Home Random Page



The Simple Sentence

To separate different parts of the sentence, the following rules are observed.

§ 2. With homogeneousmembers either a comma or no punctuation mark whatever is used.

1. A comma is used to separate homogeneous members joined asyndetically.

The punishment cell was a dark, damp, filthy hole. (Voynich) She shook her head, dried the dishes herself, sat down with some mending. (Cronin) Her breathing was slow, tortured. (Maltz)

2. A comma is used after each of several homogeneous members if the last is joined by the conjunction and.

The captain, the squire, and I were talking matters over in the cabin. (Stevenson)

He lighted his cigarette, said good night, and went on. (Lon­don)


Note. The comma before the last of the homogeneous members can be omitted.



3. If two homogeneous members are joined by the conjunction and, no comma is used.

She nodded and smiled. (Heym)

He went out heavily and shut the door behind him. (Abrahams)

4. If there are several homogeneous members and each of them is joined to the preceding by the conjunction and or nor, they may or may not be separated by commas.

Em'ly, indeed, said little all the evening; but she looked, and listened, and her face got animated, and she was charming. (Dickens)

She was not brilliant, nor witty, nor wise overmuch, nor extraor­dinary handsome. (Thackeray)

5. A comma is used to separate homogeneous members joined by the conjunction but and the correlative conjunction not only... but also.

He had been always about to paint a masterpiece, but had never yet begun it. (O. Henry)

Not only hope, but confidence has been restored. (Nesfield)

6. A comma is used to separate homogeneous members going in pairs.

Between halts and stumbles, jerks and lurches, locomotion had at times seemed impossible. (London)

They had forgotten time and place, and life and death. (Voynich)


§ 3. With detachedmembers of the sentence either a comma or a dash is used.

1. To separate a loose apposition a comma or a dash is used. The latter is less common.

He, Martin Eden, was a better man than that fellow. (London) The old gentleman, her father, was always dabbling in specula­tion. (Thackeray)

To think that Johnnie — my best friend — should have acted so meanly. (Bennett)

2. To separate all types of detached adverbial modifiers a comma is used.

The Chuzzlewit family was, in the very earliest times, closely con­nected with agricultural interest. (Dickens)

It being then just dinner-time, we went first into the great kitchen. (Dickens)

Away went George, his nerves quivering with excitement at the news so long looked for. (Thackeray)

Mr. Micawber sat in his elbow-chair, with his eyebrows raised. (Dickens)

Old Jolyon had risen, and, cigar in mouth, went to inspect the group. (Galsworthy)

He drew his hands away, shivering. (Voynich) Poor Jemima trotted off, exceedingly flurried and nervous. (Thackeray)

The people, seeing my empty carriage, would rush for it. (Jer­ome)

3. To separate detached attributes a comma is used.

There are some truths, cold, bitter, tainting truths. (Dickens) Here we have a remark, at once consistent, clear, natural. (Dickens)

4. To separate detached objects a comma is used.

Maggie, with a large book on her lap, shook her heavy hair. (Eliot)

But instead of the print, he seemed to see his wife. (Galswor­thy)

Sometimes a dash is used.


§ 4. To separate parenthetical words, groups of words,and clausesa comma, a dash, or brackets may be used. The comma is the most usual.

To occupy her mind, however, she took the jobs given her. (Galsworthy)

In fact, she marked the change in his face with satisfaction. (London)

As for my mother, both her brothers were policemen. (Lindsay)

She sang a foolish song of Gustave Charpentier's — a song born dead — and she sang it sentimentally. (Bennett)

To the hired butler (for Roger only kept maids) she spoke about the wine. (Galsworthy)

§ 5. To separate interjections a comma or an exclamation mark may be used.

Oh, Doreen didn't know anything about it. (Cusack) Ah! That's the way to make the money. (Cusack)


§ 6. To separate direct address a comma is used.

Arthur, have you thought what you are saying? (Voynich)

And run in to see me, my lad, when you have time any evening. (Voynich)


■Nîte. It should be borne in mind that a comma (or a colon) and not an exclamation mark is used in salutation in letters.

My dear Jon, we have been here now a fortnight. (Galsworthy)



Date: 2015-12-18; view: 798

<== previous page | next page ==>
Attributive appositive clauses. | Coordinate clauses joined by copulative conjunctions.
doclecture.net - lectures - 2014-2022 year. Copyright infringement or personal data (0.013 sec.)