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Punctuation - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Punctuation. How to make yourself understood in writing.! : ; " " , -. Full Stops. To end any sentence that is not a question. Use them for commands phrased as questions: Will you send us the money today. 2. With certain abbreviations Ms. and Jhb. not Mrs or Mr or Dr

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How to make yourself

understood in writing.! : ; " " , -


Full Stops

  • To end any sentence that is not a question. Use them for commands phrased as questions:

    Will you send us the money today.

    2. With certain abbreviations

    Ms. and Jhb. not Mrs or Mr or Dr

    3. Between rands and cents in an amount of money


    4. To show that words have been left out or when the person does not finish a sentence: ellipsis dots… Use three only.

Full stops
Full Stops

Acronyms (abbreviations that are pronounced as words), do not have full stops between the letters.

Cats sunbathing

UNISA Acronym

S.P.C.A. Each letter

is pronounced separately here.


Full Stops

Every full sentence must have a subject and a verb.

Avoid the comma splice by counting the verbs and making sure each one has a joining word or full stop after it.

The people ran, they shouted, they panicked.

Subject: person or thing doing

the action



action or state of being



Question Marks

  • After any direct question that requests an answer:

    Why are you tired?

    2. After rhetorical questions:

    Tired, are you?


Exclamation Marks

1.After highly emotional language. Use only one: Wow!

2. Business language is hardly ever emotional, so you are unlikely to use one in business communication.

Exercise 1
Exercise 1

Write a paragraph describing what you see in this picture. Your answer should include at least one full stop, one exclamation mark and one example of direct speech. (3)






  • To separate two closely related sentences:

    The outline is due within a week; the report itself is due at the end of the month.

    2. For items in a list that are longer than one word:

    Pack the following kit: a sleeping bag; a ground-sheet; a good torch and dehydrated food.

    3. To separate independent clauses where the second one begins with: however, therefore, nevertheless, for example or in that case.

    Her test scores were quite low; on the other hand, she has a lot of experience.



4. To separate opposite ideas.

More haste; less speed.

5. To separate two main

clauses in a very long


Although the animals were not

yet visible, the sounds of their

movements were clearly

audible; then suddenly they appeared.

Exercise 2
Exercise 2

Use the picture below to complete the paragraph, starting with the sentence in the previous slide.. Inc semicolons used for three different reasons reasons. (3)

Creativity (7)




  • To introduce a list:

    We took several items to the picnic: cold meat, wine, salad, milk-tart and chips.

    2. To separate the main clause, and another part, which may explain or illustrate the first. These clauses may also be separated by a semicolon.

    Management was not prepared for their demands: for this reason they argued well into the night.


3. To indicate that a quotation or extract follows: “I am Fortune’s fool.”

4. To introduce a sub-section between a title and its sub-title. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

Exercise 3
Exercise 3

Write a short 100 word review of the movie clip from Avatar.

Focus on colons.

Include: the title √

A list√

A main clause and an explanatory part√

A quotation of something your partner said about the movie.√ (4)

Persuasive tone (6) [10]



  • To separate:

    1.1 items in a list

    He took the job, worked hard, and succeeded.

    1.2 two or more adjectives describing a noun

    She has a large, boisterous dog.

    2. To mark off the following words, phrases or clauses from the rest of the sentence:

    2.1 Between clauses that are joined by a subordinating conjunction (and , but or or)

    She spoke to the sales staff, and he spoke to the production staff.

    2.2 To separate a subordinate clause at the beginning of a sentence , from a main clause at the end.

    Because of our lead in the market, we may be able to introduce a new product.




2.3 To separate the main clause at the beginning of a sentence from a subordinate clause.

Because of our lead in the market, we may be able to introduce a new product.

2.4 After an introductory phrase or word:

Yes, you may process the order.

2.5 After the name of a person

Jane, please come here.

2.6 To surround expressions that can be removed from the sentence without changing the meaning:

The new owners, the Pienaars, are pleased with their purchase.


2.6 Participial phrases

Whistling cheerfully, George approached me.

3. To separate a quotation from the rest of the sentence:

Your guarantee reads, “These conditions remain in effect for one year from the date of purchase. ”

Exercise 4
Exercise 4

1. Place 5 commas and 1 semi-colon in the correct places in the following sentences:

TheOld Flame by Cyril Hare

To commit a murder on a Bank Holiday at a popular seaside resort in broad daylight argues a good deal of courage of a sort but courage was the one good quality in which Jack Saunders was not deficient.

In fact when he began to make his plans for the elimination of Maggie he soon realised as so often happens the boldest course was the safest. (5)

2. Complete the story by telling it to your partner. Choose the best one to perform for the class.



1. To surround a comment that is a sudden turn in thought:

Membership of the SABS - it’s expensive but worth it - can be applied for in March.

2. To emphasise a parenthetical phrase.

Third term profits - in excess of 2 million - are up significantly.

A dash emphasises words, phrases or clauses more strongly than a comma or brackets can.



1. To separate parts of a compound word:

self-assured pickled-onions

Omit hyphens from prefixes such as:

pro, anti, non, pre, un, inter, extra

except when:

a) the prefix occurs before a proper noun


b) the vowel at the end of the prefix is the same as the first letter of the root word


2. To divide words at the end of a typed line. Do this only at a syllable break.



1. Possession - to show ownership

’s for singular : the car’s windscreen

s’ for plural : two cars’ windscreens

2. Contraction - place the apostrophe where the letters have been left out. we will = we’ll

One word which has both of these is “its”:

It is = It’s a lovely day. Use apostrophe.

Its basket was in the kitchen.No apostrophe.


Some unusual cases:


Plural nouns ending in “s” take s’


Singular nouns ending in “s” take ‘s unless they are classical or biblical

The Jones’s cat

For Jesus’ sake, amen.

Exercise 5
Exercise 5

Add or delete apostrophes in the following sentences:

  • They want Kathys fiancé to drive with them because its a little too cold to cycle. (2)

  • The Arendses bikes were left behind but Mosess coat was taken with them. (2)

  • When it comes to calculating the companys assets, they are not too accurate. (2)

  • The dogs bones were lying there; theyd forgotten them. (2) [8]


Quotation Marks

  • To surround words that are repeated exactly as they were said or written. The collection letter ended by saying: “Legal action will be taken if you do not comply.”

    2. To set off the title of a newspaper, a story, magazine article or book chapter: You should read “One the move’, as poem by Gunn.

    A book, film or newspaper title is set in italics or underlined.

    3. To indicate special treatment for words and phrases:

    Our management “team” spends more time arguing than solving problems.

    4. To define a word:

    The abbreviation inc means “incorporated”.


Parentheses (brackets)

To surround comments that are asides:

Our figures do not match yours, although (if my calculations are correct) they are closer than we thought.

Exercise 6
Exercise 6

Write 4 sentences with quotation marks:

  • Quote a sentence from a newspaper exactly as it was written.

  • Recommend your favourite newspaper, story, magazine article or book chapter.

  • Use a word or phrase which needs special treatment.

  • Define a word.

    5. Write one sentence which contains an aside in brackets. (5)


Ellipses: always use 3 dots ...

1. To indicate that material has been left out of a direct quotation:

According to the People Magazine: “The best income... can be obtained by investing in bonds.”

2. To show that the speech has faded out : if this is at the end of the sentence, the full stop becomes a fourth dot.

He said, “The man screamed, and I felt myself slipping into unconsciousness...”.



1. At the beginning of certain word groups:

1.1 Incomplete sentences;

Great day!

1.2 Formal statement following a colon:

Her favourite saying is: The early bird catches the worm.

1.3 Phrase used as a sentence:

Definitely not!

2. Capitalize proper adjectives and proper nouns:

Let’s consider opening a branch on the West Coast, perhaps west of Darling.

3. Capitalize specific instances, but general terms are left uncapitalized.

My mother thinks Mother Theresa is an amazing woman.

Exercise 7
Exercise 7

Write a 30 word summary of the following interview of Ryk Neetling from Mango Magazine June 2008. You must use one quotation from which material has been left out. (1)

You must place one extra piece of information in square brackets to explain Ryk’s words. (1)

Reported speech: Ryk said that... (8)

Where do you like to travel in South Africa?

I like to go off the beaten track to a game farm, visit my family in Bloemfontein, Lady Grey in the Eastern Cape and any place on the South African Coast is beautiful. I’m looking forward to when things have calmed down a bit to really enjoy South Africa more and see places like Namibia. I’ve been bitten by the travel bug-I can’t sit still.

Oral exercise: Interview each other with the above question.



1. Spell out numbers from one to nine and use numerals for the rest.

2. Ages are usually expressed in words.

Thirty-five years old