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Series of Words of the same Part of Speech. In a series of words, all of the same part of speech, a comma is inserted between each particular.
EXAMPLES. 1. Industry, honesty, and temperance are essential to happiness. 2. Alfred the Great was a brave, pious, and patriotic prince. 3. Happy is the man who honors, obeys, loves, or serves his Creator. 4. The discourse was beautifully, elegantly, forcibly delivered. 5. The spirit of the Almighty is within, around, and above us.
a. Some punctuators omit the comma between the last two par. ticulars, when united by either of the conjunctions and, or, nor. But the propriety of using the comma will perhaps be obvious to any one who examines the nature of such sentences: for the last two words of a series are not more closely connected in sense and construction with each other than with the preceding words; as, “ Infancy, child. hood, youth, manhood, and age are different stages in human life.”
b. When, however, three words of the same part of speech are in juxtaposition, the last being preceded by and or or, but do not form a series, the comma is omitted before the conjunction; as, “ By the wise arrangement of nature, infancy and childhood last long." Here the noun nature" is governed by the preposition “of;" and the two following nouns,“ infancy and childhood," are of themselves the compound nominative the succeeding verb. The punctuation, therefore, differs from that of a sentence in which three words are used in a series, or in the same construction; as, “ Childhood, youth, and maturity last longer or shorter in different individuals.”
c. In a series of three nouns preceded by an adjective qualifying only the first, the comma should be omitted before the conjunction; as, “The characteristics of Mr. Mason's mind were real greatness, strength and sagacity.”
d. A comma should be put after the last noun in a series, if it is not joined to the others by a conjunction, and does not end a sentence or clause; as, “ Reputation, virtue, happiness, depend greatly on the choice of companions.” — “ The good man is alive to all the sympathies, the sanctities, the loves, of social existence.” When, howover, and, or, or nor occurs, the comma is unnecessary after the last
noun, because the conjunction shows that all the particulars have, either separately or together, a relation to what follows in the sentence; as, Reputation, virtue, and happiness depend greatly on the choice of companions.”.
-“The good man is alive to all the sympathies, the sanctities, and the lowes of social existence.”
e. When the last particular is one of several qualifying words, it must not be separated by a point from that portion of the sentence on which it acts; as, Too much of our love is an instinctive, ungoverned, narrow, selfish feeling.” — See p. 33, Remark d.
f. But a comma should be put after the last adjective or adverb, not preceded by a conjunction, when it is separated by the other particulars of the series or by a verb from the word qualified, and does not finish the clause or sentence; as, “ There is something real, substantial, immortal, in Christian virtue.”—“Exalted, tender. beneficent, is the love that woman inspires.”
g. When the last governing word in a series is preceded by a con junction, a comma is unnecessary after it; but, written without a conjunction, the comma should be inserted; as, " God's design is to recover, exalt, and bless the guiltiest of our race." - “ Endeavor to elevate, refine, purify, the public amusements." When, however, the term governed is only a monosyllabic word, the comma may in such cases be omitted; as, “ Teach, urge, threaten, lecture him."
h. When three or more words of the same part of speech, and in the same construction, are severally connected by means of und, or, or nor, the comma may be omitted after each of the particulars; as, “Let us freely drink in the soul of love and beauty and wisdom from all nature and art and history.” Some writers separate all such serial words by a comma; but a mode of punctuation so stiff as this seldom aids in developing the sense, and, in sentences requiring other commas, is undoubtedly offensive to the eye, if it does not obscure the meaning itself. A correct reader will, however, as a matter of course, pause more or less after each particular, in accordance with the nature of the sentiment.
i. But, when a series of nouns is resolvable into two or more phrases, each having two coupled words, a comma should be used between the phrases; as, “ A Christian spirit may be manifested to Greek or Jew, male or female, friend or foe."
j. When, in two or more pairs, only the last pair depends on a concluding term, the comma should be omitted after it; as, “ The true Christian is a man of principle, of truth and integrity, of kind. ness and modesty, of reverence and devotion to the Supreme Glory."
Recite the Rule (p. 37) for the insertion of commas in the following sentences :
Learn patience, calmness, self-command, disinterestedness, love
Agreeably to the Remarks (pp. 37, 38), state the reasons for the insertion or the
omission of commas in the following sentences :Aristotle, Cicero, and Quintilian are high authorities in rhetoric. The tendency of poetry is to refine, purify, expand, and elevate God is the source, object, model, of perfect love. The air, the earth, the water, teem with delighted existence His reign is that of a great, godlike, disinterested being. Wise, eloquent, cautious, intrepid, was Ulysses. The arts prolong, comfort, and cheer human life. Charity beareth, believeth, hopeth, all things. The man professed neither to eat nor drink nor sleep. The poor and rich, and weak and strong, have all one Father
Say why the omission of a comma between the last two conjoined nouns in the
following sentences does not accord with the Rule, but with Remark b:
In Paradise, Adam and Eve reigned supreme. There was, in Eve's every gesture, dignity and love.
According to the Thompsonian philosophy, heat and cold are antagonist identities.
In two branches of science, chemistry and natural history, medical men have been the most successful laborers.
It is well calculated to render the timber impenetrable to the agents of decomposition,-- air and moisture.
Dr. Twitchell's wonderful faculty often rendered the unintelligible plain and clear.
In reference to time, hours and days are of great importance: in respect to eternity, years and ages are nothing.
EXERCISE TO BE WRITTEN.
In putting commas between or after the serial words in the following sentences,
be guided by the third Rule and the Remarks (pp. 37, 38):Let holiness goodness virtue be to you the pearl of great price, (Rule, and first portion of Remark d.)
The recovery of our little darling dancing singing Mary is worth all the gold that ever was mined. (Rule, and Remark e.)
The hardships of a good life prove refine and exalt the human character. (Rule, and first portion of Remark g.)
No one can find peace but in the growth of an enlightened firm disinterested holy mind. (Rule, and Remark e.)
Ease indulgence luxury sloth are the sources of misery; making a man a poor sordid selfish wretched being. (Rule, and Remarks d, e.)
A great soul is known by its enlarged strong and tender sympa thies. (Rule, Remark e, and last of d.)
All that charms the eye or the ear or the imagination or the heart is the gift of God. (Remark h.)
The Indian nut alone is clothing, meat and trencher drink and can. (Remark i.)
All have some conceptions of truth kindness honesty self-denial and disinterestedness. (Rule, and Remark a.)
In a city there is much to inflame imbiiter degrade the minds of the poor. (Rule, and second portion of g.)
Let us every day become more pure kind gentle patient spiritual and devout. (Rule, and Remark a.)
Meekly truthfully disinterestedly the dying man had trod the path of life. (Rule, and Remark f.)
In heaven live the friends benefactors deliverers ornaments of their race. (Rule, and first of Remark d.)
True courage is the exercise result and expression of the highest attributes of our nature. (Rule, and last of Remark d.)
Some have unreasonably denied the strength and fervor and enduringness of human love. (Remark h.)
The Hebrew is closely allied to the Arabic the Phænician the old Persian the Syriac and the Chaldee. (Rule, and Remark a.)
You are a parent or a child a brother or a sister a husband or a wife a friend or an associate of some kindred soul. (Remark j.)
Our present knowledge thoughts feelings characters are the results of former impressions passions and pursuits. (Rule, and Remarks d, a.)
Nouns or Phrases in Apposition. § I. Two nouns or personal pronouns, or a noun and pronoun, one in apposition with the other, should not be separated by a comma, if they may be regarded as a proper name or as a single phrase.
§ II. But a noun or pronoun and a phrase, or two or more phrases, when put in apposition, are separated by a comma from each other, and, if the sentence or clause is unfinished, from what follows.
$ 1. 1. The poet Milton wrote excellent prose and better poetry. 2. It is well known that the word “philosopher " signifies lover of wisdom. 3. He himself was the editor of the work; but he left it a botch.
1. Homer, the greatest poet of antiquity, is said to have been blind. 2. We, the people of the United States, are lovers of republicanism. 3. The twin sisters, Piety and Poetry, are wont to dwell together.
a. The term noun here is so used as to apply either to a single word of this character, or to an unemphatic word and a noun. Thus, both words, “ the poet,” in the first example, are, to avoid circumlocution, spoken of as a noun, and not as a phrase.
b. When two or more words can be treated as one compound name or as a single phrase, they do not admit a comma between them; as,
" Alexander of Macedon; Sir William Jones; our Lord Jesus Christ; the Lord God Almighty." But if names, titles, or characteristics are so applied as to vary the thought, or produce a separate impression on the mind, they should be set apart by a comma; as, “Worship thy Creator, God; and obey his Son, the Master, King, and Saviour of men.”
c. The word brothers, when put in apposition with a proper name in a fum, is left unpointed; as, “ Smith Brothers and Co.” But when used, either in the singular or plural number, to convey the notion of another person, it is not in apposition, and must therefore be distinguished by the comma; as, Smith, Brother, and Co."