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Punctuation rules
PUNCTUATION is the art of using correctly the various stops and marks in writing. The correct use of these stops and marks helps the reader to understand the passage exactly as it was meant by the writer. But the wrong use of these either changes the very sense (ff) of the passage or
makes it quite meaningless ;as,
1. “The patient,” said the doctor, “has gone mad."
2. The patient said, “The doctor has gone mad.”
3. “The patient said,” the doctor has, “gone mad.” `
You can see that the first sentence given above means one thing; the second, quite another' and the third, nothing at all. And it is all due to their Punctuation.

The following are the principal marks of Punctuation :-
1. The Full-Stop (.) 2. The Mark if lnterrogation (?)
3. The Mark of Exciamation (!) 4. The Comma (,)
5. The Semi-Colon (;) 6. The Colon (: )
7. The Hyphen (-) 8. The Apostrophe (‘)
9. The Dash (_) 10. The Inverted Commas (“ ")
Let us deal with the use of each in turn.

The Full-Stop.

(a) It indicates the close of an Assertive or an Imperative Sentence; as,
1. lt is very cold today
2. Keep indoors.

(b) lt is also used after initials and abbreviation; as,
1. M.P.A. --- Member of the Provincial Assembly.
2. M.N.A. ---- Member of the National Assembly '
3. Mr. M.B. Hashmi ---- Mister Muhammad Bashir Hashmi.
4. M.A. ---- Master of Arts.

The Mark of Interrogation.
(a) It is placed at the end of an lnterrogative Sentence; as,
1. How old are you ?       2. Where are you coming from ?
(b) lt is also placed in the Direct form of Speech, after asking a question ; as,
“How far is the post office from here?" asked the stranger.

Remember that it is neither used after a polite request nor after a question asked in an indirect manner; as,
1. Will you please lend me your camera.
2. He enquired of me what the time by my watch was.

The Mark of Exclamation.
(a) lt comes after words, phrases or sentences expressing a wish or some sudden
feeling of joy, grief or surprise; as,
1. May you live long! 2. How beautiful the rose is !
3. Alas! He has been undone . 4. What a delight !
5. ' Hurrah ! We have won the match.
6. Nonsense! Don’t waste your time,

(b) lt is also used after an Emphatic Nominative of Address; as,
O King ! Pardon me. (Or) Pardon me, O King !

The comma.

It indicates the shortest pause in a sentence and is chiefly used :-
(i) To separate several words of the same Part of Speech in a sentence; as,
1. Asaf, Arif and lftikhar are real brothers.
2. Eat, drink and be Merry.
3. We require honest, intelligent, obedient and healthy young man.

(ii) To separate pairs of words of the same class; as,
We treated a like rich and poor, young and old, men and women, high and low, weak and strong.

(iii) Before and after a word in the Vocative Case; as,
1. Here is your book, father.
2. Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears.

(iv) Between words and phrases in Apposition; as,
Quaid-i-Awam Z.A. Bhutto, Prime Minister of Pakistan, is a man of parts.

(v) After Absolute Constructions and the Participle Phrases; as,
1. The sun having set, the moon appeared.
2. Having taken her meal, she set to work.

(vi) Before and afterwards or phrases like “well,” “all the same,” “of course,” “however,” “at last,” “on the whole,” “indeed” and “therefore,” when used independently in a sentence; as,
1. Well. I know it.
2. The result, on the whole, is not bad.

(vii) To separate a Direct Speech from the Reporting Verb; as,
He said to us, “Life is not a bed of roses.”

(viii) To mark off words, phrases, Clauses and parenthetic expressions inserted in a sentence; as,

His condition, to tell you the truth, is very pitiable.

(ix) To mark off words like “yes,” no” “well,” etc.; as,
1. No, he is not here. 2, Yes, he is.

(x) To indicate the omission of a word or words in a sentence; as,
To err is human ; to forgive, (is)divine.

(xi) To separate the date of the month from the year; as,

A Jammu-bound indian plane landed at Lahore on January 30, 1971.

(xii) To separate the Co-ordinate Clauses expressed at full length; as,

1. Life is short, time is fleeting.
2. I went to see him, but he was not at home.

(xiii) To separate always, or almost always, an Adverb Clause from the Principal Clause; as,
Naseem will succeed, because she works hard.
But the Comma is not used when the Adverb Clause is either too short or is very closely connected with the Principal Clause; as,
1. She helped you more than (she helped) me.
2. Think before you speak.

(xiv) To separate Noun Clauses from one another; as,
Nobody knows who he is, where he lives and what he does.
Remember that a Noun Clause is not, usually, separated by a Comma from the Principal Clause; as,
Nobody Knows where he has gone.

The Semi-Colon.
lt indicates a pause longer than that of the Comma, and is used :-
(i) To separate closely connected clauses from one another ;as,
Honesty of purpose has many advantages over deceit; it is the safer way of dealing with men; it is an easier way of despatching business; it inspires men with greater confidence
(ii) To separate the clauses of a Compound Sentence, when they contain Commas; as,
He was a brave, young man; and we respected him.

The Colon.
It marks a still longer pause than the Semi-Colon. It is used at the writer’s discretion if he thinks that the pause is not sufficiently marked off by a Semi-Colon. But no fixed rules can be given on this point.
Note that it is often used with a “dash” after it :-
(i) To introduce a quotation; as,

The Holy Quran says: “The believers are but a single brotherhood."

(ii) Before enumeration examples, etc.; as,
The principal parts of a sentence in English, are: the Subject and the Predicate.

(iii) Between V sentences grammatically independent but closely connected in sense; as,

Man proposes : God disposes.

The Hyphen.
It is used to connect the parts of a Compound word; as,
1. Maid-servant. 2. Twenty-eight. 3. Brother-in-law.
It is also used to connect the parts of a word divided at the end of a line; as,
1. Bright-en. 2. Laugh-ed. 3. Writ-ten. 4. Need-ed.

The Apostrophe.
It is used :-
(i) To denote the Possessive Case of Nouns; as,
Aslam’s pen was stolen by his uncIe`s servant.

(ii) To show the omission of a letter or letters; as,
1. Don’t=do not. 2. I‘ve= I have.

(iii) To form the Plurals of letters and figures; as,

1. Dot your i’s and cross you t’s.
2. Add three 5’s to six 9’s.

The Dash.
It is used :-
(i) To indicate an abrupt stop or change of thought in a sentence; as,
If only I had not done this _but why cry over spilt milk?

(ii) To mark off the parentheses or words used in explanation or in an explanatory and emphatic manner; as,

There shall come a time --- a blessed time --- when Kashmir will become a part of Pakistan.

(iii) To resume a scattered subject; as,
Rich and poor, high and low, old and young---all fought for freedom.
Sometimes, Brackets are used instead of “Dash” to mark off a parenthetical sentence (i.e. a sentence which is not grammatically a part of the passage into which it is inserted); as, _
He gained from Heaven (It was all he wished) a friend.

The Inverted Commas.
These are used to enclose the exact words of a speaker or a quotation; as,
“Do not kill women and children, and also spare the old and the aged” was the order of Hazrat Muhammad (s.a.w)
Note that a quotation within a quotation is marked by single lnverted Commas; as,
The counsel replied, “What I mean to say is that ‘I have killed the man’ was not said by my client."
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