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PUNCTUATION RULES

Commas with Numbers Use commas to separate off the thousands and millions in compound numbers. Example: 3,460,759 on!t use commas in decimals. Example: "3.49 Use a comma before the #ear if the date is $i%en as follo&s: month, da#, #ear. Example: 'pril (6, )003 on!t use a comma if onl# t&o elements of the date are $i%en *e.$. month and #ear+. Example: , &as born in -a# (97).

Commas with Salutations Use a comma if the sentence starts &ith an address to someone. Example: .re$, can , tal/ to #ou for a second0 Use a comma &ith salutations in pri%ate letters. Example: ear 1rancis, on!t use a comma &ith salutations in business letters. Use a colon in 'merican En$lish and no punctuation mar/ in 2ritish En$lish. Example: 2E 3 ear -r 4efferson 'E 3 ear -r. 4efferson: 'fter the $reetin$, the comma is optional. Example: 5incerel#, 5incerel# Commas with Geographic Places Use a comma to separate parts of $eo$raphic places. 6he final comma is optional. Example: 7oll#&ood, ,reland*,+ is not as famous as 7oll#&ood, 8alifornia. Use a comma to separate parts of an address in a sentence. Example: 7is address is 46 2a/er 5treet, 9ondon, :;) )9<, .reat 2ritain.

Note( 6o chec/ if adBecti%es $i%e similar /inds of information or not. &ind# mornin$. Example: Aou are 5cottish. 6he comma is optional for the follo&in$ ad%erbs: then.+ . on!t use a comma if the adBecti%es are not e?uall# important or $i%e different /inds of information. she entered the house. Commas with Enumerations . please. the and bet&een the adBecti%es doesnCt sound ri$ht.t &as a cold. furthermore. therefore. Example: 6herefore. moreover. he didnCt sa# a &ord. &as %er# cle%er. *7e &as a cle%er and #oun$ man. .f these ad%erbs appear in the middle of a sentence. aren!t #ou0 Commas with A%'ecti#es Use a comma if the adBecti%es are e?uall# important and $i%e similar /inds of information. yet. Example: 5end me a mail. . *.+ Commas with A%#erbs Use a comma after certain ad%erbs: however. so. Use a comma before ?uestion ta$s. too *meanin$ CalsoC+. nevertheless. Example: 5o.Commas with please! Use a comma if =please> is at the end of a re?uest. Example: 6he thief. still.f adBecti%es $i%e different /inds of information. in fact. Commas with A""irmati#es$ Negati#es an% &uestion Tags Use a comma after =#es> and =no>. the# are enclosed in commas. Example: 7e &as a cle%er #oun$ man. Example: Aes. ho&e%er.t &as a cold and &ind# mornin$. can help #ou. instead. Example: . Example: @lease send me a mail. put and bet&een the adBecti%es. on!t use a comma if =please> is at the be$innin$ of a re?uest. 5o she entered the house.

f . on!t use a comma if these parts of the sentence are separated b# and or but. Commas with Con%itional Sentences Use a comma if the if clause is at the be$innin$ of the sentence. Example: Dld -c onald had a pi$ and a do$ and a co& and a horse.+ Example: Dld -c onald had soup. $o to 9ondon. Example: Dld -c onald had a pi$. Example: . on!t use a comma before =and> if t&o items are a unit *=7am and e$$s> as a dish is a unit and should therefore not be separated b# a comma. and a horse. Note( on!t use a comma. Example: 5he ran do&n the stairs and opened the door and sa& her bo#friend and $a%e him a /iss. . Example: 5he ran do&n the stairs. *8hoose the option #ou li/e best and stic/ to it. Dld -c onald neither had a pi$ nor a do$ nor a co& nor a horse. opened the door. a co&. a co& and a horse. Example: . 6he comma before =and> is optional.+ Example: Dld -c onald had a pi$. a do$. ham and e$$s. &ill %isit the 6o&er. a horse. &ill %isit the 6o&er if . Dld -c onald had soup. =or>. and the nearest petrol station &as 5 miles a&a#. . sa& her bo#friend*. a do$. ham and e$$s and apple pie for dinner. but a semi colon. a do$. Dld -c onald had a pi$.e ran out of fuel. and apple pie for dinner. Commas with *irect Speech Use a comma after the introductor# clause. a co&.+ and $a%e him a /iss. Dld -c onald had a pi$ or a do$ or a co& or a horse. =nor> etc. on!t use a comma if the if clause is at the end of the sentence. on!t use a comma if all items in an enumeration are separated b# =and>. if t&o main clauses are not separated b# and or but. Example: .Use a comma to separate items in an enumeration. $o to 9ondon. Commas between )ain Clauses Use a comma bet&een t&o main clauses &hich are separated b# and or but. Use a comma to separate parts of a sentences in a se?uence.

Example: 6o impro%e her En$lish. Example: =. on!t use a comma in relati%e clauses if the information is essential for the understandin$ of the sentence. =.> she said. on!t use a comma after direct speech if the direct speech ends &ith a ?uestion mar/ or exclamation mar/. * on!t use a full stop here. *but: 5he replied. ladies and $entlemen. 7e li%es in 8hica$o and came to see her. commas or dashes. Use a comma in relati%e clauses before who and which if the information is not essential for the understandin$ of the sentence. came to see her. 5he has onl# one brother.f the direct speech is at the be$innin$ of the sentence.ere #ou in 9ondon last #ear0> he as/ed.Example: 5he said. Note( ependin$ on the importance attached to it.> . the comma is optional and can be dropped. 'm#Cs bo#friend. additional information can be enclosed in brac/ets. he had spent a #ear in 'ustralia.+ Example: =.reatE>+ Commas with Intro%uctor+ Clauses Use a comma after introductor# infinti%e clauses. Dashes 3 emphasiFed 8onnor3'm#Cs bo#friend3bou$ht the tic/ets.ere #ou in 9ondon last #ear0>+ =. =. Example: 6han/ #ou. Brackets 3 not important 8onnor *'m#Cs bo#friend+ bou$ht the tic/ets. Use a comma after introductor# participle clauses. Note( . &as in 9ondon last #ear. he left the room. &ho li%es in 8hica$o. Commas 3 neutral 8onnor. Commas with A%%itional In"ormation Use a comma if the additional information is not part of the main statement. Example: 7er brother. =.reatE> she replied. she practised on e$o4u e%er# da#. Example: 2efore he &ent to :e& Aor/. Use a comma after introductor# prepositional clauses. *but: 7e as/ed. Example: 7a%in$ said this. bou$ht the tic/ets. for $i%in$ me the opportunit# to spea/ to #ou toda#. &as in 9ondon last #ear. .n short introductor# sentences. put the comma before the final ?uotation mar/.

the sentence does not &or/ this &a#. on!t use a comma if the relati%e clause starts &ith that.ood luc/E .s that En% Sentences Note: 'mericans often t#pe t&o blan/s after the punctuation mar/ at the end of a sentence. the author ma/es the sentence easier to read and understand. Note( .hat a chaosE Use an exclamation mar/ at the end of a &ish. Example: . and not the son. Exclamation Mark Use an exclamation mar/ at the end of a surprised exclamation *usuall# startin$ &ith Hho&I or H&hatI+. Example: 7o& a&fulE .Example: 7er brother &ho li%es in 8hica$o came to see her.!m readin$ no& is interestin$. Punctuation )ar. Example: 'bo%e. Example: . $o shoppin$ e%er# da#. Full Stop (Period) Use a full stop *also called HperiodI+ to end affirmati%e sentences. Example: 9ea%e me alone. Commas as )eans o" Rea%abilit+ 8ommas help to /eep the structure of the sentence clear so that the text is eas# to read and understand. e%en if the# are separated b# and or but. Example: 6he boo/ that . 2ut she &as %isited b# onl# one of them3the brother &ho li%es in 8hica$o. the ea$le fle& $racefull# throu$h the air. Example: . Df course. Usin$ a comma after =abo%e>.t &as the father. ' text is &ell structured if the reader /no&s &here to pause. 5he has more than one brother.ithout the comma. the sentence mi$ht be confusin$ for the reader as the first three &ords can be seen as a unit *='bo%e the ea$le G>+. Use a full stop to end orders. Commas with Opposites Use a comma &ith opposites. but the reader mi$ht ha%e to read the sentence a$ain to $et the messa$e. &ho &ent to the disco e%er# 1rida#.

Use a full stop to end orders. Example: 2E: -rs Jobinson. Example: :'6D. please0 -ull Stop . but not usuall# used in 2ritish En$lish. Full Stop after Abbreviations 6he full stop after abbre%iations is optional in 'merican En$lish. but also in abbre%iations and decimals. arenCt #ou0 Use a ?uestions mar/ at the end of a re?uest.. Example: .hatCs #our name0 Use a ?uestions mar/ after ?uestion ta$s. 8. Jobinson. '. Example: Aou are 8onnor. Example: . 5 /$.olon !ith Enumerations Use a semiKcolon in enumerations if a comma is alread# used to further separate an item of the se?uence. Example: 8ould #ou $i%e me the boo/.Perio%/ 1ull stops *also called HperiodsI+ are not onl# used at the end of a sentence. onCt use a full stop after acron#ms. but a &ea/er one than a full stop. Note: 'mericans often t#pe t&o blan/s after the punctuation mar/ at the end of a sentence.Question Mark Use a ?uestions mar/ at the end of a ?uestion. $o shoppin$ e%er# da#. . :28 'E also: -rs. Example: 9ea%e me alone. Semi. 5 /$. 5 Semi0Colon 6he semiKcolon indicates a stron$er di%ision than a comma.:.:. Full Stop at the End of Sentences Use a full stop to end affirmati%e sentences.

3&e all &ere ta/en abac/. 5usan and . Example: 6his is %er# important3are #ou listenin$ to me0 Use a dash if the information that follo&s is surprisin$ and unexpected. or etc.3.e ha%e business partners in Edmonton. to put it mildl#. Example: .aterford. and. he had a %er# hi$h temperature. "ashes in Summaries and Additional %nformation Use a dash to indicate a summariFin$ clause. .olon bet!een Main lauses Use a semiKcolon bet&een t&o main clauses if the# are not separated b# and. . 'ustraliaL and urban. Example: 7e didnCt feel &ellL in fact. furthermore. Example: 4ames had. Note( 5ome computer pro$rams cannot displa# dashes *3+.illiams. Example: 6he rain stoppedL the sun came out a$ain. Use a semiKcolon bet&een t&o main clauses if the second one starts &ith an ad%erb that has to be enclosed in commas *e. Example: . 8anadaL . aniel. Semi. donCt /no&. 5outh 'frica.n this case.$. in fact.Example: . Use a semiKcolon bet&een t&o main clauses &ith conBunctions *e.e &ent shoppin$ in 9ondon3and met Jobbie . moreo%er. ne%ertheless.relandL 2risbane. . "ashes for han#e of $opic or Structure Use a dash for a chan$e of topic &ithin a sentence. therefore. instead+. still. 6here is no blan/ before or after a dash in En$lish.3. ho&e%er. t#pe t&o h#phens *KK+. a lot of problemsL and not e%en his best friend could help him. *ashes in English ' dash is used to emphasiFe &hat follo&s. "ashes in "ialo#ues Use a dash to sho& hesitation. Example: 4ane.$. Use dashes sparin$l#: not more than a pair per sentences in informal &ritin$ and *if possible+ not more than a pair per para$raph in formal &ritin$. or+ if a comma is used in at least one of the main clauses.

Brackets 3 not important 8onnor *'m#Cs bo#friend+ bou$ht the tic/ets. Additional %nformation in &rackets 'dditional information is enclosed in brac/ets if the information is not essential for the understandin$ of the sentence. 5usan and me3to meet his famil#. Brackets K not important 8onnor *'m#Cs bo#friend+ bou$ht the tic/ets.ets . 'm#Cs bo#friend. ?uestion mar/s or exclamation mar/s are usuall# put outside the brac/ets *unless the brac/ets enclose a complete sentence+. Dashes K emphasiFed 8onnor3'm#Cs bo#friend3bou$ht the tic/ets. bou$ht the tic/ets.od3to 'llah.Parentheses/ in English 2rac/ets *also called parentheses+ enclose extra information or explanations &hich interrupt the normal pro$ression of the sentence.Use a dash to indicate an emphasiFed addition. 1rac. additional information can be enclosed in brac/ets. Example: 7e pra#ed to his . commas or dashes. Commas K neutral 8onnor. Abbreviations in &rackets 't the first mentionin$ of an or$aniFation in a ne&spaper article. Use a dash to enclose emphasiFed additional information &hich interrupts the normal pro$ression of the sentence. one of &hich is enclosed in brac/ets. bou$ht the tic/ets. both its abbre%iation and the spelledKout form are mentioned. Note( ependin$ on the importance attached to it. Note( 1ull stops. additional information can be enclosed in brac/ets. . Note( ependin$ on the importance attached to it. Commas 3 neutral 8onnor. Dashes 3 emphasiFed 8onnor3'm#Cs bo#friend3bou$ht the tic/ets. commas or dashes. 'm#Cs bo#friend. Example: 7e &anted us38aron. Example: 8onnor *'m#Cs bo#friend+ bou$ht the tic/ets.

7e &as an acti%e member of the . .nternational Dl#mpic 8ommittee+.nternational Dl#mpic 8ommittee *.Example: 7e &as an acti%e member of the .D8+.D8 *.