The point of view that English punctuation is not stable is widely spread. But a detailed analysis can prove that in most cases the punctuation is rather fixed. However, there are some excep­tions, especially in subordinate adverbial clauses, where the punctua­tion is not always stable. Analysis of the texts has led us to several conclu­sions. By means of our research we ascertained several conclusions:

1) In the scope of our research we covered such phenomena as: the relation between independent clauses joined asyndetically, which influences the punctuation; some methods of introducing adverbial modifiers and adverbial clauses of comparison that affect the punctuation; strict discrimination between adverbial modifiers of manner and attending circumstances, which are frequently not distinguished in foreign Grammar books, but which have different punc­tuation, being unequally attached to the predicates; double modality; compound and complex introductory sentences; complicated cases of compound sentences with subordination and complex sentences with co-ordination; group-connectives; detached and attached subordinate clauses, some details on detached parts of a sentence; and others.

2) Almost all subordinate clauses tend to preserve the punc­tuation of the corresponding parts of a sentence in English; the de­gree of dependence of the subordinate clause on the principal, the syn­tactical ways of connecting both affect the punctuation in complex sentences; the punctuation in a sentence depends to a great extent on the fact whether the parts of the sentence or the subordinate clauses have a detached or attached character, and whether pauses are necessary; since the word order in an English sentence is rather fixed, certain word order changes weaken the connection between the parts of the sen­tence, and often cause alterations in intonation and, consequently, in punctuation as well; about half of the rules presented coincide with the corre­sponding rules in Russian. They mostly refer to “The Simple Sentence” and to “The Compound Sentence”. The rules that do not coincide re­fer mostly to “The Complex Sentence”.

From the comparative charts below, based on the rules of the use of punctuation marks, we can easily trace similarities in both languages that might make it easier to imply in practice.

We have established that the punctuation in the English language is a very problematic part of grammar. We have studied the written speech of native speakers and achieved the purposes.



Truss, Lynne, 2003. Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation. Profile Books. (e-book)

I Saw Esau/ Iona and Peter Opie, 1943. (e-book)

MacKellar, Thomas (1885). The American Printer: A Manual of Typography, Containing Practical Directions for Managing all Departments of a Printing Office, As Well as Complete Instructions for Apprentices: With Several Useful Tables, Numerous Schemes for Imposing Forms in Every Variety, Hints to Authors, Etc. (Fifteenth – Revised and Enlarged ed.). Philadelphia: MacKellar, Smiths & Jordan. p. 63.

Deskbook of correct English. Michael West and P. F. Kimber. Leningrad, 1963

Notes on Punctuation, Partridge E., Oxford. (on-line recourse)


The MacMillan College Handbook \ G. H. Levin, 1987. – pp. 200-257.

The Random House Handbook \ F. Crews. – 1987, pp. 345 – 464.

Simon & Schuster Handbook for Writers \ L. Q. Troyka. – 2nd ed., 1990, pp. 476 – 572.

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