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01/11/2018

Punctuation marks for the secondary parts of the sentence

An object, being closely connected with the predi­cate of the sentence (or with some verbal), is not set off by any punctuation mark: “He was doing a lot of harm”.

In case of enumeration, the objects are separated from each other by commas. The same in case of a repeated object used for emphasis: “Andrew stood up, instantly surrounded by his friends, by Con, Mary, the astounded Mr. Horner, by people he had never seen before”.

When objects are introduced in pairs, joined by the conjunction ‘and’, each pair is set off by a comma or double commas: “He took out a thermos and a small spirit stove, a hair brush, a shaving set and a tin of rations”.

A detached object (mostly prepositional) is set off by a comma (or double commas, if placed in the middle of the sentence) to denote a pause: “To Lewis, Morgan was the nearest human thing to the devil”.

In case of several objects, or object groups, there may also be semicolons between them to denote a longer pause: “He was accustomed to the East, to dark eyes, languishing, to curves enticingly disguised; to sex, mystery, teeth like pearls”.

A complex object is not set off by any punctuation mark: “I heard him talking the other day at a party”.

But if the second component of a complex object contains several parts, they are divided by commas: “He knew himself to be raw, inadequately trained, quite capable of making mistakes”.

An attribute is usually closely connected with the noun, or pronoun, it modifies (both in postposition and preposition), so there is no punctuation mark between them: “The colours of my eyes were a passport”.

Homogeneous attributes, including the last one, are divided by commas. The same in case of repetition for emphasis: “The thin, dark, smallish man, with a face rather like a monkey’s, grinned”.

Non-homogeneous attributes are not separated by any punctuation mark: “She herself was seated in the green plush armchair”.

An attributive group of words (or sentence) pre­ceding the modifying noun is hyphenated: “There is a sort of Oh-what-a-wicked-world-this-is-and-how-I-wish-I-could-do-something- to-make-it-better-and-nobler expres­sion about Montmorency”.

There are no such attributive groups in Russian.

An attribute expressed by a participial phrase is usually not set off from the noun it modifies by any punctuation mark: “The bench was on a little rise sloping down the river”.

Detached attributes mostly follow the words they modify, and are set off by a comma or double commas. Such attributes often go in pairs joined by the conjunction ‘and’: “Arthur Colum, tall, ugly and with a futile violence in every movement, threw the garden towel”.

Detached attributes preceding the nouns they modify may have a causal meaning, and are set off by commas as well. They may be adjectives, participles, and participial phrases: “Lost, bewildered, irritated, Andrew raced through the files – minutes of past meetings”.

A detached attributive participial phrase following the noun it modifies is set off by a comma or double commas: “He could have sighed with relief when Doctor Bramwell, presiding at the top of the table, viewed the cleared plates”.

A complex attribute is not separated from the noun it modifies by any punctuation mark: “The sound of people moving in the corridor brought him wearily to his feet”.

An attached (close or undetached) apposition, being closely connected with the noun it modifies, and preceding it, is not separated by any punctuation mark from the noun: “I want Doctor Griffiths to come immediately”.

A detached (or loose) apposition, following the noun it modifies, is set off by a comma or double commas (sometimes by a dash): “Trusk’s wife, a woman in her late forties, was still unusually handsome”.

An adverbial modifier of time, duration, or frequency placed at the beginning, at the end, or in the middle of a sentence, is normally not separated by any punctuation mark from the principal parts, being closely connected with the verb it modifies: “One tablespoon every three hours”.

When a lengthy adverbial modifier of time opens a sentence, it becomes emphatic, and is set off by a comma to indicate rising tone and a pause: “After a long season in the backwoods, nothing had pleased Roy more than Burton’s arguments”.

In case of several adverbial modifiers of time, commas divide them. Also, in case of repetition: “I never, never, never want to look a lobar pneumonia in the face again”.

But there is a hyphen before a repeated adverbial modifier.

An appositional adverbial modifier of time, having an explanatory or specifying meaning, is set off by a comma (or double commas): “On Saturday, the tenth of October, they moved their furniture from storage”.

A detached adverbial modifier of time usually comes in the middle (or at the end) of a sentence, and splits it, so it is set off by double commas (or a comma) to denote a pause and isolation: “All they need do would be to walk round me, and, after that, take their diploma”.

An adverbial modifier of time, expressed by a participial phrase, having a detached character, is set off by a comma (or double commas), whatever place it may occupy in the sentence: “Arriving here, he made up his mind to go in, and knocking at the door, he was greeted by Mrs. Gerhardt”.

A complex adverbial modifier of time, which is expressed by a Nominative Absolute (Participle) Construction, is always set off by a comma or double commas: “The presentation concluded, the lady of title shook hands with the gentleman fishmonger”.

An adverbial modifier of place or direction, whatever place it may occupy in the sentence, is usually not separated from the principal parts by any punctuation mark, being closely connected with them: “To the right were two small rocky mounds in the heart of the lake”.

An adverbial modifier of place may have a detached character, so a comma or double commas are used to set it off from the rest of the sentence, to denote rising tone and a pause: “Outside, it was a windy April day”.

In Russian this modifier is usually not detached.

An appositional adverbial modifier of place, having an explanatory or specifying meaning, is divided by double commas from the rest of the sentence: “Above, in my mother’s bedroom, the light was also burning”.

Before enumeration of adverbial modifiers of place there is usually a dash; there are commas between the adverbial modifiers: “Since babyhood she had been abroad but three times – to Italy, to Paris, to Pyrenees”.

An adverbial modifier of manner is usually closely linked to the verb or the verbal it modifies, so it is used without any punctuation mark in the sentence: “I will listen to you patiently”.

When an adverbial modifier of manner, expressed by a gerundial phrase, opens a sentence, it is marked off by a comma: “Without saying anything to Christine, he began to look for a convenient consulting-room up West”.

In case of repetition, or in case of several adverbial modifiers of manner, there are commas between them (in spite of a conjunction): “On her part Jennie had sincerely, deeply, truly learned to love this man”.

Before a repeated adverb there is usually a hyphen.

A complex adverbial modifier of manner, like a simple one, is not set off by any punctuation mark: “I couldn’t walk down the street without somebody turning to look at her”.

A detached adverbial modifier of manner is set off by a comma or double commas to denote isolation, lowered tone, and a pause: “But there was an ugly look on his cold, hard face, which spoke, icily, of unforgiving fury”.

Detached adverbial modifiers of manner often come in pairs joined by the conjunction ‘and’, so these pairs are enclosed in double commas: “Don’t be such a donkey, Bertie,” my father muttered to himself, mildly and cheerfully, imitating my mother’s constant reproof”.

A detached adverbial modifier of manner is often expressed by a participial phrase, which is always set off by a comma or double commas: “So Kurelovitch passed his day, moving from the brink of one crisis to another”.

An adverbial modifier of purpose, which is expressed by an infinitive, or introduced by the phrase-preposition ‘in order’ with an infinitive, is not separated from the other parts of the sentence by any punctuation mark: “He was just going for a walk to stretch his legs”.

An adverbial modifier of purpose introduced by the conjunction ‘so as’ with an infinitive is separated from the predicate by a comma to denote a pause: “She would have too much of her time lying down, so as to rest the heart”.

An adverbial modifier of purpose preceding the principal parts of the sentence is usually set off by a comma, especially when it is lengthy: “To reach the lecture hall, he had to walk almost half a mile”.

Between the predicate and the adverbial modifier of purpose there may occur some detached part of the sentence, which is set off by double commas: “We could not go round, knocking up cottagers and house-holders in the middle of the night, to know if they let apartments”.

A detached adverbial modifier of purpose is set off by a comma (or double commas): “Then the Lyttusi broke away silently from the Metaxis, to leave them exposed”.

A complex adverbial modifier of purpose is not separated from the predicate by any punctuation mark: “I put on my earphones for Captain Troin to speak to me”.

An adverbial modifier of result (or consequence) is never set off from the predicate by any punctuation mark, being closely connected with it: “The process was too complex to be carried out here”.

A complex adverbial modifier of result is not set off from the predicate by any punctuation mark: “The town was not large enough for one to stay quite anonymous”.

An adverbial modifier of cause (or reason) expressed by a prepositional phrase is usually introduced without any punctuation mark, being closely connected with the predicate. The prepositions are: ‘with’, ‘for’, ‘through’, ‘because of: “I was beginning to blink with sleepiness”.

Adverbial modifiers of cause introduced by the prepositions ‘because of, ‘for’, ‘what with’, ‘what between’ may have a detached character: “Hauptwanger, because of this very resistance, determined to win her to his mood and to outwit her father at the same time”.

Several adverbial modifiers of cause are separated by commas, and set off by a comma from the principal parts of the sentence: “What between tipping the man who had brought us home, and paying for the broken skulls, and for having been out four hours and a half, it cost us a pretty considerable number of week’s pocket-money, that sail”.

An adverbial modifier of cause expressed by a participial phrase has a detached character, and is set off by a comma or double commas: “He had gone there to keep warm, being unemployed”.

A complex adverbial modifier of cause is set off by a comma or double commas, when expressed by a Nominative Absolute Participle Construction; when expressed by a gerundial (or half-gerundial) complex, it is usually not set off by any punctuation mark: “The night being hot, they carried the suit out”.

An adverbial modifier of condition in post-position introduced by the prepositional group ‘but for’ or ‘in case of is, as a rule, not separated by any punctuation mark from the other parts of the sentence, being connected with them, and needing no pause: “What luck that she had dropped her handkerchief! He would never have known her but for that”.

An adverbial modifier of condition placed at the head of the sentence is usually set off by a comma to denote rising tone and a pause.

An adverbial modifier of condition may have a detached character, so it is set off by a comma to denote falling tone and a pause: “We could have finished the Metaxists by now, but for this large war”.

An adverbial modifier of comparison referring to a verb is usually closely connected with it, and not set off by any punctuation mark. This modifier is usually introduced by the conjunctions ‘as if’, ‘as though’, and the preposition ‘like’: “She [the car] goes like a bird”.

A lot of adverbial modifiers of comparison have become set expressions, and are not set off by any punctuation mark from the verbs or adjectives they are compared with. These modifiers are mostly introduced by the conjunction ‘as’: “Our Else was still as stone”.

An adverbial modifier of comparison following an adjective (or adverb) in the comparative degree is not separated from it by any punctuation mark. This modifier is introduced by the conjunction ‘than’: “I could understand it no more than the gossip of the birds”.

An adverbial modifier of comparison following an adjective (or an adverb) in the positive degree, and introduced by the connective groups ‘as … as’, ‘not so … as’, is not set off by any punctuation mark: “Why, it’s as simple as falling off a log”.

An adverbial modifier of comparison has – often a detached character, so it is set off by a comma or double commas to denote a pause. This modifier is introduced by the conjunctions ‘as if’, ‘as though’ and the preposition ‘like’: “All of a sudden they fled, as though in panic. I find it interesting, like a detective story”.

In case of a longer pause the detached character of an adverbial modifier of comparison may be marked by a dash: “Oh, they come and go – like the snow”.

An adverbial modifier of attending circumstances is normally set off by a comma or double commas, as it has a detached, independent character. It is usually expressed by a Nominative Absolute (Participle) Construction, or by the Absolute Construction introduced by the preposition ‘with’. It is a complex adverbial modifier: “The squire and Dr. Livesey sat, pipe in hand, on either side of a bright fire”.

An adverbial modifier of degree is so closely connected with the adjective, adverb, or verb it modifies that it is never separated from it by any punctuation mark: “The evening train from Cleveland was very late”.

Adverbial modifiers of concession introduced by the prepositions ‘notwithstanding’, ‘despite’ and the prepositional group ‘in spite of’ are set off by a comma from the principal parts of the sentence: “We started, certainly, but in spite of the hot sun and the staring daylight, the pirates no longer ran separate and shouting through the wood”.

Adverbial modifiers of exclusion (or substitution) introduced by the prepositions ‘except’, ‘save’, ‘but’, ‘instead of, are not set off by any punctuation mark, if they are closely connected with the words they restrict or specify: “By ten o’clock all but four of the eighteen hundred citizens of the town were in bed”.

When an adverbial modifier of exclusion has a detached character, it is set off by a comma, or enclosed in double commas: “Really, save for an occasional visit to the office, he seemed to spend a great deal of his time there”.

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