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§ 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.
E X. A M P L E S.
§ I. . The poet Milton wrote excellent prose and better poetry. . 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. ... 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 moun, 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 firm, 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.”
d. Proper names, when inverted, are separated by a comma; as, “James, Thomas; Williamson, John;” meaning Thomas James, and John Williamson. e. After the word price, when immediately preceding the value of any commodity, the comma may be omitted; as, “Price $5,” or “Price fifty cents.” j. A comma is put between two nouns or pronouns if used synonymously, or if the latter expresses an illustrative or an additional thought; as, “Force of voice is strength, energy; vivacity is life, animation.”—“A son, John, was born after his father's death.” g. When a proper name is put after a phrase in apposition, the comma may be omitted; as, “The great orator Cicero was famed for many excellences.” Unless where the noun is introduced by way of explanation or parenthesis; and, in such a case, it is preceded by a comma, and, in an unfinished clause, followed by the same point; as, “The wisest of the Jewish kings, Solomon, became a fool.” h. When the first of two nouns of the possessive case has the sign of possession, a comma should intervene between them; as, “The work will be found at Appleton's, the bookseller.” But, if the possessive sign is omitted after the first noun, and put after the second, the comma may be dispensed with; as, “It will be seen at Putnam the publisher's.” Should, however, this mode of writing be so constructed as to have, for the unmarked possessive, several names constituting a firm, a comma should be inserted before the noun ending with the s and apostrophe; as, “The young man is a clerk at Little, Brown, and Company, the publishers';” the awkwardness of . the punctuation here arising from the clumsiness of the expression. i. If a term, preceding a noun or a pronoun, is used absolutely, a comma is inserted only between them; as, “A trifling scholar, he heeds not the lessons of instruction.” j. When a pronoun of the second person immediately precedes a noun, a relative pronoun, or a word or phrase used for a noun, the comma is unnecessary between them; as, “Thou river, roll; ye who are aged, come; all ye high Powers.” But if the pronoun, as the nominative to a verb, or as the antecedent of a relative, is separated from them, or if it is put in the objective case, a comma should be put before and after the intervening term; as, “Thou, Father, markest the tears I shed.” “What art thou, execrable shape, that darest advance?” “On thee, beloved, I wait.” k. When the latter of two nouns or phrases is predicated of the former, the comma is not required between them; as, “Plutarch calls
lying the vice of slaves.”—“The Romans thought Augustus Caesar a god.”—“I consider Dr. Johnson as an eaccellent moralist.” So also if the subject spoken of be a pronoun; as, “The people elected him president of the United States.”
Show how the following sentences exemplify the fourth Rule, in respect to the insertion or omission of commas : —
Friends, the beloved of my bosom, were near.
Say why, according to the Remarks (pp. 41, 42), commas are inserted or omitted in the following sentences : —
The emperor Augustus was a patron of the fine arts.
EXERCISE TO BE WEITTEN.
In Greek, the word “poet" denotes a maker a creator. (Rule, § 1. ; and Remarks a, f.) The apostle John was peculiarly beloved by his divine Master Jesus Christ the Saviour of the world. (Rule, and Remark b.) The capital of Turkey Constantinople is finely situated on the European side of the Bosphorus. (Last of Remark g.) General Washington the first president of the United States was a true patriot a genuine lover of his country. (Rule, and Remark b.) Marcus Aurelius Antoninus says, “Often return to your true mother philosophy.” (Remark b, first portion; and Remark f.) Much stress was laid upon pronunciation delivery by the most eloquent of all orators Demosthenes. (Remark.f. and last of g.) London the capital of Great Britain contains nearly three millions of inhabitants. (Rule, § II.) A great and gloomy man the king sat upon the throne of his ancestors. (Remark i.) I recommend the reading of good books as a source of improvement and delight. (Remark k.) The first expedition of Columbus was fitted out by John of Anjou Duke of Calabria. (Rule, § II.; and Remark b.) O Thou who hast at thy command the hearts of all men in thy hand! (First of Remark j.) I Artaxerxes the king decree that whatsoever Ezra the priest the scribe of the law shall require, &c. (Rule, and Remark b.) You blocks! you stones! you worse than senseless things! O you hard hearts! you cruel men of Rome! (First of Remark j.) And, when the angel Death stands by, be thou my God my helper nigh. (Rule, Remark b, and last of j.) When, as returns this solemn day, man comes to meet his Maker God. (Last of Remark b.) - ... The world-famed dramatist Shakspeare lived in the reign of the greatest of English queens Elizabeth. (Remark g.) Adonijah the son of Haggith came to Bathsheba the mother of Solomon. (Rule, § II.) In the firm of Graham Brother and Co. there are three persons in partnership, —James Graham, his younger brother, and John Jones; but I do not know how many there are in the firm of Kennedy Brothers, – whether there be two or more. (Remark c.)
Words or phrases contrasted with each other, or having a mutual relation to others that follow them, in the same clause, are separated by commas.
. False delicacy is affectation, not politeness. The author of that work was a distinguished poet, but a bad man. . Many persons gratify their eyes and ears, instead of their understandings. . Prudence, as well as courage, is necessary to overcome obstacles. Strong proofs, not a loud voice, produce conviction. One may utter many pompous, and speak but few intelligible, words . Avoid, or rather prevent the introduction of, so permicious a fashion. . Good men are not always found in union with, but sometimes in opposition to, the views and conduct of one another
a. Not a few authors would write the sixth example without a comma after the adjective “intelligible.” But though it is well to avoid the use of the point after a qualifying or a governing word when its omission could effect no ambiguity, as in the phrase “deep, lonely thought,” and others referred to in p. 33, Remark d, yet where, as in the instance under the present rule, the words or phrases, which have a common bearing on one and the same expression, are apart, and the first is properly set off by a comma, the insertion of a corresponding comma after the second seems requisite for an easy obtaining of the sense. And this, indeed, is the usage of the best, though perhaps not of the most numerous, punctuators.
b. The seventh and eighth examples are introduced here, not as models of composition, but to show that the harshness of their construction demands a corresponding rigor in the mode of punctuation. This, however, the student may sometimes avoid in his own composition, by giving to his style greater freedom and elegance. For instance, the seventh example might be thus constructed and pointed: “Avoid so pernicious a fashion, or rather prevent its introduction.”
c. When two contrasted or related words, united by either of the conjunctions but, though, yet, as well as, qualify a following noun or phrase, or refer to the same preposition, the comma may be omitted; as, “Caesar delivered his orations in elegant but powerful language.”