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" Newton, the great mathematician, was very modest.” “And he, their prince, shall rank among my peers.” In such sentences, however, as “The mathematician Newton was very modest,” and “ The Emperor Napoleon was a great soldier," commas are not used.
The name or designation of a person addressed is isolated by commas. “ It touches you, my lord, as well as me." "John, come here." “ Mr. President, my object is peace.” “Tell me, boy, where do you live?” “Yes, sir, I will do as you say." “Mr. Brown, what is your number?”
Pairs of words : "Old and young, rich and poor, wise and foolish, were involved." ' Sink or swim, live or die, survive or perish, I give my hand and heart to this vote." “ Interest and ambition, honor and shame, friendship and enmity, gratitude and revenge, are the prime movers in public transactions."
A restrictive clause is not separated by a comma from the noun.
“Every one must love a boy who [that] is attentive and docile.” “ He preaches sublimely who lives a holy life.” “The things which [that] are seen are temporal.” “A king depending on the support of his subjects can not rashly go to war.” “The sailor who [that] is not superstitious will embark any day.”
The comma is used after adjectives, nouns, and verbs in sentences like the following: "Are all thy conquests, glories, triumphs, spoils
Shrunk to this little measure ?" “He fills, he bounds, connects and equals all.” “Who to the enraptured heart, and ear, and eye
Teach beauty, virtue, truth, and love, and melody."
* “Some writers omit the comma in cases where the conjunction is used. But, as the conjunction is generally employed in such cases for
“He rewarded his friends, chastised his foes, set Justice on her seat, and made his conquest secure.”
The comma is used to separate adjectives in opposition, but closely connected. “Though deep, yet clear; though gentle, yet not dull.” “ Liberal, not lavish, is kind Nature's hand.” “Though black, yet comely; and though rash, benign."
After a nominative, where the verb is understood. “To err is human; to forgive, divine.” “A wise man seeks to shine in himself; a fool, in others.” “ Conversation makes a ready man ; writing, an exact man; reading, a full man." A long subject is often separated from the predicate by
"Any one that refuses to earn an honest livelihood, is not an object of charity.” “The circumstance of his being unprepared to adopt immediate and decisive measures, was represented to the Government." he had persistently disregarded every warning and persevered in his reckless course, had not yet undermined his credit with his dupes.” “That the work of forming and perfecting the character is difficult, is generally allowed.”
In a series of adjectives that precede their noun, a comma is placed after each except the last; there usage omits the point. “A beautiful, tall, willowy, sprightly girl.” “A quick, brilliant, studious, learned man.'
A comma is placed between short members of com
emphasis, commas ought to be used ; although where the words are very closely connected, or where they constitute a clause in the midst of a long sentence, they may be omitted.”—Bigelow's Handbook of Punctuation.
*“This usage violates one of the fundamental principles of punctuation ; it indicates, very improperly, that the noun man closely connected with learned than with the other adjectives. Analogy and perspicuity require a comma after learned.”-Quackenbos.
pound sentences connected by and, but, for, nor, or, because, whereas, that expressing purpose (so that, in order that), and other conjunctions. “ Be virtuous, that you may be respected.” “ Love not sleep, lest you come to poverty." Man proposes, but God disposes.”
A comma must not be placed before that except when it is equivalent to in order that. “ He says that he will be here."
A comma must not be placed before and when it connects two words only. “ Time and tide wait for no man.” “A rich and prosperous people.” “ Plain and honest truth wants no artificial covering.”
A comma is sometimes necessary to prevent ambiguity. “He who [that] pursues pleasure only defeats the object of his creation.” Without a comma before or after only, the meaning of this sentence is doubtful.
The following sentences present some miscellaneous examples of the use of the comma by writers on punctuation: “Industry, as well as genius, is essential to the production of great works." Prosperity is secured to a state, not by the acquisition of territory or riches, but by the encouragement of industry.” “Your manners are affable, and, for the most part, pleasing."*
“ However fairly a bad man may appear to act, we distrust him.” “Why, this is rank injustice !" 'Well, follow the dictates of your inclination." “ The comma may be omitted in the case of too, also, therefore, and perhaps, when introduced so as not to interfere with the harmonious flow of the period; and, particularly, when the sentence is short." + “ Robert Horton, M. D., F. R. S.” “ To those who [that] labor, sleep is doubly pleasant.” “Sleep is
* Many writers would omit the last two commas in this sentence. + The commas before and after particularly are hardly necessary.
doubly pleasant to those who [that] labor." “ Those who [that] persevere, succeed.” “To be overlooked, slighted, and neglected ; to be misunderstood, misrepresented, and slandered ; to be trampled under foot by the envious, the ignorant, and the vile ; to be crushed by foes, and to be distrusted and betrayed even by friends—such is too often the fate of genius." “She is tall, though not so handsome as her sister." • Verily, verily, I say unto you.”
“ Whatever is, is right.” “What is foreordained to be, will be." “The Emperor Augustus was a patron of the fine arts." “Augustus, the Emperor, was a patron of the fine arts.” “United, we stand; divided, we fall.” “God said, Let there be light.” “July 21, 1881." President Garfield was shot, Saturday morning, July 2, 1881; he died, Monday night, Sept. 19, 1881.” “I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant, John Jones.” · New York, August, 1881." Room 20, Equitable Building, Broadway, New York."
“When you are in doubt as to the propriety of inserting commas, omit them; IT IS BETTER TO HAVE TOO FEW THAN TOO MANY."—Quackenbos.
THE SEMICOLON.—Reasons are preceded by semicolons : “Economy is no disgrace ; for it is better to live on a little than to outlive a great deal.” Clauses in opposition are separated by a semicolon when the second is introduced by an adversative : "Straws swim at the surface; but pearls lie at the bottom.” “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord; but they that deal truly are his delight.” Without the adversative, the colon is to be preferred : “Prosperity showeth vice : adversity, virtue.” The great divisions of a sentence must be pointed with a semicolon when the minor divisions are pointed with commas: “ Mirth should be the embroidery of conversation, not the
web; and wit the ornament of the mind, not the furniture." The things enumerated must be separated by semicolons when the enunciation of particulars is preceded by a colon : “ The value of a maxim depends on four things : the correctness the principle it embodies; the subject to which it relates ; the extent of its application ; and the ease with which it may be practically carried out.” When as introduces an example, it is preceded by a semicolon. When several successive clauses have a common connection with a preceding or following clause, they are separated by semicolons; as, “ Children, as they gamboled on the beach ; reapers, as they gathered the harvest; mowers, as they rested from using the scythe; mothers, as they busied themselves about the household—were victims to an enemy who [that] disappeared the moment a blow was struck." “Reason as we may, it is impossible not to read in such a fate much that we know not how to interpret ; much of provocation to cruel deeds and deep resentment; much of apology for wrong and perfidy ; much of doubt and misgiving as to the past ; much of painful recollection ; much of dark foreboding." Philosophers assert that Nature is unlimited ; 'that her treasures are endless ; that the increase of knowledge will never cease.”
The Colon.—This point is less used now than formerly: its place is supplied by the period, the semicolon, or the dash; and sometimes even by the comma. The colon is used very differently by different writers. was heard to say, 'I have done with this world.'” Some writers would put a colon, some a comma, after say. “When the quoted passage is brought in without any introductory word, if short,” says Quackenbos, “it is generally preceded by a comma; if long, by a colon; as, 'A simpleton, meeting a philosopher, asked him, “What affords