Punctuation_Packet-1[1] - Punctuation and Sentence Style...

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Punctuation and Sentence Style English 150 Debbie Harrison Parts of this information are taken from Modern American Usage Exercises by Debbie Harrison and Don Norton, and are used with permission from BYU Department of Independent Study.
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Punctuation Punctuation is not just a bunch of rules people came up with to annoy us. Good punctuation is actually an art, and an art worth learning since it can add meaning to what we write. Of course there are guidelines and bounds that surround each punctuation mark, but there are also choices available within these guidelines that help us as writers be more clear or add nuances of meaning. And the choices we make, whether to tug the reader along with a colon or stop the reader with a period, change how our readers understand the message we are conveying. Given that punctuation is actually part of our meaning, it makes sense to understand the boundaries of each mark. And it is easier to understand the boundaries when we study punctuation marks within the context of the functions they perform rather than only as isolated marks. There are four basic functions which punctuation marks perform: Linking Separating Enclosing Omitting Looking at the function of punctuation marks makes it easier to make the best choice. For instance, it is usually better to ask “Which linking mark will best connect these ideas together,” than to ask “What punctuation mark is right here; often there are several correct choices, but only one satisfactory choice for the intended meaning of the sentence. These functions, and the marks used to perform them, are explained on the next pages, with examples. NOTE: The following explanations are not intended to be a complete list of all the rules or ins-and-outs of all the punctuation marks. They are, however, intended to be a good beginning foundation for the boundaries of the punctuation marks. For further knowledge on the individual punctuation marks, consult a good English handbook. The chapters and pages (indicated in italics after each punctuation mark) refer to Lester Faigley’s The Brief Penguin Handbook , 2 nd edition, for more information. 2
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Linking Marks The Semicolon (Ch. 39a-b, pp. 484-487) 1. Links two complete sentences that are closely related and of equal value The boys mowed and edged the lawn; the girls weeded and planted flowers. Susan cooks all the meals; Rachel does all the dishes. I love to eat out for dinner; however, I can’t afford to do it very often because it is so expensive. 2. Links word groups together when each word group already contains commas or other punctuation such that the groupings could become confusing. The officers are Mary Boyce, president; John Kelly, vice-president; Marjorie Withers, Secretary; Ken Smoot, treasurer.
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