. Чеснокова. - К.: Изд. центр КГЛУ, 2000. – 61 с.

Методичні рекомендації з письмової практики: пунктуація та механіка (для студентів старших курсів факультету англійської мови) включають основні правила та різноманітні завдання для отримання студентами навичок вірного вжитку розділових знаків та інших графічних способів змістовного членування висловлювань в англійській мові.

Для студентів старших курсів факультету англійської мови.

Методические рекомендации по письменной практике: пунктуация и механика (для студентов старших курсов факультета английского языка) включают основные правила та разнообразные задания для получения студентами навыков верного употребления разделительных знаков и других графических способів смыслового членения выражений в английском языке.


кандидат філологічних наук, ст. викл. Чеснокова Г.В.


кандидат филологических наук, ст. преп. Чеснокова Г.В.

Рецензенти: кандидат філологічних наук, доц. Безкровна Л.М. кандидат філологічних наук, доц. Дубенко О.Ю.

Затверджено вченою радою Київського державного лінгвістичного університету 27 грудня 1999 р.; протокол № 5

© Г.Чеснокова, 2000


The guide we suggest is more of a practical source. The first part of it illustrates the uses of punctuation marks. By giving sentences from prominent writers for both examples and exercises, we hope to show the full range of possibilities for punctuation in contemporary writing. If you study the examples carefully, you will gain understanding of how to use each punctuation mark in your own writing. Besides learning how to use punctuation correctly, you will see how punctuation can give you the freedom to write new kinds of sentences and express ideas in more effective ways.

Surely, there is one supreme rule: that punctuation is best which best serves to make writing subtle, supple, delicate, nuanced and efficient. Of course you can write using only periods and commas for punctuation. You can cook using only salt and pepper for seasoning. But why do it when there are so many seasonings pleasing to a mature palate? -George Will

The second part of the guide is dedicated to mechanics - conventional rules such as the one requiring capitalisation or the first word of a sentence. You need to follow the conventions so that your writing will look the way formal writing is expected to look.

Finally, the book is followed by the appendix which is a compact reference guide aiming to help students understand the corrections made by the instructor.


The purpose of punctuation is to help make clear the meaning of printed or written language.

Correct punctuation is based, in varying degrees, on three things: (1) thought or meaning, (2) the structural patterns of the sentence, (3) the conventions of the age. The practice of writers may be codified into a number of rules or principles. These rules or principles govern a very large number of typical situations in writing. At times, certain marks are optional, depending on the decisions of publishers or on levels of usage; on the whole, however, a university student will succeed if he or she follows codified usage. When in doubt, one can always resort to common sense.


Using the Period

Periods are used to mark the end of a declarative sentence, a mild command, or an indirect question: e.g. I wish I owned a couple of acres of land now, in which case I

would not be writing autobiographies for a living. -Mark Twain

Please do not smoke.

Junior asked Susanna whether she wanted any more pancakes.

Periods are used to mark the end of some abbreviations:

Titles Mr., Capt., Hon., Ms.

Degrees B.A., Ph.D., M.D., B.Sc.

States Calif., N.Y., Tex. (But not in postal abbreviations - CA,


Names of Political U.K., U.S.A., C.I.S. Entities:

Months Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec.

Names T. S. Eliot, John F. Kennedy

Other Uses A.M., B.C., A.D., vol., St., Ave.

Generally, you don't need periods with acronyms (pronounceable words, such as UNESCO, WHO, formed from the initial letters of a multiword title), with capital-letter abbreviations of technical terms, or with abbreviated names of agencies and organisations:





Periods are used to mark letters or numerals used in vertical lists:

e.g. Woven into the history of the human race is the history of its four great religions: 1. Buddhism

2. Judaism

  1. Christianity

  2. Islam

Periods are not used after another period or other end mark:

e.g. To please our customers, we have ordered scarce materials from Home Supplies Company, Inc.

We don't want customers saying, "Why don't you have what I want?" Please give me a wake-up call at 6:00 A.M.


Use the periods correctly:

  1. The instructor asked when Plato wrote The Republic?

  2. Give the date within one century

  3. The exact date is not known, but it is thought to be around 370 BC.

  4. Dr Arn will lecture on Plato at 7:30 PM.

  5. The area of the lecture hall is only 1600 sq ft.

Using the Question Mark

A question mark is used to mark the end of a direct question: e.g. Would you feel better as someone else? -Alice Walker

A question mark is used to indicate uncertainty within a statement: e.g. Socrates (470?-399 B.C.), the Greek philosopher and teacher, was

condemned to death for his unpopular ideas.

Note: Don't use a question mark within parentheses to express sarcasm or irony. Express these attitudes through sentence structure and diction:

Faulty *Her friendly (?) criticism did not escape notice.1

Revised Her criticism, too rough to be genuinely friendly,

did not escape notice.


Revise the following sentences so that question marks (along with other

punctuation marks) are used correctly.

  1. In Homer's Odyssey, Ulysses took seven years to travel from Troy to Ithaca. Or was it eight years. Or more?

  2. Ulysses must have wondered whether he would ever make it home?

1 A star marks an unacceptable utterance.


  1. "What man are you and whence?," asks Ulysses's wife, Penelope.

  2. Why does Penelope ask, "Where is your city? Your parents?"?

  3. Penelope does not recognise Ulysses and asks who this stranger is?

Using the Exclamation Point

The exclamation point is used to mark an expression of strong feeling:

e.g. Poor Columbus! He is a minor character now, a walk-on in the middle of American history. -Frances FitzGerald

Because exclamation points make a special appeal to the reader, you should use them sparingly. If oh introduces an expression of strong feeling, put the exclamation point at the end of the expression. Never use more than one exclamation point after an exclamation:

e.g. Oh, this is unspeakable!

"Great guns!" he shouted in consternation.


Revise the following sentences so that exclamation points (along with other punctuation marks) are used correctly. If a sentence is punctuated correctly, circle the number preceding it.

  1. As the firefighters moved their equipment into place, the police shouted, "Move back!."

  2. A child's cries could be heard from above: "Help me. Help."

  3. When the child was rescued, the crowd called "Hooray."

  4. The rescue was the most exciting event of the day!

  5. Let me tell you about it.


Insert appropriate punctuation (periods, question marks, or exclamation points) where needed in the following paragraph.

When visitors first arrive in Hawaii, they often encounter an unexpected language barrier Standard English is the language of business and government, but many of the people speak Pidgin English Instead of an excited "Aloha" the visitors may by greeted with an excited Pidgin "Howzit" or asked if they know "how fo' find one good hotel" Many Hawaiians question whether Pidgin will hold children back because it prevents communication with the haoles, or Caucasians, who run businesses Yet many others feel that Pidgin is a last defense of ethnic diversity on the islands To those who want to make standard English the official language of the state, the Hawaiians may respond, "Just 'cause I speak Pidgin no mean I dumb" They may ask, "Why you no listen" or, in standard English, "Why don't you listen"


^ 1.2. THE COMMA

The comma is the most frequently used internal mark of punctuation. Of all the marks of punctuation, it has the widest variety of uses.

Using Commas with Dates, Addresses, Greetings, Names, and Large Numbers

Commas are used with full dates (month, day, and year) but are omitted with partial dates (month and year):

e.g. Gas had first been used by the Germans on October 27, 1914,

when they fired a prototype of modern tear gas from an artillery near Ypres. -Paul Fussell

In June 1985 Beth Henley was working on her fifth play. Exceptions: No comma is used to separate parts of a date that begins with

the day:

e.g. The atomic bomb was first dropped on 6 August 1945.

Commas are required between most of the elements in place names and addresses:

e.g. Miami, Dade County, Florida

Writing Lab, University of California, Riverside

Exceptions: Do not use a comma to separate a street number from the name of the street: e.g. 15 Amsterdam Avenue

Do not use a comma to separate a state from zip code: e.g. 5625 Waverly Avenue, La Jolla, California 92037

In a complete sentence, a comma must follow the last element of place names, addresses, or dates:

e.g. He shot himself twice, once in the chest and then in the head, in a police station in Washington, D.C., with the cops looking on. -Red Smith

July 4, 1776, was the day the Declaration of Independence was signed.

Commas are used to set off the names of someone directly addressed in a sentence:

e.g. A few weeks ago, Mr. Taplow, I spoke to you on the telephone about the possibility of a summer job.

Commas are used after the greeting in a friendly or informal letter, and after the closing in a letter of any kind: e.g. Dear Mary,

Dear Uncle Paul, Sincerely, Yours truly, 7

Commas are used to set off titles or degrees after a person's name:

e.g. Barbara Kane, M.D., delivered the commencement address.

But Jr., Sr., and /// may be written without commas: e.g. Sammy Davis Jr. Started his singing career at age four.

Oliver III glanced across at me.

The comma is used after the last part of a proper name when the last part comes first: e.g. Lunt, George D.

Commas are used to mark groups of three digits in large numbers, counting from the right:

e.g. Antarctica is 5,400,000 square miles of ice-covered land.


In the following sentences, insert any commas needed with dates, place names, addresses, and large numbers.

  1. The earthquake of October 9, 1871 whose epicenter was near Wilmington Delaware delivered what for this area was the most intense earth shock in historical times. -John McPhee

  2. I was in New Orleans when Louisiana seceded from the Union, January 26 1861 and I started north the next day. -Mark Twain

  3. She lost her father, William Thomas Bishop, eight months after her birth on February 8, 1911 in Worcester Massachusetts. -Robert Giroux on Elizabeth Bishop

  4. On the morning of June 5, 1962 the Queen Elizabeth brought my wife and me from Cherbourg to New York for the film premiere of Lolita. -Vladimir Nabokov

  5. Miss Davis was born on April 2 1908 in Lowell Massachusetts in a gray clapboard house built on Chester Street by her grandfather Favor, who was descended from fighting Huguenots and was himself a belligerent abolitionist. -Janet Planner on Bette Davis

  6. The new assembly plant cost $7 525 000 by the time it was completed.

^ Using Commas with Conjunctions

The comma is used before a conjunction (and, but, for, or, nor, so, yet) linking two or more independent clauses:

e.g. Canadians watch America closely, but most Americans know little about Canada.

Cowards never started on the long trek west, and the weak died along the way.

Note: Some very brief independent clauses may not require a comma.


e.g. We dickered and then we made a deal. -Red Smith

I have seen the future and I'm tired of it. — Gerald Nachman ^ If one or both of the independent clauses have internal punctuation

(especially commas), a writer might choose to separate the two clauses with a semicolon and a coordinating conjunction so that the reader can easily see the main division in the sentence.

e.g. Genetically, we are nearly identical to mankind fifty thousand years ago; and some of us delight in the continuity represented by this, while others may be appalled. -Edward Hoagland


In the following sentences, underline the coordinating conjunctions and insert a comma in the right place.

1. Children have never been very good at listening to their elders but they have never failed to imitate them. -James Baldwin

2. I was now twelve years old and the thought of being a slave for life began to bear heavily on my heart. — Frederick Douglass

  1. The Closerie des Lilas was the nearest good cafe when we lived in the flat over the sawmill at 113 rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs and it was one of the best cafes in Paris. -Ernest Hemingway

  2. One might argue that Carpenter had mishandled the re-entry but to accuse him of panic made no sense in light of the telemetered data concerning his heart rate and his respiratory rate. -Tom Wolfe

  3. People put up with less rockiness in a marriage now and the opportunity to dissolve a bad marriage in a rather easy fashion tips plenty of marriages that are not nearly all that bad into court. -Edward Hoagland

The comma alone should not be used between two independent clauses (the comma splice):

e.g. The beams have rotted: they can no longer support the roof.

[or] The beams have rotted, so they can no longer support the roof. [or] Since the beams have rotted, they can no longer support the roof.

"I plan to travel to England," my friend said happily. "I want to visit Shakespeare's birthplace."

When a conjunctive adverb joins the independent clauses in a compound sentence, it is preceded by a semicolon:

e.g. Petra was absent on Friday; consequently, she missed the chemistry test.

Note: The use of a comma to join coordinate clauses is more common in novels, stories, and some types of journalistic writing than it is in serious expository


prose. Although it is hard to make general statements here, it is safe to say that this practice is the exception, not the rule.

In serious discussions - with which we are primarily concerned here - the comma is used by most writers to join coordinate clauses in the following situation:

• When the series of statements takes the form of a climax: e.g. I came, I saw, I conquered.

The leaves are turning to gold, squirrels are fattening, hunting time is near.

• When the statements form an antithesis, or are arranged in the "it was not merely this, it was also that" formula:

e.g. It was more than an annoyance, it was a pang. -Winston S. Churchill To allow the Mahdi to enter Khartoum would not merely mean to return the whole of the Sudan to barbarism, it would be a menace to the safety of Egypt herself. - Lytton Strachey


Identify the errors in the sentences that follow. Any sentence that is incorrect contains no more than one error.

  1. "Answer only the first five questions," he said, "The testing time is extremely limited."

  2. We will leave for Japan immediately, therefore, we will complete that project in the fall.

  3. "The next chapter is easy," said the teacher, "The main ideas are clearly marked."

  4. Our friend from Oregon visited our family recently; however, he left early, for he wanted to travel throughout New England.

  5. "The nine o'clock class has been cancelled," said the teacher. "It has been rescheduled for a later time."

  6. "Why are you crying?" she asked, "Are you lost?"

  7. No one expected her to become a numismatist, she had never been interested in coins.

  8. When you finish your homework, please read that novel, it is a science fiction story with a horrifying ending.

  9. The children, who were playing innocently in the park, saw the accident, however, they were too frightened to relate the details of the mishap.

10. George arrived in New Jersey on Tuesday, therefore, he visited his cousins in Passaic.

11. The plane left Boston on schedule, it arrived in New York very late because of a snow storm.

12. "Please open the door," she cried, "I cannot walk a step farther tonight."

13. She left early; however, she arrived late.


Using Commas with Coordinate Items in a Series

Commas are used to separate three or more items in a series, including the last two items when they are joined by a coordinating conjunction. e.g. Brood-canopied green, orange, purple, and red umbrellas shield produce from the sun. -John McPhee

She loved life, liberty, and the happiness of being pursued. It is at this point of the conjunction, that usage differs. Some writers omit the comma before the final item in the series if the item is preceded by a conjunction. This omission is acceptable if it does not cause any confusion. In informal writing there is a progressive tendency to discard the comma before the conjunction, except for clearness, as the writing grows less formal. In journalistic writing, the comma is regularly omitted. To avoid possible misreadings, however, it is a good idea not to omit this comma. e.g. I would hold my laugh, bite my tongue, grit my teeth and seriously erase even the touch of a smile from my face. -Maya Angelou The comma should not be used before a conjunction within a series of just two items: e.g. The manager was genial but shrewd.

She checked my weekly sales and asked to speak with me.

Exception: You may use a comma to set off a contrasting phrase:

e.g. She liked running her own business, but not working on week-ends.

Sometimes writers will use a series that has no coordinating conjunction between the last two items.

e.g. Now she stops, turns, glowers. -John McPhee

Only the very young and the very old may recount their dreams at breakfast, dwell upon self, interrupt with memories of beach picnics and favorite Liberty lawn dresses and the rainbow trout in a creek near Colorado Springs. -Joan Didion

Commas are not required if the items in the series are all joined by coordinating conjunctions.

e.g. I'd like to be considered good and honest and reasonably accurate. -Red Smith on sports writing


Insert commas as necessary to separate items in series in the following sentences.

  1. Our fire escapes were densely inhabited by mops short lines of washed socks geranium plants boxes of seltzer bottles and occasional dramatic scenes. -Kate Simon

  2. Meteorologists were commissioned to make detailed portraits of New Jersey's coastal temperatures humidity precipitation fogs thunderstorms tornado potentialities and "probable maximum hurricanes." -John McPhee


  1. She had no confidence in books written in English paid almost nothing for them and sold them for a small and quick profit. -Ernest Hemingway on Sylvia Beach

  2. It used to be understood that no matter how low your estimate of the public intelligence was how greedily you courted success or how much you debased your material in order to popularise it, you nevertheless tried to give the audience something. -Pauline Kael on contemporary movies

Commas are used between coordinate adjectives but are not used between noncoordinate adjectives. In your own sentences with adjective series, you can apply two tests to determine whether the adjectives are coordinate: The adjectives are coordinate and should be separated by commas if you can reorder the adjectives without changing the meaning, or if the word and can be inserted between the adjectives without changing the meaning. e.g. I was a very shy, timid kid. -Red Smith

The Committee room was almost empty except for a few elderly, small-faced ladies sitting in the rear. -Lillian Hellman The smithy stood under the spreading chestnut tree. In the phrase shy, timid kid, you can reorder the adjectives to timid, shy kid without changing the meaning; and you can also join them with and (shy and timid kid). Therefore, you would put a comma between the two adjectives.

A safe practice is to omit the comma with numerals and with the common adjectives of size and age: e.g. The little old lady

A large red-haired girl Four tiny black dogs

Commas can be used to set off adjectives in special ways. Many contemporary writers use adjectives somewhat more freely than the examples shown indicate. They may let adjectives follow the nouns they modify, or they may separate them from the nouns (still within the same sentence). Or, they may place adjectives before the noun but set them off in some way. The result is a particularly modern rhythm. This rhythm is marked by commas. e.g. It was a Texas barbecue, Houston-style. -Tom Wolfe

The few girls who managed it were never quite the same again, a little more defiant, a little more impudent. -Kate Simon I remember the emeralds in shop window, lying casually in trays, all of them oddly pale at the center, somehow watered, cold at the very heart where one expects the fire. -Joan Didion



Insert commas in the following sentences:

  1. He felt cut off from them by age by understanding by sensibility by technology and by his need to measure himself against the mirror of other men's appreciation. -Ralph Ellison

  2. The ox was solid black stood five feet high at the shoulder had a five-foot span of horns and must have weighed 1,200 pounds on the hoof. -Richard B. Lee

  3. Nothing is more essential to intelligent profitable reading than sensitivity to connotation. -Richard Altick

  4. She was wearing a full-skirted low-cut velvet gown.

  5. Under the circumstances, only an intelligent discreet and experienced official should be assigned to the case.

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