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1. Basic Guidelines for Punctuation Usage
2. Full Stop (.) SENTENCE DIVISION
Full stops are used to close sentences. A new sentence has a capital letter.
I looked out of the window it was snowing again
I looked out of the window. It was snowing again.
3. Full Stop (.) Do not normally put full stops before GRAMMATICALLY INCOMPLETE SENTENCES
She phoned me. As soon as she arrived.
She phoned me as soon as she arrived
4. Semi-colon (;) INSTEAD OF FULL STOPS
Semi-colons are sometimes used instead of full stops, in cases where sentences are grammatically independent but the meaning is closely connected. Semi-colons are not nearly as common as full stops or commas.
Some people work best in the mornings, other do better in the evenings.
Some people work best in the mornings; other do better in the evenings.
5. Semi-colon (;) IN LISTS
Semi-colons are also used to separate items in a list, particularly when these are grammatically complex.
He mentioned the four objectives of the CAP:
Income support for a large population of family farms (the “social” component);
Increase in production and productivity mainly by the absorption of yield-increasing technical innovations;
Food security (intended as an increase in self-sufficiency ratio;
Common price and price stability for agricultural products.
6. Colon(:) EXPLANATIONS
Colons are often used before explanations
We decided not to go on holiday: we had too little money.
When direct speech is introduced by a name
Polonius: What do you read my lord?
Hamlet: Words, words, words
7. Colon(:) LISTS
A colon can introduce a list.
The main points are as follows:
We need three kinds of support: economic, moral and political.
8. Colon (:) SUBDIVISIONS
A colon can introduce a subdivision of a subject - for instance, in a title or heading.
Supply chain coordination: the case of dairy products in Syria
In British English, it is unusual for a capital letter to follow a colon (except at the beginning of a quotation). However, this can happen if a colon is followed by several complete sentences.
My main objections are as follows:
First of all, no proper budget has been drawn up.
Secondly, there is no guarantee that….
9. Dash (-) The use of dash can be similar to the use of brackets
My mother-who rarely gets angry-really lost her temper
A dash can introduce an afterthought
We will arrive on Monday morning - at least, I think so.
10. Comma (,) Commas generally reflect pauses in speech.
We use commas to separate items in a series or list. In British English, a comma is not usually used with and between the last two items unless these are long. Compare:
I went to Spain, Bosnia, Syria and Mexico. (US: Syria, and Germany)
I spent yesterday playing the guitar, listening to jazz records, and talking about the meaning of life.
11. Comma (,) ADJECTIVES
In predicative position, commas are always used between adjectives.
The director was tall, dark and handsome.
If words or expressions are put in unusual places or interrupt the normal progression of a sentence, we separate them off by commas.
My father, however, did not agree.
Mr Hindi, director of the NAPC, introduced the lecturer.
12. Comma (,) Identifying Expressions
The woman who was sitting behind the reception desk gave Paul a big smile
Mrs Kate, who was sitting behind the reception desk, gave Paul a big smile
Clause connected with and, but or or are usually separated by commas unless they are very short.
She had very little to live on, but she would never have dreamed of taking what was not hers
She was poor but she was honest
13. Comma (,) Direct Speech
A comma is generally used between a reporting expression and a piece of direct speech
“I don’t like this one”, said Julia.
When subordinate clauses begin a sentences, they are often separated by commas.
If you are ever in London, come and see me
Come and see me if you are ever in London
14. Comma (,) Commas are not used before “THAT-clauses”
It is quite natural that you want to meet your mother
It is quite natural, that you want to meet your mother
No commas before that, what, where in indirect speech structures
Everybody realized that I was a foreigner
Everybody realized, that I was a foreigner
They quickly explained what to do
They quickly explained, what to do
15. Comma (,) In the beginning of a sentence:
In the light of the conclusion already stated, ………….
She cycled from Damascus to Aleppo, which is pretty good for a woman of 75.