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Journalistic Writing

Punctuation:THE PERIOD, THE COMMA, THE SEMICOLON, THE COLON

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Journalistic Writing ­ MCM310
VU
LECTURE 29
Punctuation
Punctuation in English writing is like traffic lights and traffic signs. It helps the reader understand what
you are writing. The punctuation marks used most commonly in English are:
Period (.)
Question Mark (?)
Comma (,)
Exclamation point (!)
Semicolon (;)
Quotation mark (")
Colon (:)
Parenthesis ( )
Apostrophe (`)
Dash (-)
THE PERIOD:
The period is a red light or stop sign. So use a period to end a sentence.
Bill asked whether our class will be cancelled tomorrow.
Use a period to improve the flow of writing.
Sometimes, there are too many ideas packed into one sentence. Use periods and shorter sentences as follows
to improve the flow and understanding.
1. For temperatures above 1100K, the four fuels had about the same ignition delay when the ignition delay was
defined as the time to recover the pressure loss from fuel evaporation, in spite of the large variations in
ignition delay among the four fuels at lower temperatures.
2. Ignition delay is the time required to recover the pressure loss from fuel evaporation. Despite the large
variations in ignition delay at lower temperatures, the four fuels had about the same ignition delay for
temperatures above 1100K.
Use a period in conventional abbreviations.
Mr. (mister);
Mrs. (misses)
Dr. (doctor);
Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)
e.g. (exempli gratia);
etc. (et cetera)
i.e. (id est);
p.s. (post scriptum)
Sometimes the period is omitted in an abbreviation using capital letters:
AM
PM
BA
MA
Do not use a period in abbreviating names of organizations.
UN
USA
WHO
IBM
FAO
ILO
THE COMMA:
Use a comma before a coordinating conjunction (and, but, or, nor, for, so, yet) when it is used to join
independent clauses.
She looks very young, but she is already in her 30's.
If the two independent clauses are short and not likely to be misread, no comma is needed.
The plane took off and we were on our way.
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Journalistic Writing ­ MCM310
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Use a comma after an introductory clause or phrase.
When Sam looked in the path near the school building, he found his lost book.
Use a comma after an introductory participial phrase that describes the noun or pronoun that follows.
Struggling with large amounts of homework, the class feared the exam.
Having seen pictures of the beach, the children eagerly looked forward to summer.
Use `a' in semi-parenthetical clause
Bill, the tall one, is here.
Jinnah, the founding father of Pakistan, was a lawyer by profession.
Use a comma between all items in a series
I brought my books, papers, and computer to the classroom.
We will prepare the specimens, conduct the tests, and record the data.
Use a comma between multiple adjectives.
Same has become a strong, confident, independent man.
The laboratory is a small, windowless, poorly lighted room.
Do not use a comma between cumulative adjectives.
Three large gray trucks tooled down the street.
Use a comma in a dialogue
She said, "Hello."
Dates
December 25, 2006
Titles
Joe Smith, Ph.D.
Informal letter salutation
Dear Aroma,
Letter closing
Yours truly,
Inverted names
Smith, Joe
Use comma to set off numbers
The total price is Rs 23,456.
Use commas to set off contrasting elements.
Sharp contrasts begin with words such as not, never, and unlike.
Unlike Robert, Viola loved speech contests.
We use alcohol, never water, to sterilize the instruments.
Use commas to set off transitional expressions.
However, therefore, moreover, for example, as a matter of fact, in other words
As a matter of fact, many of the musicians have hearing problems
Therefore, they frequently need hearing assistance.
If a transitional expression is between independent clauses, precede it with a semicolon (;) and follow
it with a comma.
Natural foods are not always salt free; for examples, celery contains more salt than most
people would imagine.
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Journalistic Writing ­ MCM310
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Use commas to set off direct address, question tags, and interjections.
Forgive us, Professor, for being late in sending our homework.
Yes, but don't do it again.
This is the third time you have been late, isn't it?
Well, we sometimes have lots of other homework to do.
Use commas to avoid confusion.
To err is human; to forgive, divine.
THE SEMICOLON (;)
Let's begin with a simple sentence:
Grandma stays up too late.
Now let's expand on that a bit:
Grandma stays up too late. She's afraid she's going to miss something.
What if we try to combine the two ideas?
Grandma stays up too late, she's afraid she's going to miss something.
We could insert a coordinating conjunction:
Grandma stays up too late, as she is afraid she'll miss something.
We could also try subordinating one of these ideas
Grandma stays up too late because she's afraid she's going to miss something.
Let's try using a semicolon in this sentence
Grandma stays up too late; she's afraid she's going to miss something.
Stronger than a comma
Peace is difficult; war is hell.
To set off conjunctive adverb
He was tired; therefore, he quit.
Use semi-colons to connect information groups in a sentence
The committee included Dr Val, Professor of Linguistics, from Nottingham; Virginia Villa,
Professor of English, from Manchester; Paul Anderson, Director of Rad-Tech, from Reading;
and Joan Leach, Professor of Nursing, from Edinburgh.
THE COLON (:)
Introduce a series
He has three things: money, brains, charm.
Separate sub-titles/sub-heads
The book: How To Read It.
Punctuation: the colon
Set of a clause
The rule is this: Keep it simple.
Letter salutation like Dear Sir:
Times and ratios
7:45 A.M, Mix it 3:1
To form possessive
Bill's bike.
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Journalistic Writing ­ MCM310
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Contractions
Isn't
Plurals of symbols
1960's, two A's
THE QUESTION MARK (?)
At the end of question
Who is he?
To express doubt
He weighs 250 (?) pounds.
THE EXCLAMATION MARKS (!)
Show strong emotions
Aroma is the best!
Wow!
THE QUOTATION MARK (")
Direct quote
He said, "Hello."
Titles
He read, "King Lear."
Special words or slang
He is "nuts."
THE PARENTHESIS ( )
Supplementary material
The map (see illustration) is good.
Stronger than commas
Joe (the bad boy) is dead.
Enclose numbers
Her car is (1) a Ford, (2) too slow.
THE DASH
Show duration
1947-2007, Lahore-Pakistan
Parenthetical material
The girl-the pretty one-is here.
Two show omissions
She called him a ---.
Source: Hacker, Dianna. A Writer's Reference Boston: St. Martin's Press. 1992.
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Table of Contents:
  1. INTRODUCTION TO JOURNALISTIC WRITING:Practical, THINGS TO KNOW
  2. QUALITIES OF GOOD WRITERS
  3. QUALITIES OF GOOD WRITERS
  4. QUALITIES OF GOOD WRITING:Achieve appropriate readability:
  5. QUALITIES OF GOOD WRITING:Be concise, Be creative, Be correct
  6. THE PROCESS OF WRITING:INVENTION, WHEN YOU START TO WRITE
  7. THE PROCESS OF WRITING II:ORGANIZING, DRAFTING, REVISING
  8. ALL ABOUT WORDS:HOW WORDS ARE FORMED?:SUFFIXES
  9. DICTIONARY-A WRITER’S LANGUAGE TOOL:KINDS OF INFORMATION
  10. PARTS OF SPEECH:Noun Gender, Noun Plurals, Countable Nouns
  11. BASIC CLAUSE PATTERNS
  12. ACTIVE AND PASSSIVE VOICE
  13. MODIFIERS AND SENTENCE TYPES:COMPOUND SENTENCES
  14. REPORTED SPEECH:Indirect Questions, Direct commands
  15. GRAMMATICAL SENTENCE – ISSUES:SUBJECT-VERB AGREEMENT
  16. GRAMMATICAL SENTENCE – ISSUES II:SENTENCE FRAGMENTS
  17. EFFECTIVE SENTENCE:PARALLELISM, NEEDED WORDS, SHIFTS
  18. STYLE: GUIDELINE AND PITFALLS I:COLLOQUIAL VS FORMAL, CIRCUMLOCUTION
  19. STYLE: GUIDELINE AND PITFALLS II:AMBIGUITY, REDUNDANCY, EUPHEMISM:
  20. PARAGRAPH WRITING: TYPES AND TECHNIQUES:STRUCTURE
  21. PARAGRAPH WRITING: TYPES AND TECHNIQUES:Putting on Our Play
  22. ESSAY WRITING:VARIOUS STRATEGIES FOR ESSAYS, PROMPTS
  23. SIGNAL WORDS:Non word Emphasis Signals
  24. EXPOSITORY WRITING:LOGICAL FALLACIES, APPEAL TO EMOTION
  25. THE WRITING STYLES: REPORT and NARRATIVE WRITING, SHORT REPORTS
  26. THE WRITING STYLES: DESCRIPTIVE AND PERSUASIVE WRITINGS, Observation
  27. RESEARCH WRITING AND DOCUMNETING SOURCES:Handling Long Quotations
  28. Summary and Précis Writing:CHARACTERISTICS OF GOOD SUMMARY
  29. Punctuation:THE PERIOD, THE COMMA, THE SEMICOLON, THE COLON
  30. MECHANICS:ABBREVIATIONS, NUMBERS, SPELLING, THE HYPHEN
  31. READING SKILLS FOR WRITERS:EDUCATED READING, STEPS
  32. PARTS OF A NEWSPAPER:Box-out, By-line, Caption, Exclusive, Feature
  33. THE LANGUAGE OF THE NEWSPAPERS II:BROADSHEET NEWSPAPER
  34. News Writing and Style I:WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A NEWSPAPER
  35. NEWS WRITING II:Accuracy, Clarity, Style, Qualities of Effective Leads
  36. EDITORIAL WRITING:WRITING AN EDITORIAL:STRUCTURING AN EDITORIAL
  37. WRITING FEATURES:GENERATING FEATURE STORY IDEAS
  38. WRITING COLUMNS:Column and a news report, Purpose, Audience
  39. WRITING ARTICLES FOR NEWSPAPERS:The Heading, The Lead
  40. WRITING ANALYSIS:purpose, scope, method, results, recommendations
  41. LETTERS TO EDITORS:Four important aspects about letters, Organizing letters
  42. BROADCAST AND WEB NEWS WRITING:WRITE CONCISELY, BROADCAST STYLE
  43. WRITING PRESS RELEASE, REVIEWS AND OBITUARIES:Summary of Content:
  44. THE ART OF INTERVIEWINGS
  45. FINAL THOUGHTS:Practical, Job-Related, Social, Stimulating, Therapeutic