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Государственное образовательное учреждение высшего профессионального образования

«Барнаульский государственный педагогический университет»

Лингвистический институт

A Guide to English Writing:

Punctuation and the Basics

Учебно-методическое пособие по письменной речи

для студентов 1-го курса английского отделения

Издание второе, исправленное

Барнаул – 2006

УДК 802.0

ББК 81.43 Англ-7-923


A Guide to English Writing: Punctuation and the Basics (учебно-методическое пособие по письменной речи для студентов 1-го курса английского отделения) / сост. И.Н. Рассолова. Изд. 2-е, испр.– БГПУ, 2006. – 49 с.

Составитель: к.ф.н., доцент И.Н. Рассолова

Рецензент: к.п.н., доцент Т.П. Глухова

Настоящее пособие представляет собой сборник материалов по обучению основам письменной речи студентов 1-го курса (очной, очно-заочной и заочной форм обучения) лингвистического института. Сборник включает основные правила употребления знаков препинания в английском языке, рекомендации по написанию писем и резюме, упражнения и задания для развития навыков письменной речи.

Пособие предназначено для самостоятельной работы студентов (в конце сборника приводятся ключи), а также предусматривает работу под руководством преподавателя, который определяет правильность выполнения контрольных упражнений (for checking in class) и заданий по написанию писем и резюме.

Сборник также может быть использован на других факультетах высших учебных заведений и курсах по обучению английскому языку.

© Барнаульский государственный

педагогический университет, 2006

© И.Н. Рассолова, 2006


1. English punctuation ……………………………………………….

Capital letters………………………………………………………….

Full Stop……………………………………………………………….

Question mark………………………………………………………….

Exclamation mark……………………………………………………..





The Hyphen……………………………………………………………


Round brackets………………………………………………………..

Square brackets………………………………………………………..


Quotation marks……………………………………………………….

2. Types of sentences………………………………………………….

Independent clauses……………………………………………………

Dependent clauses……………………………………………………..

3. Writing letters and a curriculum vitae………………………….

Informal letter………………………………………………………….

Formal letter……………………………………………………………

Curriculum vitae..………………………………………………………

4. Keys…………………………………………………………………

5. Literature…………………………………………………………..

























English punctuation . Full stop (point, Am. E. Period)

? question mark

! exclamation mark (Am. E. exclamation point)

… ellipses

, comma

; semicolon

: colon

- hyphen

– dash

( ) round brackets (Am. E. parentheses)

[ ] square brackets

’ apostrophe

“ ” quotation marks (inverted commas)

Capital Letters

● Capitalize the first word of every sentence.

They walked slowly around the courtyard. The band was barely audible.

● Capitalize the names of specific people, places, and things.

The President of the United States lives in the White House.

The president of our university lives in a white house.

The Alps are very impressive mountains.

He was parked diagonally across, right near the Ritz.

● Capitalize the pronoun “I”. Do not capitalize the other personal pronouns unless they are at the beginning of the sentence.

When I was your age, there was no TV.

● Capitalize all adjectives derived from specific names (countries, nationalities).

Russian food is very different from Mexican food.

I’ll run you over the Italian border.

● Capitalize the days of the week, the months of the year, and holidays. Do not capitalize the seasons.

We celebrate Thanksgiving Day on the fourth Thursday in November.

It is a popular autumn holiday.

● Capitalize all personal titles and abbreviations of titles that precede names. Do not capitalize the title when it is used without a name.

The students applauded when President DeWitt introduced Professor Barnes.

The professor walked up to the stage to shake hands with the president.

● Capitalize all words that refer to God, religions, and denominations.

The Bible tells of God’s love for His people.

God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost were celebrated in special Mass.

The Veda is the body of Hindu sacred writings.

● Capitalize the first words and all notional words in the titles of books, magazines, newspapers, articles, essays, poems, movies, and works of art.

Didn’t you read the Herald this morning?

Exercise 1. Use capital letters where necessary.

  1. it was a warm spring day, a tuesday, i think.

  2. we finally got to the west end, the center of london.

  3. she was born in hungary but she is polish now. she speaks polish and


  1. is she protestant or catholic?

  2. halloween is celebrated in both the united states and the united


  1. i am waiting for dr morris.

  2. the christian bible has another 27 parts called the new testament,

which tell the story of jesus christ.

  1. jamaica is an island in the caribbean sea.

  2. my favourite book is jane eyre by charlotte brontë.

10. on the way to work i bought the times.

11. i especially loathed that indian thing she carried for a handbag.

12. it was one of those april afternoons when you’d believe spring might

finally reach cambridge.

13. harvard is like santa’s christmas bag.

  1. let me tell you that was some picture of yours – that daddy’s girl. i

saw it in paris.

Exercise 2. Write the following extract from the commentary on the book “Love Story” by Erich Segal, using capital letters where they are needed.

love story was phenomenally successful when first published. it was at the top of the new york times best seller list for nine months. it became an equally popular movie that captured the hearts of america. love story’s setting is harvard university, the oldest and most prestigious university in the united states, founded in the 1600’s. harvard, similar to yale university, is a privately - owned institution, attended by the very brightest young minds.

Exercise 3. Use capital letters where necessary (for checking in class).

1. in the fall of my senior year, i got into the habit of studying at the

radcliffe library.

2. she loved mozart and bach. and the beatles.

3. ‘i’m jennifer cavilleri,’ she said, ‘an american of italian descent’.

4. we were sitting in my room on a sunday afternoon, reading.

5. ‘aren’t you a good catholic girl?’ i asked.

6. the four finalists had been chosen through an official ballot of

students, printed in the grapevine, paradiso high’s student newspaper.

7. the koran is the holy book of islam, which contains the main rules

and beliefs of the muslim religion.

8. i was right, i found the story in time magazine.

9. this is indian territory, and i’m one of the indians.

10. presidents’ day is a us public holiday in february celebrating the

birthdays of presidents george washington and abraham lincoln.

Full stop (Am. E. period)

A full stop is used in the following cases:

● at the end of a declarative sentence;

● to mark the end of indirect questions;

● between dollars and cents, pounds and pence: $ 4.75; ₤ 3.40;

● to indicate decimals: 0.85;

● with abbreviations that end in a lower-case letter, e.g.:

  • titles: Capt., Hon., Prof.;

  • months: Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec.;

  • other uses: i.e., e.g., a.m., p.m., vol., B.C., A.D., Ave.

In British English there is a growing tendency to avoid full stops in all abbreviations, but especially in those which involve the first and last letter in the word, e.g., in British English the titles Mr, Mrs, Ms, Dr are not followed by a full stop.

The British also now tend to avoid full stops after initials, so many people write: Dr J Jones.

Americans generally prefer: Dr. J. Jones, T.S. Elliot, John F. Kennedy.

The names of organizations have capital letters but no full stops when they are written as initials: NATO, FBI, IRS.

Question Mark (?)

● Use a question mark after a direct question.

What are you doing here?

● Do not use a question mark after a reported or indirect question.

He asked me how he could get to the railway station.

Exclamation mark (!) (Am. E. exclamation point)

● Use an exclamation mark after a sentence that expresses strong emotion or unusual emphasis.

I have won the lottery!

Call an ambulance!

Ellipses (…)

● Ellipses are three spaced full stops that are used to indicate omissions within quotations.

In his classic essay on James Fenimore Cooper’s prose style, Mark Twain reminds us that ‘… an author’s way of setting forth his matter is called his style ….’

The ellipses indicate that the writer is using only part of Twain’s sentence.

Notice that the final ellipsis includes an extra full stop to conclude the writer’s own sentence.

All at once a great storm arose on the lake ….

Question marks and exclamation marks are sometimes combined with ellipses (?… and !…).

The men were astonished at what had happened and exclaimed, “What sort of man is this?…”’ (If the question mark were omitted, the meaning of the quotation would be obscured.)

So they came and woke Him up, crying, “Save us, Lord!”…’ (The exclamation mark is retained to preserve the meaning of the quotation.)

● Sometimes ellipses are used to show dramatic pauses in a sentence.

NASA had just announced that he no longer had … the right stuff.

Comma (,)

● Use a comma to separate items (words, phrases, clauses) in a series.

The colours of our flag are white, blue and red.

Today the students are using computers when they study, when they work, and when they play.

Notice that the comma before the “and” that connects the last two items is optional.

● Do not use a comma if every item in a series is joined with a connector.

He ate bacon and eggs and toast and jam for breakfast.

● Use a comma to separate the items in an address or date.

16 Brotherton Avenue, Dorchester, Dorset;

25 September, 2004;

On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Commas are used with full dates (i.e., month, day, and year) but may be omitted with partial dates (i.e., month and year).

And it was on July 4, 1962, that the seven Mercury astronauts moved to Houston.

In June 1983 Willie Scott decided to give New York a try.

Commas are required between most of the elements in place names and addresses.

Writing Lab, University of California, Riverside

But a comma is not used between state and zip code.

5625 Waverly Avenue, La Jolla, California 92037

● Use a comma in direct address.

How do you do, lawyer?

May I explain, Phil?

Actually, Father, I haven’t decided on law school.

● Use a comma after a non-finite or verbless clause at the beginning of the sentence.

To get there on time, she left half an hour early.

Happy and contented, the cat fell asleep.

● Use a comma to separate an introductory word or phrase (e.g. therefore, however, by the way, for instance, moreover, besides, firstly, actually). It is essential after long phrases, and to avoid ambiguity.

In fact, I don’t even know her name.

As usual, there was one objection.

At about eleven-thirty, I walked him to his car.

After all these years, she knew the story by heart.

● Use a comma after a subordinate clause, which comes before the main clause.

As she walked into the bar, there was music.

When she turned the corner, she saw him having coffee with Evelyn at her desk.

● Use a comma before and after a relative clause, or phrase in apposition, which gives more information about the noun it follows.

The Pennine Hills, which have been a favourite with hikers for many years, are situated between Lancashire and Yorkshire.

Queen Elizabeth ΙΙ, a very popular monarch, celebrated her Silver Jubilee in 1977.

● Use a comma before and after any element which interrupts the sentence.

The fire, although it had been burning for several hours, was still blazing fiercely.

You should, indeed you must, report the matter to the police.

Exercise 4. Punctuate the following sentences correctly. You will need to use commas, capital letters, full stops, exclamation marks, question marks and ellipses.

  1. for christ’s sake barrett is this your first date

  2. what a beautiful garden

  3. doubtless mother was sizing up jennifer checking out her costume her

posture her demeanor her accent

  1. actually i missed the turn off myself that afternoon

  2. i i don’t feel very well

  3. then the swiss sold it to the italians

  4. god what a picture

  5. we drove the rest of the way in silence parked and walked up to the

front door

  1. at that moment his mobile phone rang

  2. oh i don’t think

  3. he got out of his bmw walked forward and leaned over the figure on the


  1. he lives at 24 london road leeds yorkshire

Exercise 5. Punctuate the sentences (for checking in class).

  1. i am sorry that i disobeyed you brother

  2. was it was it jess

  3. bob was pretending to read the new republic

  4. suddenly he grimaced in pain and moved convulsively

  5. bell showered in the second bathroom then dressed in a white shirt blue

tie and an easy-fitting dark suit

  1. thanks for driving me to school father

  2. did she remove her glasses during the national anthem out of respect for

the flag

  1. george and kate joined them eventually in the wheelhouse drank mugs

of tea and listened to dillon

  1. inevitably they would drop away into the past

  2. she dialed the combination thinking lockers were pretty useless in a

small school where everybody knew every

  1. she started the ferrari backed out of her parking space and headed

toward the exit

  1. you do not care for him do you


● An appositive is a word or phrase that provides extra information about a noun. It always directly follows the noun and is set off by commas if the meaning of the sentence is clear without it.

Leanne, Hope’s mother, wouldn’t be too happy about it.

If an appositive is omitted, the sentence still is logical and coherent.

Leanne wouldn’t be too happy about it.

● Often two sentences can be combined using an appositive, the combined sentences are usually more interesting and give maturity to your writing.

Mr Stacy is my teacher. He speaks ten languages.

Mr Stacy, my teacher, speaks ten languages.

● Notice that commas set off (that is, surround) the appositive word or phrase. Also, notice that the appositive reduces the number of words by taking out a subject (he) and a verb (is).

● Remember that the information is set off by commas if it is extra information.

The building you are looking for is the last one on the left. (No commas are used.)

Exercise 6. Read the following sentences and use the correct punctuation. Pay special attention to the use of appositives.

  1. the sun comfortably warm this morning had turned almost fiercely hot

  2. paula his nine year old was in constant training to take over as his wife

  3. the high school a two story mission style building with lime washed

stucco walls and a terra cotta roof was surrounded by lush green lawns

  1. jenny had once told me she had been raised by her father some sort of a

baker type in cranston rhode island

  1. the door was opened by florence a devoted and antique servant of the

barrett family

  1. guiliano the manager greeted him warmly

  2. mr turner head of the firm spent a few days there waiting for a ship

  3. these stories by w s maugham the famous short story writer are very


  1. edmund halley head of greenwich observatory was among them too

10. gogol the great russian writer was born in the ukraine in 1809

11. clare the colored maid found the door locked at ten the next day

12. the gentleman and i use the term loosely is lord gravely a life peer

who inhabits the house of lords and does little good there

13. her art teacher mr woolery is on the selection committee too

14. hope walked past the church of christ a gleaming white clapboard


Exercise 7. Combine the following sentences using appositives.

  1. My friend Michael is a student at a German university. He has come to

visit me.

  1. Renee Henderson was a big, strong and healthy girl. She turned to

Lacey and cried in horror, ‘You wouldn’t!’

3. Our new clerk entered the office. He was a young man about twenty.

4. I’m sure you know Alfred Hard. He is a professor at London University.

5. Robert Shannon was a little Irish orphan. He lived in the family of his


6. The day of our departure was Monday. It was rainy and cold.

7. I want to introduce you to Ann Smith. She is a great friend of mine.

8. Hamlet is an immortal tragedy by Shakespeare. It was written in the

first years of the 17th century.

9. The owner of the house is Mr Morison. He was burnt in the face.

10.The work has been done by John Thompson. He is one of the most

talented engineers at our factory.

Colons (:)

● Colons serve a variety of conventional purposes: separating hours from minutes when reporting time, chapter from verse when citing the Bible, titles from subtitles when identifying a book or article.

4: 30 p.m.

Genesis 2: 3, Matthew 4: 1-6

The Living Planet: A Portrait of the Earth

● Use a colon to introduce a list at the end of a sentence:

He loves only three things: his car, his boat, and himself.

● Note that before a colon, there must be an introductory word such as things, or characteristics, or problems.

● Use a colon after the salutation (greeting) in a formal business letter.

Dear Professor Brown:

Dear Sirs:

Exercise 8. Insert colons and other punctuation marks where appropriate in the following sentences.

  1. There are two kinds of people in this world those who don’t attract mosquitoes and those who do.

  2. Stacked neatly on my bed is my ensemble a basic dress reversible skirt slacks blouse jacket shorts T-shirt vest two scarves cap with a bill and jumpsuit for airline travel plus underwear and a few toiletries.

  3. My favorite dessert is a compote of four fruits apples pears peaches and plums.

  4. If you really want to lose weight, you need give up only three things breakfast lunch and dinner.

  5. Our club has four standing committees Budget Ceremonies Personnel and Awards.

  6. In the past century vaccines have been developed for five diseases diphtheria measles polio typhoid fever and whooping cough.

  7. Two characteristics aided Einstein in his work his curiosity and his ability to concentrate.

  8. At around 3 05 the buzz of anticipation by the spectators became hushed.

  9. Wills have been written on unusual surfaces napkins wallpaper hospital charts and even the side of a corncrib.

  10. This is rooted in the genres of art which the French Academy established in the 1600s, namely landscape still life the nude and history.

The Hyphen (-)

● Use a hyphen with compound numbers:

twenty-eight, thirty-seven, fifty-one, seventy-three

● Use a hyphen for compound words when your dictionary indicates the hyphen is necessary for correct spelling:

daughter-in-law, hide-and-seek, man-of-war

● Hyphenate compound modifiers before a noun.

after-school activities, fast-growing business

● Do not hyphenate compound modifiers that follow a noun.

activities after school

● Do not hyphenate compound modifiers that are made up of an adverb ending in –ly and an adjective.

rapidly growing business

● Hyphenate compounds made up of prefixes and proper nouns.

un-American, anti-American, pro-American

● Hyphenate compounds beginning with ex- or self-.

ex-husband, self-motivated

● Use a hyphen to divide a word at the end of a typed or written line. Use the following guidelines:

  1. Divide only at syllable boundaries (break words only between syllables):

iden-tify, infor-mation, go-ing, height-en

Break words with prefixes or suffixes between the root and the prefix or suffix.

re-vision, dis-satisfied, honor-able, ego-ism, pre-tend-er

  1. Do not divide a one-syllable word.

  2. Do not divide a contraction.

  3. Do not divide numbers written in numerical terms:


Exercise 9. Divide the words below as you would at the end of a line.

1. growing

11. proper

2. shop

12. skilful

3. rewind

13. trustworthy

4. disappear

14. doesn’t

5. broaden

15. 13,600,301

6. haven’t

16. Friday

7. mare

17. better

8. eighty

18. diver

9. hedgehog

19. university

10. peculiar

20. promotion

Dashes (―)

● Use dashes to indicate an abrupt or sudden interruption of your idea.

His anger ― or was it his fear ― caused him to speak rudely.

● Use dashes to set off an appositive.

The scholarship ― one of only three offered by the university ― was awarded to Hassan.

● Dashes are used to set off or introduce a list of parallel items.

After a week in Glitter Gulch, I began to exhibit symptoms of physical deprivation – nervous tension, disorientation, insomnia, loss of appetite – which seemed inappropriate in a town geared exclusively to self-indulgence.

● The dash can be used to punctuate a major sentence element that begins by repeating and defining some earlier word in the sentence. In these sentences the material set off by the dash is usually longer than the base sentence preceding it.

She had a slender, small body but a large heart – a heart so large that everybody’s joys found welcome in it and hospitable accommodation.

● Dashes are often used to insert – and set off – a full sentence within a sentence. Generally such sentences contain commentary or explanation.

Scott did not stop talking and since I was embarrassed by what he said – it was all about my writing and how great it was – I kept on looking at him closely and noticed instead of listening.

● Do not overuse dashes. Generally, a comma is just as effective.

Exercise 10. Punctuate the sentences paying special attention to the use of dashes.

  1. If there was one thing that made Daddy mad really normally mad it was Lacey’s traffic tickets.

  2. We were in Lake Forest that’s a summer place near Chicago where we have a place and she was out all day playing golf or tennis with boys.

  3. The dualism in his views of her that of the husband that of the psychiatrist was increasingly paralyzing his faculties.

  4. They’d buy a little house nothing fancy but very warm and cozy and April would begin to paint as soon as the baby was born.

  5. Their son it would be a boy baby of course would grow up strong and smart.

  6. Again Hope got that deep-down feeling that something bad was bound to come out of this feud something even worse than what had already happened.

  7. To Raven it looked like the bird in Birds of America red breasted with patches of gray white and red but she wouldn’t be certain until she matched it with the picture in the book.

  8. But now she had something important to do very important.

  9. But perhaps they’ll think I ought to go to a quiet place at first perhaps Como.

10. You’ll supply me with a boat a sport Fisherman will do and someone

to pilot it.

11. I put my hand on her forearm Christ so thin and gave it a little squeeze.

Exercise 11. Punctuate the sentences. Use colons, the hyphen, dashes and other punctuation marks (to be checked in class).

  1. but in spite of all this adult bad mouthing or maybe because of it the two girls were friends

  2. hope began preparing her usual breakfast six strips of bacon two scrambled eggs and three dinner plate size pancakes all of which bacon too she would drench with sacramento valley honey

  3. it’s happened to me before but never like this so accidental just when everything was going well

  4. what can you say about a twenty five year old girl who died

  5. over the years they had produced four children paul the eldest michael george and kate

  6. i haven’t seen a paper lately but i suppose there is a war there always is

  7. everything else was white couch dressing table armoire and walls

  8. lacey’s reaction her coolness her little half smirk was devastating

  9. kiki’s own dad dominick but everyone called him dom wore old blue jeans and flannel shirts to work

10. if we don’t make a statement and i mean a big statement the great powers will never understand

Round brackets ( ) (Am. E. parentheses)

● Round brackets enclose interrupting material in sentences. Sometimes dashes and round brackets are interchangeable, but usually the dash is for material that causes a stronger break in the rhythm and meaning of the sentence.

● Round brackets are used to insert numbers, dates, and acronyms.

Berkeley is one of America’s most lively, culturally diverse, and politically adventurous small cities (population 103,000).

The octagon and related geometry of the bay window were more fully expressed in the Theodore P. Gordon house (1897).

In recent years, the Federal Government has made available low-interest educational loans through the Guaranteed Student Loan (GSL) program to undergraduates who are United States citizens or permanent residents.

● Round brackets are used for the numbers in numbered lists.

There should be a way to salvage your literary reputation by gaining points for (1) thumbing through a book enough to get the drift, (2) seeing the movie, and (3) soaking up the plot by hearsay, thus allowing you to venture bold opinions at parties.

● Round brackets are used to insert facts, examples, and definitions. The insertion can be a word, a phrase, or a sentence.

The problem is that in the next quarter-century the population of Egypt will grow to something like seventy (from thirty-seven) million.

● Round brackets are sometimes used to enclose comments and elaboration.

He picks his moment, leaps, arches his back (ball behind his head), scores.

● Sometimes a parenthetical text can be presented as a completely separate sentence.

I left America because I doubted my ability to survive the fury of the color problem here. (Sometimes I still do.)

Exercise 12. Insert round brackets and other punctuation marks where appropriate in the following sentences.

  1. When my children get their own literary agent and it is only a matter of time, the first chapter in their Dearest book will record this moment in great detail.

  2. He is usually an evil-looking man or woman with crazy eyes.

  3. Later, when we talked of the experience and God how he talked of it, the concern wasn’t that my husband was going to die alone, it was the agony of paying all that money to stare at ugly wall paper all day.

  4. Throughout the years I have set up my own rules for eating or not eating food.

  5. An announcement was made later that someone had been smoking in the exercise room how’s that for irony and set off the smoke alarm that triggered the bells to abandon ship.

  6. I think I’m going with A group and watch glaciers calve I have no idea what it is from the Million Dollar Bridge.

  7. After two more calls we realized everyone was driving his car on the wrong left side of the road.

  8. Members of street and motorcycle gangs may identify themselves and each other with a tattooed device.

  9. EFL English as a Foreign Language publishers haven’t been slow to respond to this change in demand.

10. During the years I have been traveling, I have paid possibly $ 700 and

that’s a conservative figure to get back my garment bag that originally

cost $ 60.

Square Brackets [ ]

● Square brackets are used to insert editorial notations into a quotation and to enclose parenthetical material within text that is already in round brackets.

Perhaps Alvarez is justified in claiming, “He [Mark Twain] greatly exaggerates flaws in Cooper’s prose style just to get an easy laugh from readers.”

We drove through Barrego Springs (years ago [maybe 1938] when we were still youngsters) on our way to Indio.

Exercise 13. Insert square brackets where appropriate in the following sentences.

  1. ‘That book The Great Gatsby showed Fitzgerald at the top of his form.’

  2. ‘Is it Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis” the whine of an irretrievable neurotic or is it a beautiful lament?’

  3. ‘Can you imagine a better use for it water than saving the life of a child?’

  4. ‘This sort of information about personal space seems trivial, but it does affect international understanding.’

  5. From that point on, Thomas Parker simply disappears. (His death about 1441 is unrecorded officially, but a gravestone marker is mentioned in a 1640 parish report.)

Apostrophes (’)

● One way apostrophes are used in English is to show possession or ownership. Usually persons or living things can possess or own.

Use an apostrophe s (’s) to show possession:

- with singular nouns:

A mother’s love is precious.

My brother-in-law’s car is a Porsche.

- with plural nouns that do not end in s:

The children’s parents were able to come to the meeting.

Use an apostrophe without s to show possession:

- with plural nouns that end in s:

All the students’ reports were excellent.

  • with singular nouns that end in s (The s is optional):

Charles’ new car is a Fiat. (or, Charles’s new car is a Fiat.)

The waitress’ tip was small. (or, The waitress’s tip was small.)

● Use an apostrophe to form the plurals of numbers and letters.

The e’s and o’s were smudged together.

Write your q’s so they don’t look like g’s.

Zeidi got four A’s and 2 B’s this semester.

Professor Oxfam gives too many D’s.

How many s’s are there in Mississippi?

The temperature in Kansas City often is in the high 90’s in the summer.

● Use an apostrophe to replace omitted letter or letters. These shortened forms are called contractions. Notice that the apostrophe goes in the exact place where the letters were omitted, and the two words are joined as one.

do not – don’t have not – haven’t will not – won’t

Exercise 14. Use an apostrophe in the following sentences.

  1. There s a wonderful duel in a novel of Pushkins.

  2. Two men were chanting in an Eastern language or dialect full of k s and l s.

  3. Hope s father had left when she was a baby. She didnt even remember him.

  4. Kiki had a good solid B average, but after four years of high school she could count her A s on one hand.

  5. He can t pronounce his r s.

  6. The psychologists name was Dr Toulouse.

Quotation marks (“ ”) (Inverted Commas)

● Quotation marks are used to indicate quoted speech and material quoted from another printed source, to punctuate some titles, and to mark words used in special ways.

In British English single marks (‘ ’) are used in most cases and double marks (“ ”) indicate quotations within quotations.

Susanna said, ‘Maybe we can improve the avocado’s image if we return to our old “slice it, chop it, mash it” slogan.’(Br.)

In American English double quotation marks (“ ”) are used for all purposes except quotations within quotations, which are marked by single marks (‘ ’).

Susanna said, “Maybe we can improve the avocado’s image if we return to our old ‘slice it, chop it, mash it’ slogan.” (US)

Quotation marks are always used in pairs: an opening mark and a closing mark.

Direct quotations must be set off with quotation marks.

Alice Walker writes, ‘I thank my friend June Jordan.’

When giving a direct quotation, the speaker may be identified before the quotation, after the quotation, within the quotation, or not at all if the identity of the speaker is already clear to readers. The last situation occurs most frequently in dialogue.

She said, ‘This college is very beautiful, it’s like another century.’

‘This college is very beautiful,’ she said, ‘it’s like another century.’

‘This college is very beautiful, it’s like another century,’ she said.

‘This college is very beautiful, it’s like another century.’

Notice that the first word of the quotation is capitalized, but if the quotation is broken, as in the second example, the first word after the speaker tag (she said) is not capitalized unless it actually begins a new quoted sentence, as in the following examples:

‘Of course,’ she answered sarcastically. ‘Is he as handsome as his photographs?’

‘Reading,’ she replied. ‘And I’d be grateful if you’d quit blocking my sun.’

‘Come in,’ she said. ‘Can I get you something to drink?’

● Do not use a comma after a question mark or exclamation point in the direct quotation.

‘What’s this?’ Bob asked the boy.

‘Bring him in – I’ll call a doctor!’ she shouted back.

● Notice that each time a new speaker is quoted, a new paragraph is needed.

‘Daddy, when you were my age, how much television could you watch?’ Paula glanced at Bob seductively.

‘When I was your age, there was no TV.’

‘Are you that old?’

‘What your father means,’ said Sheila, glossing Bob’s hyperbole, ‘was he knew that reading books was more rewarding.’

‘We read books in school,’ said Paula. ‘Can I watch the tube now?’

‘If all your homework is done,’ said Sheila.

Exercise 15. Punctuate the sentences. Use quotation marks, commas and question marks correctly.

  1. Are they speaking Spanish he inquired.

  2. People are saying it’s a bribe Denise related so Ruth will vote for Kiki when the committee meets.

  3. I’ll telephone you from London she told Julie.

  4. They are interesting the boy conceded but I do not think I have seen them before.

  5. After a moment she said perhaps we’ll come to Italy again next year.

  6. Trudy bring us some tea will you she called out.

  7. Let’s sit here Ray said pointing to two rockers.

You’ve cleaned up the place she said admiring the porch.

It’s all Harry Rex. He’s hired painters roofers a cleaning service. They had to sandblast the dust off the furniture but you can breathe now.

Mind if I smoke she said.


  1. I was there once he replied many years ago.

Exercise 16. Punctuate the sentences. Use commas, quotation marks, full stops, capital letters, the hyphen, and apostrophes. Slashes indicate the end of each sentence (for checking in class).

  1. can you get to boston before five the undersecretary asked/

it s almost four thirty now said bob/

i ll wait for you/

is it that important/

yes i believe so/

  1. you look stupid and rich she said removing her glasses/

you re wrong i protested/ i m actually smart and poor/

oh no preppie/ i m smart and poor/

  1. just remember doctor i commanded him just remember i want her to have the very best/

  2. democracy has its drawbacks said lacey sourly

  3. friends said mr blauvelt we are here to witness the union of two lives in marriage/

  4. may we go watch television paula asked her father/

can t you ever read a book said bob annoyed/

books are too scary paula protested/

  1. how are you girl colonel sprague asked/

  2. philip said his daughter could you imagine any situation in which i would shut up/

  3. are you rich enough to pay for a taxi she asked/

10. it s a treatment that slows cell destruction he explained but as jenny

knows there can be unpleasant side effects/

11. what a day lacey complained/

12. he hasn t changed a bit leanne continued in a tiny voice/

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