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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1874, by
A. S. HIL L.
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.
Good sense determines the pauses which marks of punctuation indicate, and is, therefore, the guide to correct punctuation.
Since punctuation is one of the means by which a writer seeks to communicate thoughts or feelings to his readers, it must vary with thought and expression : Sterne's punctuation must differ from that of Dr. Johnson, and, though in a less degree, Burke's from that of Macaulay. Hence, no one writer even were books printed correctly, as is rarely the
can be taken as a model. Hence, too, a complicated system of rules loaded with exceptions, though founded upon the best usage and framed with the greatest care, is as likely to fetter thought as to aid in its communication.
Assistance may, however, be obtained from a few simple rules illustrated by examples : but it must be borne in mind that these rules, elementary as they are, may be violated, in order to avoid ambiguity or obscurity; for the purpose of every point is to indicate the construction of the sentence in which it occurs, and
rules and examples under them are useful only in so far as they explain and illustrate this principle.
Some principles are common to speaking or oral reading and to punctuation: but the former is directed to the ear, the latter to the eye ; and the pauses required by the ear do not always correspond with the stops required by the eye.
Beware of using the comma, the dash, or any one point, exclusively or to excess. Every stop has duties which no other stop can perform.
Never put a mark of punctuation between two words that belong, in sense and in construction, together, as adjective and noun, subject and verb: never omit a point between two words that do not belong together.
Never put a comma (,) before or after and, or, or nor, when employed to connect two words belonging to the same part of speech (a), or two expressions used as if they belonged to the same part of speech (6).
(a) In the nature of things, greatness and unity go together.
(a) Sink or swim, live or die, survive or perish, I give my hand and my heart to this vote.
(6) The new order of things was inducing laxity of manners and a departure from the ancient strictness.
Always use the comma when there are more than two such words or expressions, even though and, or, or nor is retained (a); or when, there being only two such words or expressions, and, or, or nor is omitted (6).
(a) It is the centre of trade, the supreme court of fashion, the umpire of rival talents, and the standard of things rare and precious.
(6) His trees extended their cool, umbrageous branches.
Put a comma between two words or phrases in apposition (a) - unless used as a compound name or a single phrase (6) — or in contrast (c) with each other. Instead of a comma, a dash [-], alone or combined with other stops, is sometimes used (d).
(a) Above all, I should speak of Washington, the youthful Virginian Colonel.
(6) Qn the seventeenth of November, 1558, after a brief but most disastrous reign, Queen Mary died.
(c) While others yet doubted, they were resolved; where others hesitated, they pressed forward.
(d) Morgarten -- the Thermopylæ of Switzerland - lies by the little lake of Egeri.
(d) The two principles of which we have hitherto spoken, Sacrifice and Truth.