Punctuation Marks Part 3

Punctuation Marks Part 3


Apostrophe (')


   - An apostrophe is used to show a contraction or possession.


   - We use an apostrophe to show that there are missing letters in contractions. 

  • Don't worry, it won't rain. (Don't = Do not; won't = will not)

  • It's raining. (It's = It is)

(Note that it's is a contraction of it is or it has.)


   - We use an apostrophe after a noun (normally a person, animal or group) with the letter s to show that the noun owns someone or something.

  • Tom's parents live in Liverpool. 

Singular or plural

   - We use ('s) when the possessor is singular.

  • July's mother is going to China.

   - We use ('s) when the possessor is a plural noun that does not end in s. But when a plural noun ends in s, we put the apostrophe after the s (s').

  • My uncle writes children's books. 

  • This is a picture of my parents' house.

   - When a singular noun ends in s, we generally use ('s).

  • He has a collection of Dickens's novels.


                                                  Ellipsis (. . .) 

   - The ellipsis is a kind of punctuation that represents a pause or that something has been deliberately omitted. Specifically, it shows that some words have been deleted from a direct quote, so that the reader knows that the original text has been modified.

  • It must be obvious [. . .] that there is a contradiction in wanting to be perfectly secure in a universe whose very nature is momentariness and fluidity.

   - In order to show a small pause or silence in a text, which is suitable for a dramatic effect, an ellipsis can also be used. 

  • With sweaty palms, I reached out for the knob and threw the door open to reveal . . . a lost puppy. 

   - When we talk, we sometimes do not complete a sentence for a variety of reasons. Maybe we forgot what we wanted to say, or maybe our listeners already know what we are about to say, so we don’t need to say it. 

  • Would you like sugar for your coffee, or . . . 

   - When a complete sentence ends with an ellipsis, it’s usually a dramatic device to indicate that there’s more to come. One of the most common examples is the phrase to be continued . . ., where the ellipsis hints that there’s more to the story. 

  • And then only two remained . . .


                                                 Hyphen (-)  

     We use a hyphen to join words or parts of words. They are used in compound modifiers when the modifier comes before the word it’s modifying.

   - Hyphens with compound modifiers:

     A compound modifier (phrasal adjectives) consists of two or more words that act like one adjective in describing a noun. The words work together as a unit of meaning.

  • It’s recommended you don’t take down any load-bearing walls when renovating.

     We put a hyphen between load and bearing to make it clear that we’re talking about walls that are bearing a load.


   - Hyphens and compound modifiers with present participles:

     In order to make the meaning clear, we use a hyphen when we combine an adjective, a noun or an adverb that doesn’t end in -ly with a present participle (the –ing form of a verb) to describe another word.

  • I prefer a forward-facing seat on the train.


   - Hyphens in compound modifiers with past participles:

     The same rules of other compound modifiers are applied here. A hyphen is used when the compound comes before the noun it modifies.

  • Many veterinarians find meat-fed cats to be quite healthy. 


   - Hyphens with high and low:

     A hyphen is used when the compound comes before the noun it’s modifying. 

  • Low-flying airplanes contribute to the noise pollution in the area.


   - Hyphens and compound words:

     Hyphenated compound words are terms made of two or more words with a hyphen between their component words. Examples of hyphenated compound words:

  • Six-pack, Foot-pound, President-elect, Half-pipe, Ten-year-old, and Mother-in-law.


   - Closed compound words:

Over time, hyphenated words tend to become closed compounds (single words, with no spaces and no hyphens). Examples of Closed compound words:

  • Waistcoat, Fundraiser, Chairperson, Notebook, and Halftime.


   - Open compound words:

     Open compound words consist of two nouns that are used together to represent one idea. “Open” indicates that there is a space between the two words and no hyphen.

  • Real estate, Dinner table, Home base, and Living room.


   - Hyphens and numbers:

     We should use a hyphen with numbers that are spelled out between twenty-one and ninety-nine.

  • This is the eighty-first baseball game of the regular season.


   - Hyphens in compound modifiers involving numbers:

     Whether the number is spelled out or in numerals, and whether it is cardinal, ordinal, or a fraction (e.g., half or quarter) when the first part of a compound modifier is a number that is followed by a noun in a sentence, the compound modifier is hyphenated.

  • Cardinal (Spelled out): The president of the company gave a ten-minute speech to the board of directors.

  • Cardinal (Numerals): The shopping mall installed a 107-foot-tall LED tower.

  • Ordinal: He is knowledgeable about thirteenth-century politics.

  • Fraction: I went on a three-quarter-mile run yesterday.


   - Hyphens with prefixes: ex-, self-, all-:

     A hyphen is used with the prefix ex- (former)  and with the reflexive prefix self-.

  • Though she no longer held an official position, the ex-mayor still attended all the town’s functions.

  • Lying on the floor beside the plant he had knocked over and chewed on, the cat looked extremely self-satisfied.

     When all is a part of a compound, a hyphen is used if the compound is adjectival, but leave the compound open if it is adverbial.

  • It’s a bad leader who thinks of themself as all-powerful.

  • The team went all in to meet the deadline for their project.

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