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Punctuation! A brief guide to those tricky little marks.
Based on Lauren Kessler and Duncan McDonald. When Words Collide 4th ed. Belmont: Wadsworth Publishing Co., 1996.
Condensed by Wes Kisting
To explain punctuation, I must use a few terms that may be unfamiliar to you:
вЂў clause: a clause is a group of related words that contains a subject and a predicate.
вЂў independent clause: an independent clause is a complete sentence. It expresses a complete thought.
вЂў dependent clause: a dependent clause does not express a complete thought, and although it has both a subject and a predicate, it is not a complete sentence and cannot stand alone.
вЂў coordinating/subordinating conjunction: basically, the words вЂњand,вЂќ вЂњbut,вЂќ and вЂњor.вЂќ
вЂў non-restrictive: a type of clause, phrase, or modifier that is not necessary (not essential) in order to understand the sentence.
Use a comma:
вЂў to separate items in a series.
At the store, I bought oranges, apples, and pears.
вЂў to separate two independent clauses connected by a coordinating conjunction, as long as the clauses donвЂ™t contain much internal punctuation (if they do, you might need to use a semicolon instead)
IвЂ™ve never needed the help of a forest ranger, but I hear they do help a lot of people.
вЂў to set off a non-restrictive clause, phrase, or modifier (a comma goes before and after the non-essential information)
Tommy, the son of John Smith, is the first person I ever saw hit a home run.
вЂў to set off parenthetical expressions (an expression that gives extra or not-so-crucial information in a quieter tone)
The goal of this class, as you ought to know, is to improve your writing and speaking skills.
вЂў whenever the absence of a pause could cause confusion
Circling the factory, workers protested the unsafe working conditions.
вЂў when a dependent clause introduces the sentence
Because I ate too much, I felt sick.
вЂў to precede a quotation that is a full sentence
The manager asked, вЂњDo you think the customer is always right?вЂќ
Do not use a comma:
вЂў to introduce a dependent clause after an independent clause (in general, do not use a comma before the word вЂњbecauseвЂќ)
I felt sick, because I ate too much.
вЂў to separate two independent clauses that are not joined by a coordinating conjunction.
The inflation rate dipped to 2 percent, the unemployment rate stayed constant.
(This mistake is called a comma splice, and you can correct it by adding a coordinating conjunction after the comma, or by replacing the comma with a semicolon or period.)
вЂў when the comma will falsely make it seem like you are listing items in a series
The police found three dead bodies, two female victims and one male victim.
(In this example, a colon or dash should be used instead of the comma. That way it will be clear that the phrase вЂњtwo female victims and one male victimвЂќ is describing the gender of the вЂњthree bodiesвЂќ the police found. Otherwise, it might seem like the police found a total of six dead bodies.)
вЂў to precede a partial quotation
The manager says the customer is, вЂњalways right.вЂќ
Use a semicolon:
вЂў to join independent clauses not connected by a coordinating conjunction
The inflation rate dipped to 2 percent; the unemployment rate stayed constant.
Note: the words вЂњhowever,вЂќ вЂњmoreover,вЂќ вЂњnevertheless,вЂќ and вЂњthereforeвЂќ are not coordinating conjunctions. When you use them,
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Вђў Clause And Dependent Clause. (June 7, 2021). Retrieved from https://www.freeessays.education/%d0%b2%d1%92%d1%9eclause-and-dependent-clause-essay/