Compare the following :
John says Smith is a fool. 2. ‘John’, says Smith, ‘is a fool.’
From these sentences it is clear that stop may alter the sense of a sentence. Punctuation means the right use of such stops.
The principal stops are:
|1. Full stop
|5. Note of Interrogation
|6. Note of Exclamation
|7. Inverted Commas
The Full Stop
The Full Stop or Period represents the longest pause. It is used :
- To mark the end of an Assertive or imperative Sentences; as,
Honesty is the best policy.
Shut the door.
- In place of parenthesis after a letter or number denoting a series; as,
a. Bread well baked. b. Meat cooked rare.
- To Separate integers from decimals in a single expression; as, 49.2 per cent, 3.96 metres.
The Comma marks the shortest pause. It is used—
- To mark off words in apposition; as,
Alexander, the conqueror of the world, began to weep.
- To mark off the nominative of address’, as,
O King I am thy humblle servant.
I tell you Madam, I have read it,
- To separate two or more parts of speech that come together; as,
Health, wealth, prudently, and honestly.
NOTE: Nowadays a Comma is generally ommitted before and.
- After an absolute construction; as,
The sun having set, they returned home. Having done his work, he went to bed.
- Before and after a Participial Phrase, provided that the Participle might be expanded into a sentence, and is not used in a merely qualifying sense; as,
The King, having defeated his enemies, returned to his country.
- To separate each pair of words of the same class or kind; as,
Rich and poor, high and low, young and old, all must die.
- To separate words, phrases or clauses inserted into the body of a sentence; as,
She did not, however, succeed in the examination.
Health is, after all, the most important thing.
Her behaviour, to say the least, was extremely rude.
- To avoid the repetition of a Verb; as
Shanta is a Sindhi; Tarabai, a Bengali.
Ali received a watch; Hari, a book.
- To separate a Subordinate Adverb Clause from the rest of the sentence;
If you have tears, prepare to shed them now.
When you are ready, we shall start.
- To separate short Co-ordinate Clauses of a Compound Sentence; as I came, I saw, I conquered.
Men may come, and men may go, but I go on for ever.
- To marie off a direct quotation from the rest of the sentence; as,
“Try, and try again,” said the teacher.
He said to us, “Wait and watch.” –
The Semicolon represents a pause greater than that indicated by the It is used—
- To separate the clauses of a Compound Sentence, if they contain commas; as,
As Caesar loved me, I weep for him; as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was yaliant, I honour him.
- To separate a series of loosely connected clauses; as,
Reading makes a full man; speaking tf feady man; writing an exact man.
The Colon represents a pause still longer than that indicated by the It is used—
- Before enumeration; as,
The three great books are : the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, and the Gita.
- To introduce a quotation It is often followed by Dash (—); as,
Shakespeare says :— “Sweet are the uses of adversity.”
The Note Of Interrogation
The Note or Interrogation is used to mark direct questions; it should not be used in Indirect Speech.
What is wrong with you?
She said, “Who is there?”
But— I asked her what her name was.
The Note Of Exclamation
The Note or Exclamation is used after Inteq’ections, Exclamatory Phrases and Exclamatory Sentences; as,
Alas! Bravo! Ah! Oh Hear!
What luck! How it rains! Well done!
Inverted Commas or Quotation Marks are used to mark the exact words of a speaker, or a quotation; as,
Shakespeare says, “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.” She said, ‘I am guilty.’
The Use of Capital Letters
A Capital Letter is used—
- To begin a sentence; as,
Work hard. Fish(es) swim. We know the way.
- To begin each fresh line of poetry; as,
Youth is lull of pleasure,
Age is full of cares.
- To begin all Proper Nouns and Adjectives formed from them; as,
December, Saturday, Mumbai, the Germans, the Chinese troops, the English language, the Turkish tobacco.
- For all Nouns and Pronouns which indicate God. O God, Thou art merciful.
- To write the Pronoun I and the Inteijection O.
Study carefully the following examples :
- spring while we are writing is here the winds blow gently the birds the flowers and the buds all proclaim the coming of spring
Punctuated Passage: Spring, while we are writing, is here. The winds blow gently. The birds, the flowers, and buds all proclaim the coming of Spring.
- the sun has set the moon has risen the stars have come out and night has arrived declared the Hermit
Punctuated Passage: “The sun has set, the moon has risen, the stars have come out and night has arrived,” declared the Hermit.
- he said why do you come here and disturb me what a nuisance you are why can’t you play somewhere else can you not see that I want to work go away at once and do not come here again
Punctuated Passage: He said, “Why do you come here and disturb me? What a nuisance you arc! Why can’t you play somewhere else? Can you not see that I want to work? Go away at once and do not come here again.”
- o friend said Ashok will you help me in this my hour of sore need yes said very gladly and even if I have to ran to the other end of the world
Punctuated Passage: “O friend,” said Ashok, “Will you help me in this my hour of sore need?” “Yes.” said 1. “very gladly and even if I have to run to the other end of the world.”
- he said to me please take your seat here oh how glad I am to see you why do you look so sad, is there anything I can do for you, you can certainly count upon me I need not assure you
Punctuated Passage: He said to me, “Please take your scat here. Oh! How glad I am to see you! Why do you look so sad? Is there anything I can do for you? You can certainly count upon me, I need not assure * you.”
Exercise 1: Rewrite these sentences, using Punctuation Marks and Capital Letters where required.
- John said i am in a hurry and cant spare time
- seema said what is the time mother is it time for me to go to school yet
- madam he said i must ask you to come with me your luggage will be taken care of
- she said hari looks terrible is he ill
- oh thats all right rama replied cheerfully give us a start lalaji I shant complain if it comes to nothing
- pathik was furious he cried if you dont get down this minute ill thrash you
- ashwani said where is the clock who took it from my bedroom have you taken it down to the kitchen
- what an easy paper said ashok it was set by a kind examiner
- on tuesday the prime minister of afghanistan reaches india
- on Christmas day uncle george gave smith a ten-shilling note
- large crowds gathered outside the red fort to see queen elizabeth
- india celebrates independence day on 15th august every year
- about the time when jahangir the mughal emperor was ruling over india a king named james the first reigned in england ‘
- the statue of liberty was presented to the united states of america by the people of france ‘
- marshal compares and contrasts the indus valley civilization with those of egypt and mesopotamia
- oh tom tom his mother would cry what is to become of you i really : dont know
- I am sorry I interrupted you replied the judge please do go on with your explanation of the error ’
- sir said the lamb you surely see the water flows from you to me how can i then make the water muddy
- nelson when he lay dying was heard to say i have done my duty england expects every man to do his duty
- they were wounded they were exhausted they were short of provisions they were half dead with cold night coming on