Punctuation Exercise (398)
Provide missing punctuation in the following sentences. Do not capitalize any words that are not already capitalized.
Answers and Explanations
Original: The young ladys boots glittered as if varnished her hacking jacket was a violent unpleasant plaid that no Scot would lay claim to.
Correct : The young lady’s boots glittered as if varnished; her hacking jacket was a violent, unpleasant plaid that no Scot would lay claim to.
A single noun forms the possessive by adding ’s. Two independent clauses may be joined by a semicolon. A comma separates coordinate adjectives (adjectives of equal weight).
Original: Miss Bodenheim dismounted bringing herself literally if not figuratively down to his level.
Correct : Miss Bodenheim dismounted, bringing herself literally, if not figuratively, down to his level.
The participle phrase "bringing herself..." is set off from the main clause. The parenthetical expression, "if not figuratively," is set off by commas from the rest of the participle phrase into which it has been inserted.
Original: They all looked at one another and then at Jury as if he were rather a rude child inquiring into his elders affairs.
Correct : They all looked at one another and then at Jury, as if he were rather a rude child inquiring into his elders’ affairs.
The clause introduced by "as if" is a nonessential (nonrestrictive) clause; omitting it would not destroy the meaning of the original sentence: "They all looked at one another and then at Jury." The possessive of a plural noun that ends in s is formed by adding an apostrophe only.
Original: Playing for time he lit a cigarette studied its bright burning end and said Depends I suppose.
Correct : Playing for time, he lit a cigarette, studied its bright, burning end, and said, "Depends, I suppose."
A participle phrase that begins a sentence is set off by a comma. Verbs in a series are set off by commas: "lit, studied, and said." A quotation introduced by "said" is preceded by a comma after the "said." Exactly quoted words are enclosed by quotation marks. A comma is needed after the verb "Depends" because "I suppose" is nonessential.
Original: Ernestine shoved the mean looking cat who had been rummaging among the sandwich rinds from the table.
Correct : Ernestine shoved the mean-looking cat, who had been rummaging among the sandwich rinds, from the table.
Enclose nonessential (nonrestrictive) clauses with commas. Note: Some writers would use the pronoun "that" to refer to an animal. This sentence was taken from a novel written by a British author.