- punctuation exercise
A few short rules for using commas:
1. Comma does not replace the
e.g. He came to town. He was looking for
2. Comma after an introductory
word or phrase:
However, we may yet go on to see the
If I never went there again, I would enjoy the
3. Comma around the name or title
of the person addressed:
Mr. Jones, do you do maintenance work
Would you mind, Professor, looking at my essay
4. Comma introduces direct speech
& separates it from indirect:
He said, "I know you, don't I?"
"Come here now!" she demanded, inferring that I
5. Comma after Yes and
No, you can't have another ice cream
6. Comma separates
No one knows me here, least of all the guest of
However hard I try, I never seem to get the hang
7. Commas short separate items in
Remember to bring pen, book, ruler and compass to
8. Comma eliminates
If you would like to shoot the attendant will
demonstrate the rifle to you.
9. Comma is used in dates: 5th
10. Comma must NOT separate
subject and its verb:
Comparing the problems faced by couples 50 years
ago with today's marrieds' (no comma here) backs up the results of
the recent survey.
11. Do not separate the relative
clause from its antecedent:
There is no longer shame attached to a broken
marriage (no comma here) which is evident by the large number of
12. A comma SHOULD be used before
"and" to break up a very long
A woman is accepted as being a person in her own
right, and as Mr. Messenger mentions about those marrying for the
first time, both partners are serious about the commitment associated
March 13, 1993 6:42 PM
APOSTROPHES . .
are used to show OMISSION and
a. OMISSION: letter or letters left
Contractions: can't , wouldn't, won't, he'll,
RULE 1. add ('s) to singular nouns
a week's holiday
a father's cares (see * below
RULE 2. add ('s) to plurals not ending in
RULE 3. add (') to plurals ending in
four boys' books = the books of four
ten days' holiday = a holiday of ten
the Joneses' dog = the dog of the
PROCEED ALONG THESE STEPS:
1. say what you want to say (give the other side
of the equation)
so - the books of four boys
2. then add the sign of possession
- here rule 3 so boys' books
THE ONE AND ONLY EXCEPTION IN THE ENGLISH
it's = it is (It's cold today, isn't
I've got it by its tail. (= the tale of it
[note no apostrophe].)
WHY MAKE THE EXCEPTION?: so its cannot be
confused with it's.
of it = its it's = it is
* NOTE IN USING RULE 1
We do simplify (knock off the final s) if the
result of using this rule is not euphonic (pleasant to say or hear).
the King James' Bible
Jesus' parables (not Jesus's sandals)
Socrates' stories (not Socrates's
Mel Brooks' film (not Mel Brooks's
PRACTISE WITH THESE:
a days leave
a boys schoolbag
I read Jesus sayings
No ones to blame.
Guess whos coming to dinner.
Is this mine or yours?
To say "could of" and "had of" is incorrect for
reasons of grammar.
Correct this error in the following:
- 1. Snook could of been thrown unconscious in
- 2. Peter Brock must of been a good mechanic
- 3. No one knows who would of been there that
evening without an invitation list.
- 4. He would of been going if he knew we were
- 5. We must of been driving too fast around
NOW STUDY THESE EXAMPLES:
Must've = must have; and could've = could have.
Do not confuse this with the above.
- 6. He must've had a good time at the Ekka.
- 7. We thought he couldn't've had a ice cream
- 8. We would've known if he'd've made it on
time. = _____________________
- 9. They must not've known we were staying in
the next street.= ___________
- 10. Wouldn't you think they'd've guessed it!
Now write some of your own:
DIRECT AND INDIRECT SPEECH
Talking marks indicate that the speaker is being
quoted - we read the very words that were said hence it is called
direct speech .. Otherwise the writer is reporting the conversation -
this is indirect speech .
Say whether direct or indirect speech and
punctuate accordingly if necessary.
1. When I started speaking to Jeff I said where
we would sleep.
2. We found a lot of inscriptions that said that
the Pharoah was divine.
3. We read the inscriptions that said the Pharoah
4. You would never know that Mr. Fuji is actually
What do you notice here? Clearly the tense of
the verb is an indicator; the speaker speaks in the present tense ,
the reporter in the past tense. Words of reference used in direct
speech are not "that" and "those" but "this" and
PUNCTUATE THE FOLLOWING
PUTTING IN THE CAPITALS ESPECIALLY:
Last christmas, we, the jones family, met up with
all the smiths and drove off up the hume highway to goulburn and
sydney. It was a wednesday I remember because it was my birthday and
we were to stay at the holiday roadside motel in sydney's southern
Along the way I read a book entitled the longest
voyage, by allan jones, our distant cousin who lives in the united
kingdom and works as a writer in a town in kent called
My sister read the age and the australian, and
together we made up a crossword of all the towns along the way. We
even remembered the names of matthew flinders' ship, bass's small
boat, the tom thumb, and captain cook's endeavour as they were all
needed for the crossword.
Once in Dubbo, we went to the no-fences zoo there
and saw four hyenas, two giraffes, a herd of dirty elephants and any
number of strange looking waterfowl and snakes. The cobras and the
smiths did not agree at all; mrs smith just shrieked her head off in
the snake display.
anyway we finally got to our motel in sutherland
and saw on tv the adventurer, David attenborough, telling us about
the north and south poles and how he flew in a southerly direction
across the andes in south america. i'm glad i was safe here in
on saturday, We went fishing in sydney harbour
looking for leather jackets, groper, small sharks and bream, but all
we caught was a old coat and a big appetite. We bought our tea at
luna park before strolling along bondi beach promenade on our way
back to sutherland.
Reference: Fowler's Modern English Usage
2nd edition Oxford 1986.
"I am in revolt about your hyphens . . . One must
regard the hyphen as a blemish to be avoided whenever possible." Sir
So the general rule is don't use
1. But ambiguities must be avoided:
two year old horses or two-year-old
three quarter hour intervals or
2. Convention demands we use them in some
stick-in-the-mud, red-hot mufflers,
ex-Prime Minister, our up-to-the-minute news
service, our balance-of-payments problem.
3. Combinations without hyphens are increasingly
bookkeeper, housemaster, pallbearer,
cooperative, preeminent; but sea air and sea urchin are unpleasant
and better kept as two words (unless in a list such as: "We
collected many shells at the beach, notably those of sea-urchins,
pippies and other such molluscs.")
4. Hyphens are used in lists and carried on
four- and six-cylinder cars, whole-
or part-time workers are OK,
but "un- or mis-managed by bureaucrats" is
So use them very sparingly. Consider these: Is it
better to write:
a give-and-take situation or a give
and take situation?
rock and roll or rock-and-roll?
a far off look or a far-off lake?
"His take-off of Elvis" is OK;
"on the off-chance" is but "off chance" is
cobweb covered or cobweb-covered;
a blood-stained shirt, my ruck
"the no-longer-hurting garters" is fine but
the no-longer-functioning door is a mouthful.
"Oh-so-old" is not usual so the words may need
to be separated.
Clouds overhead is better than clouds
5. "A strange looking object" is more modern
English, without the hyphen.
dance-like is acceptable as so is
likewise (without the hyphen)!
leather bound is perfectly understandable
a win-win situation is the accepted
It is better to use hyphens only to eliminate
© G. Smith 1993
LINK WORDS EFFECTIVELY
"See that sentence by sentence the meaning is
carried forward through the paragraph."
Wheeler and Walshe Mastering English. We
do this by signalling our direction to the reader by using link
Insert your selections from the following
but, although, though, even though, however,
nonetheless, on the one hand ... on the other, and yet, therefore,
firstly .. secondly ..., so, then, furthermore.
- 1. We went shopping in the sales
...................... we knew we needed very little.
- 2. The Indians pounced upon the wagon train
......... the cavalry were close behind.
- 3. The sun rises every day .... I expect it
will tomorrow too.
- 4. Even at Toastmasters he was nervous
........................... he had prepared his speech well in
- 5. The alibi sticks ...................... we
have to let him go free.
- 6. ................... let me welcome you all
here tonight, and ................. allow me to introduce our
guest speaker for the evening.
- 7. The thief entered the flat ........... he
proceeded to ransack it.
- 8. Storm clouds gathered,
...................... we were able to have one last swim before
leaving the Coast.
- 9. Dangers abound around us on the road,
........................ we continue to build more cars at
- 10. He filled the public gallery, stacked the
party, bought votes, made wild promises, pork-barrelled widely
........................ went on to do good things for his
electorate. It was an amazing rise to fame.
Brisbane's public transport needs are very
great. With a rapidly increasing population, all systems are stressed
to meet the needs of the travelling public. The railway system will
need new rolling stock like on the new Gold Coast line. Brisbane
deserves an integrated bus timetable system. Brisbane's taxi supply
is widely regarded as not meeting clients' needs even now. The
roadways themselves are in great need of upgrading to cater for
increased freight and passenger traffic into the next century.
Brisbane will need more money for its transport infrastructure for
the next century.
Organising idea is a plural noun, "needs" =
paragraph lists the details
Round off with the point of the paragraph = here,
needs = a plea for finance.
"Infrastructure" acts as a springboard for the
next paragraph, linking paragraphs.
Recapitulation or "peroration" = a summing up, a bringing together
of the main themes, a reinforcement of the central topic, a final
An effective conclusion shoul leave listeners & readers in no
doubt about why you are advocating the view or product you are
It is memorable - that is, listeners will remember this if nothing
It is short - just 2 or 3 sentences, a mere 10% of the total.
It is a summary and summation. It has no new sources, or experts
or evidence, no lists, no quotations. It is patronising to say "as I
said before"; just say it again for those who have just woken up.
You want to end with hope, a rising tone, something to applaud
when you finish. Leave them satisfied. A successful conclusion ties
up loose ends, clears up misunderstandings, it is never negative, it
makes listeners feel good.
A. Pauley/ G. Smith 1999
Passed/ pass/ past Insert
the right word for the context.
past - adjective and preposition
pass - verb, present tense
passing - present participle
passed - a past participle
1. History records ___________ events.
2. Every time the racing car __________ the post,
the crowd cheered.
3. Some governments are elected on a first
_________ the post system.
4. Every time I ____________ the haunted house, I
feel a chill.
5. The good student ____________ all her exams
with flying colours.
6. I called in as I was just ______________
7. _______________ exams entails studying hard
8. The parents _____________ on their customs to
9. Like ships in the night, the two ____________
each other unaware of the other.
10. The cadets marched well in their
______________ out parade.
11. The Olympic torch bearers ______________ on
the torch at every station.
12. I was saddened to hear of her
13. Please ____________ on my regards to our
14. _______ me the salt please!
15. Everyone needs a ___________-out to re-enter
G. Smith 2007
Smith 1998 To web 26/1/99
Started September 25, 1990 addition