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Other Marks Of Punctuation

1. Sir Launfal woke as from a swound:- "The Grail in my castle here is found! Hang my idle armor up on the wall, Let it be the spider's banquet hall; He must be fenced with stronger mail Who would seek and find the Holy Grail."

2. I love (and who does not love?) the land of my birth.

Let us examine the punctuation marks that come within the sentences in these selections, for they contain all the marks ever used for separating the parts of a sentence.

After swound are the colon and the dash; these are sometimes used together as here, but oftener they are used separately.

Beginning with the second verse and ending the stanza, the words used by Sir Launfal are in quotation marks.

After wall is the comma, and after hall the semicolon. In the last sentence the words and who does not love are inclosed in parentheses. These are the punctuation marks used to separate words, phrases, and clauses in sentences.

Quotation Marks

1. It was Thomas Carlyle who said, "Insincere speech, truly, is the prime material of insincere action."

2. "Life is a quarry, out of which we are to mold and chisel and complete a character," said Goethe.

These sentences show that quoted passages are usually preceded or followed by the comma.

3. Phillips Brooks spoke these words: "Obedience must be the struggle of our life; obedience, not hard and forced, but ready, loving, and spontaneous."

This sentence shows that a quoted passage, when formally introduced, is preceded by the colon.

4. "The only failure a man ought to fear," says George Eliot, "is failure in cleaving to the purpose he sees best."

This sentence shows that the divided quotation is separated from the dividing statement by commas.

These sentences show the use of the quotation marks and the proper punctuation of quoted passages.

The Dash

1. The boy - oh! where was he?

2. The meaning of life, of its happiness and its sorrows, of its successes and disappointments, is this - that a man must be fastened close to God, and live by the divine life made his own by the close binding of the two together by faith and love.

3. The great Creator knows that each soul needs full development - the flower and the gem, the rock and the iron - or the whole being is incomplete.

4. To die, - to sleep!

To sleep! perchance to dream; ay, there's the rub.

5. Yet stay, O stay!

Go not so soon - I know not what I say - Hear but my reasons - I am mad I fear.

A study of the five sentences just given shows that the dash is used to indicate:

1. A sudden change or break in the thought.

2. A word, a phrase, or a clause used in apposition.

3. A parenthetical word, phrase, or clause.

4. A decided change in reading - for rhetorical effect.


1. I will send him to a friend (if friend I have), who will care for him.

2. Know then this truth (enough for man to know); Virtue alone is happiness below.

It will be seen that parentheses are used to inclose what might be omitted without destroying the sense, and that the other marks of punctuation are used as they would be if the parts inclosed were omitted.

It should be stated that the dash and parentheses are less used than formerly, and that it would be quite possible to use other marks in their places.

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