Punctuation in English: the most important rules and differences from Russian
Punctuation marks in the Russian and English languages coincide, the exception is, perhaps, the apostrophe, which is extremely uncharacteristic for native Russian words and inherent only in borrowings. However, the rules for using punctuation marks in English are somewhat different from the rules in Russian. Fortunately, things are a little easier with English punctuation, writes Engblog.
So, let's look at the main punctuation marks in English and the rules for their use.
Point (period / full stop)
The period is placed at the end of declarative sentences and sentences with embedded questions:
Water is important for everyone. - Water is important for everyone.
Jane asked Paul if he was hungry. Jane asked Paul if he was hungry.
In addition, the period is put in a number of abbreviations and abbreviations:
- etc. = and so on - etc .;
- eg = for example - for example;
- am - time before noon;
- pm - time in the afternoon;
- p. = page - page;
- fig. = figure - drawing or drawing;
- vol. = volume - volume;
- Dec. = December - December;
- Aug. = August - August;
- Joanne K. Rowling - Joanne K. Rowling.
and also in decimal fractions:
However, it should be noted that different spellings of abbreviations are possible in different versions of the English language (British, American). So, in American English, the dot after the words Dr., Mr., Mrs., Ms., Ph.D., B.Sc. put:
- Dr. Johnson - Dr. Johnson;
- Mr. and Mrs. Smith - Mr. and Mrs. Smith;
- Ph.D. candidate - postgraduate / doctoral student;
- B.Sc. graduate - graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree.
a in British no:
- Dr Jekyll - Dr. Jekyll;
- Mr Hyde - Mr Hyde;
- Ms Marple - Miss Marple
- PhD student - postgraduate student.
The question mark in English, as well as in Russian, is placed at the end of interrogative sentences, including in direct speech:
- When is your birthday? - When's your birthday?
- Did you like the movie? - Did you like the film?
- "May I come in?" she asked. - "May I come in?" She asked.
With the exclamation mark, everything is also simple: it conveys the emotional state of the speaker and is placed at the end of sentences and statements expressing positive or negative feelings and emotions:
- Wow! You look fantastic! - Wow! You look amazing!
- Oh no! The shop's already closed! What a pity! - Oh no! The store has already closed! Very sorry!
- Oh my God! There is a huge spider over there! - Oh my God! There is a huge spider!
Often, an exclamation mark can be seen in orders and rather emotional requests (as a rule, they are expressed in an imperative mood):
- Stop talking! - Stop talking!
- Don't listen to him! - Do not listen to him!
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At the same time, do not forget that in English, a comma is used instead of an exclamation mark in addresses (for example: "Dear friend", "Dear colleagues", etc.) at the beginning of letters, announcements, messages:
I was so glad to see you at my birthday party ...
I was very happy to see you at my birthday party ...
Dear James, Thank you for your letter, I really enjoyed reading it…
Thank you for your letter, I read it with pleasure ...
The comma is perhaps the most common and most widely used punctuation mark in the English language. Its main purpose is to prevent misunderstanding, ambiguity or ambiguity in the statement. Thus, the place of the comma is often determined by logic.
You can evaluate the importance of the placement of commas by the example of the following sentences:
- Eats, shoots and leaves. - Eats, shoots and leaves.
- Eats shoots and leaves. - Eats shoots and leaves.
These examples are taken from the title of a book by Lynn Truss. In the first case, we are talking about a criminal, and in the second it is about a panda.
Here are examples of the most common uses of commas:
Enumeration of actions, objects, homogeneous members of the sentence (as opposed to the rules of the Russian language, a comma is often placed before the conjunction "and" if there are more than three items listed):
- The sky was clear, the sun was shining brightly. - The sky was clear, the sun was shining brightly.
- There were apples, bananas, oranges, and lemons in the lug. “There were apples, bananas, oranges and lemons in the box.
Separation of introductory words and constructions, as a rule, standing at the beginning of common sentences (does not always coincide with the arrangement of commas in Russian), as well as references:
- Unfortunately, he didn't know how to solve that problem. “Unfortunately, he didn't know how to solve that problem.
- If necessary, I'll write a more detailed report. - If necessary, I will draw up a more detailed report.
- James, thank you for your help! - Thanks for your help, James!
Separation of parts of common compound sentences in which conjunctions and, but, or (and, a, but, or) are present:
- Good teamwork can be exciting, and team leaders should inspire their subordinates. - Well-coordinated teamwork can be fun, and leaders need to inspire their people.
- Ben and Sandra have been to Paris twice, but they haven't visited any museums. - Ben and Sandra have been to Paris twice, but never visited museums.
Separation of participial and adverbial expressions, subordinate clauses at the beginning of complex sentences:
- Having done the exercises, she decided to write a composition. - After completing the exercises, she decided to write an essay.
- Being tired after a long day at work, he wanted to sleep. - Tired (being tired) from a long day at work, he wanted to sleep.
- When I come home, I'll call you back. - When I get home, I will call you back.
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If the subordinate part of a complex clause is preceded by a main clause, no comma is put:
- I'll call you back when I come home. - I'll call you back when I get home.
- We'll go for a walk if the weather is good. - We will go for a walk if the weather is good.
In addition, the comma is not placed before the conjunction "what" (that) in complex sentences and indirect speech:
- The good news is that the bad news was wrong. “The good news is that the bad news was not true.
- She said that she had lost her keys. “She said she lost her keys.
Highlighting applications, explanations:
- Simon, my former colleague, is a talented musician. - Simon, my former colleague, is a talented musician.
In addition to the cases presented above, a comma will be needed in writing full dates when separating the year from the day and month, when separating the city / town name from the country, state, region, in writing the address (except for the house number with the street name - in this case, the comma is not required ):
- They got married on April 28, 2007 - They got married on April 28, 2007.
- Beijing, China, is one of the world's largest cities. - Beijing, China, is one of the largest cities in the world.
- 20 Oxford Street, Burnaby, Vancouver, Canada. - 20 Oxford Street, Burnaby, Vancouver, Canada.
Do not forget about the comma at the end of the letter after the wording "Sincerely yours" (kind regards, sincerely yours, etc.) before the signature, as well as when listing titles and titles:
- Yours faithfully, Ella Bell - Regards, Ella Bell.
- Special thanks goes to Robert Evans, MD, and John Reid, B.Sc. - Special thanks to Robert Evans, MD, and John Reid, BSc.
This punctuation mark is used, as a rule, to connect parts of non-union compound sentences and common sentences with several commas (in the second case, a semicolon will make the statement clearer):
- Call me on Monday; I will be able to give you an answer then. - Call me on Monday, then I can give you an answer.
- Speakers from Cleveland, Ohio; Sacramento, California; Phoenix, Arizona; Seattle, Washington; and other places participated in the conference. - The conference was attended by speakers from Cleveland, Ohio, Sacramento, California, Phoenix, Arizona, Seattle, Washington, and other localities.
The colon will definitely come in handy in sentences listing objects, objects, events, in phrases with quotes, and will also clarify or supplement the statement:
- To make pancakes, you need the following ingredients: eggs, flour and milk. - In order to make pancakes, you need the following foods: eggs, flour and milk.
- The fabric of this shirt serves its purpose: to be easy to iron. - The material of this shirt matches its purpose: it is easy to iron.
Along with the colon, the dash helps explain information and highlight item lists or lists. In addition to these functions, the dash identifies explanations and insertions:
- All languages have the same aim - they communicate thoughts. - All languages have one goal - the presentation of thoughts.
- This highly efficient method - developed in Germany in the nineteenth century - was being successfully applied in many other countries. “This highly effective method — it appeared in Germany in the nineteenth century — has been used successfully in many other countries.
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In English, a hyphen is necessary to combine words into one compound concept:
- a T-shirt - T-shirt;
- an ex-girlfriend - ex-girlfriend;
- mid-July - mid-July;
- father-in-law - father-in-law / father-in-law;
- fifty-five - fifty five;
- twenty-three - twenty three;
- forget-me-not - forget-me-not;
- up-to-date - modern, relevant.
The apostrophe helps us understand that a word is missing one or more letters for contraction. With the help of an apostrophe, the possessive case of nouns, abbreviated forms of verbs is formed. We also use an apostrophe in some cases when talking about location:
- my mother's room - my mother's room;
- he isn't Italian - he is not Italian;
- she can't swim - she can't swim;
- dentist's - dentistry.
The ellipsis indicates the semantic incompleteness of the statement or the emotional state of the speaker (excitement, uncertainty, etc.):
- I think he is ... honest, but a bit inconsiderate. “I think he's… honest, but a little dismissive.
Parentheses include additional information and explanations. Their functions are very similar to the purpose of the dash:
- Samantha (a 10-year-old girl) lives next door to us. - Samantha (a girl of ten years old) lives next door to us.
This sign is used in newspapers, books, scientific papers to add author's explanations and comments to quotes:
- The victim said that he [the robber] hit her. - The victim said that he [the robber] hit her.
And also when writing transcription:
- receipt [rɪˈsiːt] - receipt, check.
Quotation marks in English are placed at the beginning and at the end of direct speech and quotes. They look somewhat different than in Russian:
- “I spoke with him yesterday,” she said, “he wanted to see you.” “I spoke to him yesterday,” she said. “He wanted to see you.”
As you can see, punctuation in English plays an essential role in the art of spelling.