Punctuation Exercise (404)

Edit the following sentences to provide needed punctuation.

Answers and Explanations

1.
Original: When she got home Mrs Oliver in an important way got out a notebook and jotted down in it various things under the heading Facts I have learned.
Correct : When she got home, Mrs. Oliver, in an important way, got out a notebook and jotted down in it various things under the heading "Facts I have learned."

Set off an introductory subordinate clause with a comma. Set off a parenthetical expression with commas ("in an important way"). No comma is needed after heading because what follows is essential information. The words of the heading are enclosed in quotation marks.

2.
Original: Mrs Oliver could not hear her as well as she heard David since Normas back was turned to her but the dullness of the girls tone struck her disagreeably.
Correct : Mrs. Oliver could not hear her as well as she heard David, since Norma’s back was turned to her, but the dullness of the girl’s tone struck her disagreeably.

In American usage, the abbreviation Mrs. takes a period. The clause "since Norma’s back was turned to her" is nonessential; consequently, it is set off by commas. The possessive of a name is formed by adding apostrophe s: Norma’s back. The possessive of a singular noun is formed by adding apostrophe s: "the girl’s tone."

3.
Original: She said Goodness how you startled me Id no idea you were there.
Correct : She said, "Goodness, how you startled me. I’d no idea you were there."

When said introduces a direct quotation, a comma follows it. Direct quotations are enclosed in quotation marks (double in American usage; single in British usage). "Goodness" is an introductory word needing a comma. I’d begins a new sentence so a period follows me.

4.
Original: A husband is usually the most likely person said Hercule Poirot so one considers him first.
Correct : "A husband is usually the most likely person," said Hercule Poirot, "so one considers him first."

In a quotation interrupted by an attribution, the attribution is set off by commas, and each half of the quotation is enclosed in quotation marks.

5.
Original: He was Mrs. Oliver thought quite the dirtiest looking young man shed ever seen.
Correct : He was, Mrs. Oliver thought, quite the dirtiest-looking young man she’d ever seen.

"Mrs. Oliver thought" is parenthetical and therefore set off by commas from the rest of the sentence. The compound modifier needs a hyphen: "dirtiest-looking." As a contraction, "She’d" needs an apostrophe to stand for the missing letters: "she would" = "she’d."

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