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• Remember that the hyphen is not the same thing as the longer dash. A
distinction between the two is commonly made in the US, but not in the UK.

The oblique stroke is used to separate items in a list: oil/water mix, italic/Roman type, Kent/Surrey boundary, 2003/04, etc.

> The oblique stroke should not be used as a substitute for words such as and, plus,and or.

• Try to avoid the either/orconstruction and such lazy (and ugly) com­pounds as *an entire social/sexual/ideological system'.

• The oblique stroke might be useful when taking notes, but it should be avoided in formal writing for the sake of elegance.

Suspension marks are typically used to signify emotional pauses of the speaker. They reflect such inner states of people as uncertainty, confusion or nervousness. They also create a stylistic device of aposiopesis.


The colon is used to introduce a strong pause within a sentence. It ňŕ˙inticipate a list of things: The car has a number of optional extras, ■oof. tinted windows, rear seat belts, and electrically operated vrs. The colon separates two clauses which could stand alone as separate cntences, but which are linked by some relationship in meaning: My brotheA ikes oranges: My sister hates them. The colon is used before a long q ion or a speech: Speaking at Caesar 's funeral. Anthony addressed the rowd: "Friends. Romans, count rvmen...". It is also used before a clause vhich explains the previous statement: The school is highly regarded. identic standards are high, the staff are pleasant, and the student oy going there. The colon can provide emphasis or create dramatic effect: rhere can be only one reason for this problem: John's total incompem

it can precede an illustration: The vase contained beautiful fh< oses. tulips, and daffodils. It can separate the title and the sub-title of alook or an article: Magical Realism: Latin-American fiction today.

The semicolon is half way between a comma and a colon. It marl lause which is longer than a comma, but not as long as a colon. Semicolon! re used between clauses which could stand alone, but which are ci elated and have some logical connection. They punctuate lists of things in ontinuous prose writing: Neither of us spoke; we merely waited / i'hat would happen. He usually took great care; even so he made a rrors. Four objects lay on the desk: a large book; a spiral-bounded \otepad; a glass vase containing flowers: and a silver propelling pern il. Semicolons help to avoid ambiguity in sentences composed of phras lifferent length and a mixed content: The Chairman welcomed the Presi­dent, Dr Garvey; the Vice-President Mr. Bamcroft and his wife: several delegates from the United States; and members of the public who had\ >een invited to attend.

> Because the semicolon may be used instead of a full stop, some peo­ple use it without discrimination. They connect clause after clause with semicolons where no real link exists between them. This creates grammatical confusion and very poor style.

The apostrophe is a raised comma. It is used to show possession (my wther's house, anybody's guess) and to punctuate contractions (There's ohody here. Where's Freddy? Don't fence me tin.


Capital letters are stylistically used to show the importance of particular words. They are always used for proper nouns, at the start of sentences, and for places and events of a public nature.


Capitals are used to denote the names of particular or special things.

days of the week Wednesday, Friday

places East Anglia

rivers the riverMersey

buildings the Tate Gallery

institutions the Catholic Church

firms British Aerospace

organisations the National Trust

months of the year April, September

However, when such terms are used as adjectives or in a general sense, no capital is required:

Date: 2016-01-03; view: 80

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