Punctuation Exercise (375)

Supply commas, apostrophes, colons, semicolons, and quotation marks as needed in the following sentences. Do not capitalize any words that are not already capitalized.

Answers and Explanations

1.
Original: As Jack and I were leaving the playground a woman called after us Is this your sons hat It was lying by the slides.
Correct : As Jack and I were leaving the playground, a woman called after us: "Is this your son’s hat? It was lying by the slides."

An introductory subordinate clause is set off by a comma. A colon introduces the lengthy direct quotation. A comma would be all right there, but some guides recommend introducing long quotations (seven words and up) with a colon.

2.
Original: It doesnt matter what anyone says she thinks chicken soup is a miracle cure.
Correct : It doesn’t matter what anyone says; she thinks chicken soup is a miracle cure.

Independent clauses closely related in thought may be joined by a semicolon.

3.
Original: When all else fails read the directions.
Correct : When all else fails, read the directions.

Introductory subordinate clauses are set off with a comma. Some writers drop the comma when the clause is short, but a comma is never incorrect.

4.
Original: Toward the end of the century however when England seemed at last on the point of solving its Danish problem a new and formidable succession of invasions began.
Correct : Toward the end of the century, however, when England seemed at last on the point of solving its Danish problem, a new and formidable succession of invasions began.

However is set off by commas, as are subordinate clauses sandwiched within the main clause ("when England seemed at last on the point of solving its Danish problem").

5.
Original: So far as it affected the English language as in other respects as well the loss of Normandy was wholly advantageous.
Correct : So far as it affected the English language, as in other respects as well, the loss of Normandy was wholly advantageous.

The phrase "as in other respects as well" is set off by commas because it is a nonessential phrase.

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