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Simple Punctuation Guide

Punctuation means making points. It means putting the right kind of points in the right place so as to mark the exact length and meaning of sentences. Proper punctuation is essential in written English to enable the reader to understand what it is you are trying to say. Spacing with punctuation is also important to make your writing readable. Here are some English punctuation rules. Common Punctuation Marks . full stop (period USA) , comma ' apostrophe ! exclamation mark : colon " " quotation marks ? question mark ; semi colon - hyphen Apostrophes ['] Apostrophes next to the letter ('s) indicate possession or belonging. No space is needed before or after the apostrophe. For example:This is Lynne's web site. They are also used to show missing letters in shortened words, especially in informal writing. No space is needed before or after the apostrophe. For example:It's a nice day today, isn't it? I've got an idea. Let's go out. Exclamation marks [!] Exclamation marks act as a full stop. An exclamation mark is most often used to show shock, surprise, horror or pleasure. As with full stops you do not put a space before an exclamation mark, but you do need at least one space after one (two spaces for purists). There's an increasing tendency to overuse them on the internet. Stick to the rule of one exclamation mark per sentence. For example:Oh! Wow! Brilliant! etc... It was schocking! Commas [,] Commas point out brief pauses in a complex sentence or separate items in long lists. They are useful for breaking up long sentences, but only to show a natural break. You do not put a space before a comma, but you do need a space after one. For example:There were a lot of people in the room, teachers, students and parents. The teachers were sitting, the students were listening and the parents were just worrying.

You do not put a space before a full stop. 'unless' or 'while'. or to divide words into parts." Full stops [. For example:My name is Lynne. As with full stops you do not put a space before a question mark. You do not put a space before a semicolon. For example:"I'm looking forward to our next lesson. isn't it? Semicolons [. You do not put a space before a colon. Hyphens [-] Hyphens are used to connect words or syllables. but in these days of computers and e-mails one space is fine)." Quotation marks (Speech marks) | Double quotes [" "] Single quotes [ ' ' ] Quotation marks (single or double) are used to show words that are directly spoken (direct speech). an explanation or an example. 'since'. I am a teacher. Only the words actually being quoted are enclosed by speech marks.!Note . For example:Is my name Lynne? Of course it is. Colons [:] Colons precede a list.we don't usually put a comma before the word and. 'because'. You need a space . but you do need a space after one.] Semicolons are used to separate two sentences that would otherwise be joined with a word such as 'and'. but you do need a space after one. but you do need at least one space after one (two spaces for purists. For example:"There are two main shopping areas in Nottingham: Broadmarsh Centre and Victoria Centre. but you do need at least one space after one (two spaces for purists). For example:It's a nice day. For example:There were ninety-nine red balloons. You need a question mark at the end of tag questions too.] Full stops (periods in the USA) go at the end of sentences that are statements. I'm sure it will be a lot of fun. Question marks [?] Question marks go at the end of sentences that are questions. You don't use a space on either side of a hyphen.

"whether people will ever truly understand each other. Another general rule is to use a comma after the introduction to quoted speech or writing. and a space after the closing one. Spot the difference:"I don't understand.before the opening speech mark. For example:"I wonder. Nathan asked. Commas are used to separate the spoken part from the rest of the sentence. "I don't understand. For example:Jamie said. but no space after it. "Do you understand?" "I don't understand!" shouted Nathan. The speech marks must then be placed at the beginning and end of each part of the sentence." said the teacher. For example:"Could everyone sit down please. "I love you. but no space before it." However if you need a question mark or exclamation mark the markers that punctuate the quoted words are enclosed by the speech marks." she said quietly. "I don't understand!" A brief note from history When Alexander Dumas completed his sequel to 'The Three Musketeers'. Nathan shouted." "Do you understand?" asked Nathan. Nathan replied." Sometimes when writing a spoken sentence it is split in two. he sent the manuscript to his publishers. After a few weeks he had heard nothing and wrote a short note:Dear Henri ? Alexandre He received the reply:Dear Alexandre !! Henri ." replied Nathan.

For example: The boy climbed a tree. The sentence becomes more interesting as it gives the reader or listener more information. A sentence contains or implies a predicate and a subject. you can add an adjective. Simple sentences have one clause. Alters the meaning of the verb slightly a. Compound sentences and complex sentences have two or more clauses. There are more things you can add to enrich your sentence. Parts of a sentence Adjective Adverb Article Describes things or people. an . For example: The young boy climbed a tall tree. Sentences can contain subjects and objects. question mark (?) or exclamation mark (!). the object comes after the verb. If you want to say more about how he climbed the tree you can use an adverb. For example: The young boy quickly climbed a tall tree. The object in a sentence is involved in an action but does not carry it out. If you want to say more about the subject (the boy) or the object (the tree).indefinite articles Description . The subject in a sentence is generally the person or thing carrying out an action.). Sentences contain clauses.Building a sentence A sentence is a group of words which starts with a capital letter and ends with a full stop (.

the words are the bones and they are put together in different ways to form sentences. Any independent clause can stand alone as a sentence.it contains only an independent (main) clause. adverbs. or several verbs with a conjunction. For example:  Jill reads. . Simple Sentences A simple sentence contains a single subject and predicate. the skeleton contains various bones and these bones are put together to form different parts of the body. Even the addition of adjectives. It has a subject and a verb and expresses a complete thought.definite articles Conjunction Interjection Noun Preposition Pronoun Proper noun (subject) Verb Joins words or sentences together A short word showing emotion or feeling Names things Relates one thing to another used instead of a noun to avoid repetition The actual names of people or places etc. For example:  The brown dog with the red collar always barks loudly.the . and has only one verb . So are sentences formed by words. Even if you join several nouns with a conjunction. it remains a simple sentence. and prepositional phrases to a simple sentence does not change it into a complex sentence. idea or question. Action or doing word For example: What makes a complete sentence? If it helps you. It describes only one thing. think about a sentence as if it were a skeleton.

it is the word that joins the two clauses together. Compound Sentences Compound sentences are made up of two or more simple sentences combined using a conjunction such as and. For example: "The sun was setting in the west." Dependent clauses can be nominal. or. For example: "My mother likes dogs that don't bark. an independent clause (that can stand by itself) and a dependent (subordinate) clause (which cannot stand by itself). A coordinating conjunction goes in the middle of the sentence. the most common are (and. but) For example:    I walked to the shops. I might watch the film. They are made up of more than one independent clause joined together with a co-ordinating conjunction. They are made up of more than one clause. The moon was just rising." Every clause is like a sentence with a subject and a verb. or or but. . My friend enjoyed the film. or I might visit my friends. adverbial or adjectival. but my husband drove. but she didn't like the actor. Complex Sentences Complex sentences describe more than one thing or idea and have more than one verb in them. For example: "The sun was setting in the west and the moon was just rising." Each clause can stand alone as a sentence.For example:  The dog barked and growled loudly.

there are only a limited number of different verb patterns. It is important to have a good knowledge of the forms used after each verb (verb patterns). depends very much on the verb. and smells.The anatomy of a sentence The Verb The verb is the fundamental part of the sentence. is. Finding the Verb When you analyze a sentence. an infinitive with 'to'. explained later). and. Fortunately. been. was. appear." The verb "are" is a linking (be) verb. looks. were. first identify the verb. are. The verb names and asserts the action or state of the sentence. STATE: David works in a bank. called BE VERBS or LINKING VERBS. an object for the verb you substitute for DO. with the exception of the subject. include words such as: am. and sometimes verbs of the senses like tastes. depending on the context. Verbs can descibe the action (something the subject actually does) or state (something that is true of the subject) of the subject. For example:   ACTION: I play football twice a week. . The rest of the sentence. For example:  "Beer and wine are my favourite drinks. Such verbs. being. hears. For example:  "Working at the computer all day made David's head ache. for example: to tell [someone] TO DO [something] Here we can see that the verb to tell is followed immediately by a person (the indirect object. Verbs also show a state of being. For example work:   ACTION: David's working in the bank." The main verb of the sentence is "made". possibly. Some verbs can represent both actions and states. feels. STATE: I've got a car. be. became. seem. not working.

. The subject(s) of a sentence will answer the questions. o What "are my favourite drinks"? Beer and wine are=the subjects. that modify it) followed by a verb. shout. jump." The Predicate Once you have identified the subject. o Who "works hard"?=David does=the subject. o "Michael Schumaker" is the subject. Often (but not always) it will be the first part of the sentence. This will locate the subject(s). "drove the race car" is the predicate.. the remainder of the sentence tells us what the subject does or did. think. The subject will usually be a noun phrase (a noun and the words. . run. The predicate always includes the verb and the words which come after the verb. study.? question of the verb. For example:  Michael Schumaker drove the race car. For example:   David works hard.Verbs identify our activity or state. This part of the sentence is the predicate of the sentence. For example:  eat. walk . "who or what.. such as adjectives.. Beer and wine are my favourite drinks. ask a wh. digest. The Subject The subject is the person or thing the sentence is 'about'.. sleep. Finding the Subject Once you determine the verb.

give. Transitive / Intransitive verbs Verbs which don't have an object are called intransitive. go. .here the door is the direct object as it is the thing being affected by the verb to open." .intransitive.More Advanced Terminology The Object Some verbs have an object (always a noun or pronoun). fall. ". For example:  David disagreed. smile. . The indirect object refers to a person or thing who receives the direct object. Objects come in two types. drive. The object is the person or thing affected by the action described in the verb.here him (he)is the indirect object as he is the beneficiary of the action.g.intransitive. Some verbs can only be intransitive (disagree). come. The direct object refers to a person or thing affected by the action of the verb. In addition they cannot be used in the Passive Voice e.g. . Some verbs can be transitive or intransitive e. sing For example:  Xavier Nadu sings. direct and indirect. For example:  " I gave him the book. eat. For example:  David gave her a present. For example:  "He opened the door.g. Verbs that have an object are called transitive verbs e.

He spoke very quietly. as in this case the adverbial (gone to the bank) is more or less demanded by the verb (has). Complement A complement is used with verbs like be. Complements give more information about the subject or. For example:   to go [somewhere] to put [something][somewhere] This information is also useful when deciding the order of adverbials in a sentence. To remember the form of such verbs use your notebooks to write down the different forms. about the object. For example:     I sometimes have trouble with adverbs. seem. . She's gone to the bank. in some structures. Xavier Nadu sings pop songs. The first tells us the frequency of the action (sometimes). and the third how many times the action has happened (three). Unlike the previous parts of the sentence. although in practice it's a good idea to keep them few in number. it tells you something about how the action in the verb was done. The fourth is a little different. the second how he carried out the action (quietly). Adverbials An 'adverbial' or 'adverbial phrase' is a word or expression in the sentence that does the same job as an adverb. look etc. . that is. I've read that book three times. a sentence can contain an indefinite number of adverbials.transitive.

There are various definitions of 'complement'. The complement often consists of an adjective or noun phrase. She called him an idiot! I saw her standing there. as in the last example. A complement is the part of the sentence that gives you more information about the subject (a subject complement) or the object (an object complement) of the sentence. Subject complements normally follow certain verbs. The complement to be used. including the direct object and adverbs) to the much more restrictive one used here. leadership pedagogy . That man looks like John. For example:    He is Spanish. is dependent on the verb used in the sentence. but can also be a participle phrase.    They painted the house red. Object complements follow the direct object of the verbFor example. She became an engineer. It is often not very clear whether a phrase is a complement or an adverbial. which range from the very general (anything in the predicate except the verb. -coele. The opposite of suffix is prefix. hernia . suffix Meaning Samples Suffix General Meaning Example -agogy -archy leading rule. anarchy mucocoel or mucocoele hydatidocele -cele. demagogy gynarchy . if any. List of English Suffixes A suffix is an affix that is added to the end of a word that conditions its usage or meaning. body cavity -coel -cele tumor.

-centesis puncturing amniocentesis . ectasis -ectomy -emesis -emia -enchyma -ess -esthesis. having some or much geometric solid love . waitress . inflammation murder. esthesia -fugal -ful -hedron -holic -ic -id -ism -ist -itis skin rash doctrine. killing agent rule. regicide kakistocracy . unit of radio frequency stretching out surgical removal vomiting blood condition cellular tissue female sensation. telangiectasia laryngectomy . kinesthesis centrifugal hopeful . androcracy epicycle . hydrocycle brochiectasis . useful icosahedron . democracy . addiction syphilid Protestantism . practice. stewardess synesthesia. tetrahedron alcoholic -chondrion small grainlike structure -cide -cracy -cycle -ectasia. karyenchyma actress . vasectomy hematemesis . government circle. act. vespacide. hyperemesis leukemia . gingivitis . condition person disease. expelling full of. alcoholism . feeling fuge. driving or travelling away from. Buddhism . anaemia mesenchyma . rachicentesis mitochondrion suicide . cycle. southernism dentist hepatitis .

megalomania .-itude -ium -kinesis -less metallic element (exception: helium) movement (ability thereof) lack of attitude . having the attributes of. mythomania stenography . In modern English. also changes some nouns state(n) > stately(adj). mysophobia telephone . useless -ly -like. consonym . Calcium telekinesis homeless . phthisiology proteomics astronomy antonym . phagia -philia -phobia -phone -science resembling study. description -ogram -oid -ology -omics -onomy -onym -osis -osis -osis -phagy. homophone omniscience -mania -ography or writing. to adjectives and some (past-tense) verbs to adverbs abashed(v) > abashedly(adv) an irrational but irresistible motive for a belief or action kleptomania . ideogram solenoid . word process. primarily quick(adj) > quickly(adv). audio knowing . geography . action formation diseased condition eating attraction fear sound. heteronym mitosis . thyroidology . science area of biology knowledge of name. changes adjectives to adverbs. hominoid planetology . certitude sodium . osmosis ostosis psychosis monophagy hemophilia acrophobia .

The Passive Voice The passive voice may use any tense of the verb to be:to be past participle is / are / am I / It / They etc. telescope friendship . (past simple) . relationship Afghanistan phototropism ulcus (ulcer) southward clockwise What do you mean voice? In English grammar. state of being land. or having the action done to it." (Who cleaned the office? She did=the subject) "He stole my car.-scope -ship -stan -tropism -us -ward -wise from Greek skopos . was / were (present simple) finished. instrument for viewing and observing spaces circle. voice shows whether the subject of a sentence is doing the action." (Who stole my car? He did=the subject) The active voice uses fewer words than the pompous sounding passive voice. Some tests often include passive constructions that need revision. For example: "She cleaned the office. The Active Voice We say things in the active voice when we want to show who or what has done something. country to turn inflammation direction direction microscope . In the active voice the agent (the person or thing that does something) becomes the subject of the sentence. view.

or more often who's to blame for something. Either because you don't know. You'll often see it used in politics. is being / are being /am being was being / were being has been / have been (present continuous) (past continuous) (present perfect) cleaned." (What was mislaid? The report =the subject) Sometimes you may want to use the passive voice but wish to mention who carried out the action." (Who was shot? The civilian=the subject) "The report was mislaid." (What was cleaned? . had been I / It / They will be etc. For example: "The office was cleaned.I / It / They etc. This is called passive with agent and the agent is usually introduced with the word by. sent." . For example: "The office was cleaned by Mrs Smith. We particularly use the passive voice when we don't know or aren't bothered exactly who has done something. This is called passive without agent where the recipient of the action becomes the subject. or because you don't want to say. the business world.The office=the subject) We often use the passive to report what someone has said but we want to avoid telling anyone who said it. (past perfect) (future) tired. For example: "I was told you weren't coming." Sometimes it is used in order to deliberately avoid saying who did something. The passive voice is used when the subject of a sentence is the person or thing affected by the action of the sentence. I / It / They etc. or in any other activity involving bureaucracy. "The civilian was shot.

Or you may use a subject such as people." When you can't use the passive Intransitive verbs cannot be used in the passive. For example with verbs like die or arrive. This is because they cannot have objects. . For example: "The car was stolen by joyriders. someone. they etc. when you don't know who the agent is. and so there is nothing to become the subject of the passive sentence.