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· in pairs, by the conjunction and, may not be separated, by a comma.
As, there is an essential difference between light and darkness, virtue and vice, wisdom and folly, happiness and misery, time and eternity.
Jealousy is cruel and unreasonable, hasty and capricious, violent and insatiable, mean and contemptible.
Man was made to fear and adore, reverence and obey, love and enjoy, his Maker.
A comma may be placed after the disjunctive, or, when it connects two, or more, nouns of opposite mean
· As, Who can describe the growth, or decay, of plants!
Two nouns, or adjectives, or verbs, connected by disjunctive conjunctions, if the latter be accompanied with a qualifying term, may be separated by a comma.
As, Most novels contain corrupt maxims, or debauching incentives.
Music will captivate the attention of men, or even the brutal creation.
To be, or not to be, that is the question.
It is best to omit the comma, when a qualifying term is not joined to the last word. * As, Libertines call religion bigotry or superstition.
In the eclogue, there must be nothing rude or vulgar, finical or affected, subtle or abstruse. ° Men either love or hate, reverence or disrespect, obey or disobey, their Maker.
Nouns in apposition, and the latter being exegetical of the former, or accompanied with a qualifying term, may be separated, by a comma, from the rest of the sentence.
As, Solomon, the son of David, was the wisest of men.
Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world, was born in the reign of Augustus Cæsar.
But when the latter noun is not exegetical of the former, nor accompanied with a qualifying term, a comma should not be placed between them.
As, The emperor Marcus Aurelius was a most humane prince.
Relative pronouns, and some adverbs, admits a com· ma before them.
As, He is a fop, who is proud of fine clothes. Strength and weapons cannot avail, where conduct and courage are wanting
A comma may be used before a preposition, when the sentence will adınit a pause, or when the preposition is followed by a relative pronoun.
As, Pride and malevolence will be contemned, in spite of all the riches and honors a man may possess.
The United States are an empire, in which republican principles are well understood.
The two members of a compound sentence, that may be elegantly transposed, may have a comma inserted between them.
As, Our best actions would make us blush, if men understood our real motives.
A comma should ever be used, in a sentence, where the verb is understood.
As, To err is human; to forgive, divine.
A sentence, in which the relative pronoun is the nominative case to the verb, should ever be separated by commas.
As, Men, who are intemperate, are destructive members of community.
To insert but one comma, in sentences of this kind, is bad punctuation.
As, He who knows not how to obey, knows not how to command.
The nominative case, when accompanied with seyeral qualifying terms, may be separated, from the verb, by a comma.
As, The good taste of the present age, has not suffered us to neglect the cultivation of the English language.
But, when, neither a parenthetical sentence, nor any clause equivalent to a parenthesis, intervenes, between the nominative case and the verb, the comma is improperly used.
As, the society of ladies is a school of urbanity.
A circumstance, or parenthetical expression, inserted, between the nominative case and the verb, or between the verb and objective case, must be separated by commas.
As, This attention to the several cases, when to omit, and when to redouble, the copulative, is of considerable importance to all, who study eloquence.
Strong sense, united to delicate sentiments, improved by study and observation, and free from prejudice, is necessary to form a proper judge of literary productions.
An adjective, followed by other dependent words, may have a comma before it.
As, Homer's Iliad is a book, full of the most animating figures, and sublimest machinery.
A comparison, having several terms, and introduced, by an adjective implying likeness, may have a comma preceding it.
As, “The music of Carryl, was like the memory of joys, that are past, pleasant and mournful to the soul.'*
A comma may be inserted before a participle, that admits some subsequent words.
As, Milton compares the standard of Satan to a meteor, streaming in the air.
A majestic expression, or one in the form of a quotation, may have a comma before it.
As, God said, Let there be light.
The comma is a point most used in composition. The use of it, therefore, requires a particular explanation. The remarks on the other points will be less diffusive.
SEMICOLON. A member of a sentence, whether simple or compounded, that requires a greater pause than a comma; and yet does not make a complete sentence, but is followed by something closely depending on it, may be distinguished by a semicolon.
A semicolon requires, in reading, a longer pause than a comma.
A semicolon may be placed before some conjunctions, that express an inference, or an opposition.
As, Let your conduct be gentle and unaffected; and it will certainly be engaging.
A jest is not an argument; nor is a loud laugh demonstration.
Sentences, that have a distinct connexion with one another, may be separated by a semicolon.
As, They are naturally led to think, that he has a clear and full conception of all that can be said, on both sides of the argument; that he has entire confidence in the goodness of his own cause; and does not attempt to support it, by any artifice, or concealment.
All complete sentences may have a period, at the end. And, yet, if several short sentences follow each other, in close succession, and there is a degree of connexion in their sense, they may be separated by a semicolon. · As, · The pride of wealth is contemptible; the pride of learning is pitiable; the pride of dignity is ridiculous; but the pride of bigotry is insupportable.'
COLON. A colon is used when the preceding sentence is complete in syntax; but is followed by another sentence as exegetical of the former, or as an additional observation, or as an inference.
As, The virtuous are submissive to the will of God: the vicious complain.
The penitent and believing will be happy in the other world: the impenitent and unbelieving will be miserable.
A colon ought to be used, when an example, or quotation, or a speech, is introduced in the following inanner.
As, “ The first is the name of Abelard: "Dear fatal name?" Next Eloisa speaks to herself; and personifies her heart for this purpose: “ Hide it, my heart, within that close disguise.”
All our possessions and pleasures have this inscription: rejoice with trembling.
In general, we should use but one colon in a sentence; for two consequential sentences, or exegetical observations, seldom meet together.
As, Perspicuous and pure he is in the highest degree; his precision, indeed, not very great; yet near
ly as great as the subjects which he treats of require: the construction of his sentences easy, agreeable, and commonly very musical: carrying a character of smoothness, more than of strength.
PERIOD. In English, a sentence of any kind that is complete in itself, or not dependent on any other, is called a period; and the mark of this name is placed at the close.
As, The style is flowing and full, without being too diffuse. It is flowery, but not gaudy; elevated but not ostentatious.
Two or more short sentences coming together, and having no connexion in meaning, or syntax, ought to be considered as complete sentences, and to be accordingly, separated by periods.
As, Fear God. Honor the king. Love thy neighbor. Forgive thine enemy. Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing.
A period must ever be used at the end of abbreviations.
As, Dr. Mr. Chap. Sec. Esq. Feb. Jan. &c.
Other characters used in Writing." Besides the four principal points, the following characters are used in writing;
The note of Interrogation [?] used when a question is asked; as, Are you sincere?
The note of Exclamation [!] used to express admiration or surprize; as, What a confusion! Interjections, and other expressions of great emotion, are generally followed by the note of exclamation; as, O! let me listen to the words of life!
After an earnest address, or invocation, the note of exclamation is preferable to a comma; as, Whereupon, O king Agrippa! I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.'
A question uttered with vehemence, and without reference to an answer, should be followed by the note of exclamation; as, How madly have I talked!
The apostrophe, ['] showing the omission of a letter or