Punctuation!! . A quick run-through of the basics. The punctuation marks we will learn about today are …. The full stop (.) The comma (,) The colon (:) The semi-colon (;) The apostrophe (‘).
A quick run-through of the basics
The full stop (.) is used at the end of a sentence. A sentence is a group of words which makes complete sense. After a full stop, we need a capital letter.
John kicked the ball. The ball smashed a window.
These are sentences. They make complete sense.
These are not sentences. They do not make complete sense.The full stop
The comma (,) is used to separate the sentence is a group of words which makes complete sense. After a full stop, we need a capital letter. main clause of a sentence from the subordinate clauses. The main clause is the section of the sentence which makes complete sense by itself. The subordinate clauses do not make sense by themselves. They need a main clause to add to their meaning.
For example, look at the sentence
While the children were working quietly, Miss Jeffery was surfing the Internet.
Miss Jeffery was surfing the Internet is the main clause. It makes complete sense by itself.
While the children were working quietly is the subordinate clause. It does not make sense by itself.
The main clause and the subordinate clause are separated by a comma.
While the children were working quietly, Miss Jeffery was surfing the Internet.The comma (Part 1)
The comma (,) is also used to separate items in a list. The rules are as follows:
In a list of objects, there is no need for a comma before the final object, because ‘and’ takes its place.
For example: For lunch today I had: a cheese sandwich, a packet of crisps, a Fruit Shoot and an apple.
There is no need to do this: For lunch today I had: a cheese sandwich, a packet of crisps, a Fruit Shoot, and an apple. The comma before ‘and’ is unnecessary.The comma (Part 2)
Rule Number 2: In a list of adjectives or adverbs, there is no need for a comma between the final adjective or adverb and the word it describes.
NB: an adjective describes a noun (person, place or thing). For example: The beautiful girl. An adverb describes a verb (a doing word). For example: The car moved quickly.
Using the comma in a list of adjectives:
The old tramp was a smelly, dirty, unpleasant-looking man.
Using the comma in a list of adverbs:
The motorbike sped powerfully, dangerously, exhilaratingly along the road.The comma (Part 3)
In the sentence ‘ no need for a comma between the final adjective or adverb and the word it describes.For lunch today I had: a cheese sandwich, a packet of crisps, a Fruit Shoot and an apple.’ semi-colons are not needed between the items. They are short and uncomplicated, and only require separating with commas.
However, in the sentence ‘I did lots of things at the weekend: I went to the theatre with my friends; I visited my gran for Sunday lunch; I did a huge pile of marking; I created a PowerPoint presentation.’ semi-colons are used to separate the items because they are each quite lengthy. This makes the sentence clearer.The semi-colon explained (Part 1)
The main clause in a sentence makes complete sense by itself.
The subordinate clauses do not make complete sense. They need the main clause to add to their meaning.
Sometimes, a sentence does not have a main clause and a subordinate clause.
Instead, it has two or more clauses which each have equal weight (as though the sentence had two or more main clauses).
For example: Mavis was a student at the local school; she was a hard-working and pleasant girl.The semi-colon explained (Part 2)
The first use of the apostrophe is to show possession (when something belongs to someone). The apostrophe always goes after the last letter of the word describing the person to whom something belongs (the ‘owner’). If the ‘owner’ is singular, the apostrophe is followed by an ‘s’.
The book of the boy
The boy’s book
The nappy of the baby
The baby’s nappy
The toys of the child
The child’s toysThe apostrophe of possession: singular ‘owner’.
When the ‘owner’ in a sentence (the person or thing to whom something belongs) is plural AND ends in an s (boys, babies) there is NO ‘s’ after the apostrophe.
The books of the boys
The boys’ books
The nappies of the babies
The babies’ nappies
However, when the ‘owner’ in the sentence is plural but does not end in an s (children, sheep) there is an ‘s’ after the apostrophe.
The toys of the children
The children’s toys
The fleeces of the sheep
The sheep’s fleecesThe apostrophe of possession: plural ‘owner’