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Fundamental Rules of Usage RULES ON PUNCTUATION “Men’s lives may depend upon ” a comma

Fundamental Rules of Usage

RULES ON PUNCTUATION “Men’s lives may depend upon ”

a comma

- Johnson, J.

Fundamental Rules of Usage “The writer who neglects punctuation, or mispunctuates, is liable to be

Fundamental Rules of Usage

“The writer who neglects punctuation, or mispunctuates, is liable to be misunderstood.” - Edgar Allan Poe

Main Reference

Main Reference 8/25/2014 3

REFERENCES

The Elements of Style by Bryan A. Garner (1991) The Elements of Style Strunk, W.,Jr. and White, E.B. Tips for Effective Punctuation in Legal Writing by The Writing Center (2005, Georgetown University Law Center)

PUNCTUATIONS

- Visual aids to help the reader better understand a written material.

- -guide the reader to the writer’s intent and meaning. - Objective:

- To use punctuation correctly & sparingly.

PERIOD (.)

- Most common punctuation mark

- One of the three terminal marks, together with the question mark (?) and exclamation marks(!)

PERIOD

1. Used after a statement, command or request

2. Used after an indirect question ex. The judge asked if I have other witnesses.

PERIOD

3. Used after initials and most abbreviations.

Except: in the abbreviation of well- known organizations

SCRA

UN

YMCA

SC

*If an abbreviation with a period comes at the end of the sentence, only one period is used.

PERIOD

4. Used to end a request or command

courteously phrased as a question when

no reply is expected Ex. Would you be so kind as to convey my greeting to your sister.

COMMA (,)

- Most troublesome punctuation mark

- Tendency to be over-used or under- used

- two uses:

- single comma (used to separate)

- Double commas (set-off clauses)

Put a comma before the second clause in compound sentences

Comma separates independent clauses joined by coordinating conjunctions:

and, but, or, nor, and for Illustration : The United States is a common-law country, and its judges are common-law judges.

 Exception – where the compact main clauses have the same subject, avoid the comma

Exception – where the compact main clauses have the same subject, avoid the comma if the subject is not expressed in the second clause Illustration 1 – He did it and never regretted it. Illustration 2 – The good brief should address all the issue and should analyze them intelligently.

Comma with independent clauses

When independent clauses are joined by a coordinating conjunction (e.g., and, or, for, nor, yet, so, and but), the comma is placed before the conjunction to form compound sentences. -Rule is used in longer compound sentences but not in short compound sentences.

Comma with independent clauses

The plaintiff wanted to implead Mrs. Kho as defendant, and he wanted the case heard before the long break.

The defendant shouted and he banged the table.

Set off dependent introductory phrases with a comma

Generally, set off phrases that come before the main clause. Unless the introductory phrase is essential to the meaning of the sentence, punctuate it with a comma.

Comma after introductory element or phrase

Examples:

Word:

However, Fortunately, First,

Soon, Obviously, Yes, No, Nevertheless, Well, Indeed,

Phrase:

Dependent Clause: At the time of the incident, Speaking to the defendant, On the advice of my lawyer,

Being blood, In fact, Very soon,

Comma after introductory element or phrase

Examples:

To prevail in this matter, the plaintiff must satisfy four elements.

First, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant’s statement was false.

Set off dependent introductory phrases with a comma

Exception : When the sentence or the introductory phrase is short, or when your ear so counsels, omit the comma. Illustration 1: By October the debt had climbed to more than P100,000. Illustration 2: In 1989 the Litigation Section was the A.B.C.’s largest.

Set off dependent introductory phrases with a comma

Rule of thumb: If the introductory phrase is very short, e.g., not more than three words, the writer is given the discretion whether to use the comma or not. Either is acceptable; one may or may not place a comma depending on how one wants his sentence to sound.

Compare: Very soon the defendant will rest his case. Very soon, the defendant will rest

Compare:

Very soon the defendant will rest his case. Very soon, the defendant will rest his case.

COMMA WITH COORDINATE ADJECTIVES

Paired adjectives may independently modify a noun; to state the relationship negatively, the first adjective in the pair neither depends on nor modifies the second adjective.

E.g. 1: an ambitious, entrepreneurial woman

E.g. 2: a reserved, cautious person

E.g. 3: a simplistic, fallacious conclusion

Put a Comma Between Two Adjectives that Modify a Noun The defendant chose to wear his most colorful, traditional costume in court.

 When adjectives qualify the noun in different ways, or when one adjective qualifies another,

When adjectives qualify the noun in different ways, or when one adjective qualifies another, do not use a comma E.g. 1: a Scottish legal theorist E.g. 2: a distinguished foreign journalist E.g. 3: a small white rabbit

 Tip: If in doubt, silently put and between the adjectives. If it makes good

Tip: If in doubt, silently put and between the adjectives. If it makes good sense (a reserved and cautious person), place comma; if awkward (a small and white rabbit), don’t use comma

COMMA AFTER TRANSITIONAL WORDS Such as moreover, therefore, thus, furthermore When appearing in the beginning

COMMA AFTER TRANSITIONAL WORDS

Such as moreover, therefore, thus, furthermore When appearing in the beginning or in mid sentence, COMMAS must be used. Example:

Therefore, we have decided to withdraw. My advice, thus, is to intervene.

COMMA BEFORE INTERROGATORY TAGS Example: The judge is the Rotary president of the district, isn’t

COMMA BEFORE INTERROGATORY TAGS

Example:

The judge is the Rotary president of the district, isn’t he?

*Rule is applicable when the subject of both the statement and the question is the same person or thing.

COMMA BEFORE INTERROGATORY TAGS Compare with: I am planning to attend the IBP National Convention

COMMA BEFORE INTERROGATORY TAGS Compare with:

I am planning to attend the IBP National Convention this year. Aren’t you?

*Rule is not applicable when the subjects of the statement and the question are different.

COMMA TO AVOID AMBIGUITY Use comma to separate words or figures to avoid being misunderstood.

COMMA TO AVOID AMBIGUITY

Use comma to separate words or figures to avoid being misunderstood.

In 1991, 6,000 people died in the Ormoc flood.

COMMA TO COORDINATE DATES August 11, 2014 was the start of the new academic year

COMMA TO COORDINATE DATES

August 11, 2014 was the start of the new academic year at Saint Louis University, Baguio City.

COMMA TO SET OFF ABBREVIATIONS The abbreviation etc ., even if only a single term

COMMA TO SET OFF ABBREVIATIONS

The abbreviation etc., even if only a single term comes before it, is always preceded by a comma. The same rule applies to jr.

COMMAS TO SET-OFF PARENTHETIC EXPRESSIONS

-Words or expressions that give additional meaning but are only incidental to the main thought of the sentence. If they appear in the middle of the sentence, double commas are used.

Ex. Judges, just like any human, may be tempted to overlook facts out of pity.

COMMAS TO SET-OFF CONTRASTING EXPRESSIONS

-Parenthetic expressions introduced by not, but not, but, although not, though not usually appearing in the middle of the sentence

Ex. The plaintiff, but not his wife, is predisposed to settle.

COMMAS TO SET-OFF LEGAL CITATIONS

-Legal citations appearing in the middle of the sentence

Ex. In Lu v. Manipon, 381 SCRA 788, registration is not equivalent to title.

COMMAS TO SET-OFF APPOSITIVES

Words placed beside another to add to or explain the first. Sometimes preceded by such as, or, especially, particularly, most notably, etc.

Ex.1 Jose, Maria’s older brother, is here. Ex.2 The bus, old and dilapidated, still transports passengers.

COMMAS NOT TO SET-OFF SINGLE WORD APPOSITIVES

Single word placed beside another to add to or explain the first.

Ex. My sister Jhoanna is not here.

COMMAS TO SET-OFF NONRESTRICTIVE ELEMENTS phrases that modifies part of the sentence but which phrase is not essential to the over-all meaning of the sentence. -usually starts with which, who, although, though Ex. The class, which meets at the 4 th floor , has invited Judge Cabato.

COMMAS NOT TO SET-OFF RESTRICTIVE ELEMENTS Essential or restrictive phrases do not need commas -usually starts with that, when, because, before, while, if

Ex. The class that meets at the 4 th floor has invited Judge Cabato.

COMMAS TO SET-OFF QUOTATIONS

1. Before a quote when a phrase introduces the quote, but do not use a comma if the quote is integrated into a large sentence. He replied, “I think the car was blue.” He replied that the car was “blue with white racing stripes.”

COMMAS TO SET-OFF QUOTATIONS

2. Commas and periods always go inside of the closing quotation mark.

3. All other marks go inside the closing mark only if the mark is part of the quote.

He asked, “What time is lunch?”

COMMAS TO SET-OFF QUOTATIONS

4. All other marks go outside the closing mark if the mark is part of the larger sentence

Ex. Did he really call his classmate an “obnoxious sycophant”? She said “next Sunday”; however, I think she meant tomorrow.

COMMAS TO SET-OFF QUOTATIONS

Ex. “The laws”, said Cicero, “place the safety of all before the safety of individuals.”

COMMAS NOT TO SET-OFF QUOTATIONS

When the quotation is only one word Ex. The witness screamed “stop!”

Not with a partial quotation that is part of the sentence Ex. The mediator said that he is giving the parties “30-day extension.”

Always Use the Serial Comma  Separate items, including the last from the next to

Always Use the Serial Comma

Separate items, including the last from the next to the last, in a list of more than two. Makes phrasing parallel E.g. The defendants, the third-party defendants, and the counterdefendants.

Serial Comma  Omitting final comma may cause ambiguities  Illustration : The judge ordered

Serial Comma

Omitting final comma may cause ambiguities

Illustration : The judge ordered for separate comments on the motions for reconsideration, dismissal, accounting and litigate as pauper and court pass.

Query : How many comments does the judge require?

Serial Comma  Use comma between the last items in a series. Though considered optional,

Serial Comma

Use comma between the last items in a series. Though considered optional, the use of the comma in legal writing is recommended to avoid any possible confusion. My client’s estate is to be divided equally among his nephew, his son, his daughter, and his son-in-law.

Serial Comma

TIP : Use the serial comma always to avoid ambiguity Exceptions 1. name of law firms and business firms – follow firm’s own practice

e.g.

A, B & C Law Firm A, B & Associates Brown, Shipley and Company

Serial Comma  2. Omit the comma before the ampersand when listing the names of

Serial Comma

2. Omit the comma before the ampersand when listing the names of joint authors e.g. 6A C. Wright, A. Miller & M. Kane, Federal Practice and Procedure § 1528, at 294 (2d ed. 1990).

Comma before a conjunction that introduces a new subject and verb

Ex. The court declined the appeal, but the Governor is considering clemency.

Comma before a conjunction that introduces a new subject and verb

Tip: Avoid using a comma between a subject and its verb. Do not use a comma between two subjects that share a verb or between two verbs that share a subject.

CORRECT USAGE The officer pushed the door, which was in a state of disrepair, and

CORRECT USAGE The officer pushed the door, which was in a state of disrepair, and it opened. The plaintiff filed his reply brief, which was longer than court rules permitted.

CORRECT USAGE The complainant, a local homeowner, has contacted the police nine times. The witness

CORRECT USAGE The complainant, a local homeowner, has contacted the police nine times. The witness claimed that he, not the defendant, was driving the car. The judge, however, focused on the policy implications of the decision.

CORRECT USAGE The leaders of the union and the owners of the team met to

CORRECT USAGE The leaders of the union and the owners of the team met to begin negotiations. The lawyer objected to the statement and moved to strike it from the record.

CORRECT USAGE Red, white, and blue Honest, energetic, but headstrong He opened the letter, read

CORRECT USAGE Red, white, and blue Honest, energetic, but headstrong He opened the letter, read it, and made a note of its contents.

INCORRECT USAGE The leaders of the union, and the owners of the team met to

INCORRECT USAGE The leaders of the union, and the owners of the team met to begin negotiations. The lawyer objected to the statement, and moved to strike it from the record.

Avoid Using the Comma to Combine Two Sentences into One

Comma splice – using a comma as a period without a coordinating conjunction (e.g. and, together but) to hold independent clauses.

E.g. The rule fastens liability on the employer where his employee is negligent, otherwise there is no liability.

Avoid Using the Comma to Combine Two Sentences into One

How to correct 1 st remedy : The rule fastens liability on the employer where his employee is negligent; otherwise there is no liability. 2 nd remedy : The rule fastens liability on the employer where his employee is negligent. Otherwise there is no liability.

Avoid Using the Comma to Combine Two Sentences into One

Original : The commission prescribes two levels of qualifications, one is for principals and the other is for registered representatives.

Avoid Using the Comma to Combine Two Sentences into One

The commission prescribes two levels of qualifications; one is for principals and the other is for registered representatives. The commission prescribes two levels of qualifications: one is for principals and the other is for registered representatives.

Avoid Using the Comma to Combine Two Sentences into One

The commission prescribes two levels of qualifications: one is for principals; and the other is for registered representatives. The commission prescribes two levels of qualifications: one is for principals and one for registered representatives.

APOSTROPHE (“)

Used to indicate letters missing from words and to create possessive forms of nouns.

USE OF POSSESSIVES 1. Add ‘s to SINGULAR nouns, even if the base word ends

USE OF POSSESSIVES

1. Add ‘s to SINGULAR nouns, even if the base word ends in sibilants (with hissing endings) s, ss, z, or zh. The same rule is applied in proper nouns.

Plaintiff

Charles

Jones

Witness

Burns

Congress

Waitress

witch

defendant

Tomas

woman

family

Reyes

earth

Perez

testatrix

USE OF POSSESSIVES Exceptions: For classical or biblical or ancient proper names ending is s,

USE OF POSSESSIVES

Exceptions:

For classical or biblical or ancient proper names ending is s, add and apostrophe (‘) only.

Ex. Jesus Amos

Achilles

Narcissus

Isis

Aristophanes

Certain virtues take on an apostrophe only to form the possessive Ex. Righteousness conscience

USE OF POSSESSIVES If the possessive singular noun is followed by a word beginning with

USE OF POSSESSIVES

If the possessive singular noun is followed by a word beginning with an “s” sound, creating three “s” sounds together, the “s” after the apostrophe is dropped for ease in pronunciation.

Ex.

Business’ sales Witness’ signature

USE OF POSSESSIVES 2. Add ‘ to PLURAL nouns that end is s or z.

USE OF POSSESSIVES

2. Add to PLURAL nouns that end is s or z. Otherwise, add ‘s.

Defendants

Bosses

Framers

Children

witnesses

sisters

workers

brethren

Reyeses octopuses thirty days

USE OF POSSESSIVES 3. For singular names written in plural form, add the apostrophe only.

USE OF POSSESSIVES

3. For singular names written in plural form, add the apostrophe only.

Philippine Airlines Manila Times Court of Appeals Court of Industrial Relations

USE OF POSSESSIVES

4. The apostrophe is NOT used for pronoun possessives such as

its

his

hers

theirs

ours

yours

whose

USE OF POSSESSIVES

5. If joint ownership is meant, the possessive is formed by putting an apostrophe after the name of the last owner. when both own the lots together John and Myla’s lots

6. If individual ownership is meant, the apostrophe is used after each owner. when each owns separate lots John’s and Myla’s lots

USE OF POSSESSIVES

7. For compound expressions, the possessive is formed by putting the apostrophe after the last word. The bride-to-be’s necklace

‘ to form the plural of a letter, figure or symbol

7’s; t’s; i’s; C’s; M’s

(multiple numbers , single digit numbers in figures, dates) 1980s; Segregate bills by 50s. Boeing 767s We must walk in twos.

‘ to abbreviate words in citation sentences  Nat’l, Dep’t, Ass’n  *Uncapitalized abbreviations are

‘ to abbreviate words in citation sentences

Nat’l, Dep’t, Ass’n

*Uncapitalized abbreviations are pluralized with ‘s. (cd’s) *Capitalized abbreviations are pluralized with s. (PhDs)

IMPROPER USAGE Avoid informal contractions in formal legal writing Ex. Shouldn’t, aren’t, isn’t, can’t doesn’t,

IMPROPER USAGE

Avoid informal contractions in formal legal writing Ex. Shouldn’t, aren’t, isn’t, can’t doesn’t, wouldn’t

IMPROPER USAGE Do not use ‘ to create a plural form of a name that

IMPROPER USAGE

Do not use ‘ to create a plural form of a name that ends with an “s”. Instead add “es” to the word. Ex. Two Robertses on the Court

Four Joneses at the reunion

Semicolon Has the force of a “strong comma” or “weak period”, separating parts of the

Semicolon

Has the force of a “strong comma” or “weak period”, separating parts of the sentences, or joining sentences without need of a conjunction.

Semicolon “strong comma” – separates portions of a sentence of equal rank if the other

Semicolon

“strong comma” – separates portions of a sentence of equal rank if the other parts are divided by commas Ex. We have branches in Lipa City, Batangas; Los Banos, Laguna; and Dasmarinas, Cavite.

Semicolon “weak period” – joins two independent clauses without a conjunction Ex. Visitors visit; guests

Semicolon

“weak period” – joins two independent clauses without a conjunction

Ex.

Visitors visit; guests are invited.

(loose) Visitors visit. Guests are invited. (better)

Semicolon  Use a semicolon to separate sentence parts calling for a stronger break than

Semicolon

Use a semicolon to separate sentence parts calling for a stronger break than a comma First, semicolon may join statements too closely related to be split into two sentences by a period but not related closely enough for a comma to suffice

Semicolon

E.g. 1: The war had been not merely profoundly unsettling experience in itself; it had also marked for America the beginning of unaccustomed and vexing entanglements in international affairs.

Semicolon

E.g. 2: The statutes

must be viewed

against the background of the earlier rules that husband and wife are one, and that one the husband; and that husband took the wife’s chattels he was liable for her debts.

Semicolon

Second, semicolon may separate enumerated items that themselves contain commas, the purpose being to avoid ambiguity that would otherwise result from using commas in two different ways.

Semicolon  E.g. 1:The company has offices in Ermita, Manila; Ayala, Makati; and La Trinidad,

Semicolon

E.g. 1:The company has offices in Ermita, Manila; Ayala, Makati; and La Trinidad, Benguet.

E.g. 2: Permit me to state the things I value:

love, happiness and contentment; family, friends and loved ones; fine food, simple luxuries and good clothes; and humility, discipline and character.

Semicolon

Third, it separates lengthy statements following a colon.

E.g. The court gave three reasons for rejecting the assignment of errors of the appellant: (1) the appeal was filed out of time; (2) there was no payment of the appellate fees; and (3) the court a quo did not commit any errors of fact and law.

Semicolon  Note : Always put semicolons outside quotation marks or parentheses  E.g. “I

Semicolon

Note : Always put semicolons outside quotation marks or parentheses

E.g. “I dislike

.” [Montaigne] said,

“unpunishable thought”; and he admonished, “Let us not be ashamed to say

what we are not ashamed to think.”

Semicolon  Examples: The Court of Appeals granted appellant’s motion for extension of time to

Semicolon

Examples:

The Court of Appeals granted appellant’s motion for extension of time to file his brief; as a result, he had more time to research on precedents. The elements of defamation include a defamatory statement concerning another; publication to a third party; and fault amounting to at least negligence.

Semicolon  Effect: ;s tell the reader that more information, following the semicolon, will clarify

Semicolon

Effect: ;s tell the reader that more information, following the semicolon, will clarify your meaning. They add emphasis to the second clause as an important explanation of the first.

Advantages: highlight connections between ideas that will help the reader understand your meaning

Semicolon Disadvantages: Critics complain that writers use semicolons to gloss over imprecise thought. Like any

Semicolon

Disadvantages:

Critics complain that writers use semicolons to gloss over imprecise thought. Like any sentence structure, semicolons can be over-used.

Colon  -a punctuation mark of anticipation  -it means something will follow  -it

Colon

-a punctuation mark of anticipation

-it means something will follow

-it is used to introduce long quotations or any formal matter

-it is also used to introduce a series

Colon  It should not be used to separate the verb from the object 

Colon

It should not be used to separate the verb from the object

Ex. “Our witnesses are: Eric, Ronald, and Alfredo.” It should not be used to separate the preposition from its object Ex. We are going to look for the documents in: the court, the notary public’s office, and the Archives.

Set Off Incidental Comments with Paired Marks of Punctuation

Use commas, parentheses, or dashes or em dashes (long dashes)

E.g. When interpolating incidental thoughts – a mannerism to keep in check – you have a choice.

Alternative 1: When interpolating incidental thoughts (a mannerism to keep in check) you have a choice.

Set Off Incidental Comments with Paired Marks of Punctuation

Alternative 2: When interpolating incidental thoughts, a mannerism to keep in check, you have a choice.

Observation : the dashes provide the greatest break and the strongest emphasis.

E.g. We are proud – rightly – that our system affords these rights; and we regard them – wrongly – as naturally part of that system, ancient and honored axioms.

Set Off Incidental Comments with Paired Marks of Punctuation

Use comma to diminish emphasis

Use parentheses to further diminish emphasis

To give the least emphasis, place each of the adverbs in its customary syntactic position closer to the verb

E.g. We are rightly proud that our system affords these rights; and we wrongly regard them as naturally part of that system, ancient and honored axioms.

Hyphenating Phrasal Adjectives  E.g. Common law mirror image rule (what is the true noun?)

Hyphenating Phrasal Adjectives

E.g. Common law mirror image rule (what is the true noun?)

Better : common-law mirror-image rule

E.g. Civil-support payments, civil-rights case, common-law privilege, good-faith exception, long-latency occupational- disease cases, take-nothing judgment, third- degree assault

Hyphenating Phrasal Adjectives  Improve : The benefit of insurance and waiver of subrogation clauses

Hyphenating Phrasal Adjectives

Improve : The benefit of insurance and waiver of subrogation clauses in the affreightment contracts are invalid because they conflict with the plaintiff’s marine cargo insurance policy.

Otherwise, be stingy with hyphens  Today, American English has become unhospitable to hyphens EXCEPT

Otherwise, be stingy with hyphens

Today, American English has become unhospitable to hyphens EXCEPT to phrasal adjectives Preference to prefixes and their bases be written as solids; i.e., unhyphenated single words

E.g. a--, an--, ante--, anti– arch--, auto--, bi,- - bio--, co--, counter--, de--, di--, dis--,

extra--

Otherwise, be stingy with hyphens  fore--, hyper--, il--, im--, in--, infra--, inter-- , intra--,

Otherwise, be stingy with hyphens

fore--, hyper--, il--, im--, in--, infra--, inter-- , intra--, macro--, mal--, meta--, micro--, mic--, mini--, mis--, mono--, multi--, neo--, non– out--, over--, pan--, poly--, post--, pre- -, pro--, proto--, pseudo--, re--, semi--, sub-- , super--, supra--. Sur--, trans--, tri--, ultra--, under--, un--, uni--, under--

Use hyphen to join a prefix  1. whenever the omission of a hyphen will

Use hyphen to join a prefix

1. whenever the omission of a hyphen will baffle the reader or cause a genuine misreading if the word were spelled as a solid e.g. Hyper-illegible, pre-judicial, re-sign

Use hyphen to join a prefix  2. whenever omitting a hyphen produces a visual

Use hyphen to join a prefix

2. whenever omitting a hyphen produces a visual monstrosity e.g. Anti-injunction, multi- institutional

Use hyphen to join a prefix  3. whenever the base is a proper noun

Use hyphen to join a prefix

3. whenever the base is a proper noun e.g. Infra-African, pro-Philadelphia, anti-Obama

Slash out virgules / solidus / slash  -a short oblique stroke between two words

Slash out virgules / solidus / slash

-a short oblique stroke between two words indicating that whichever is appropriate may be chosen to complete the sense of the text in which they occur. ex. The defendant and/or his/her attorney must appear in court.

Slash out virgules / solidus / slash  These are abominations (disliked or abhorred). 

Slash out virgules / solidus / slash

These are abominations (disliked or abhorred). Look for the correct word. Prefer the familiar word to the far- fetched.

Slash out virgules / solidus / slash  Prefer the concrete word to the abstract.

Slash out virgules / solidus / slash

Prefer the concrete word to the abstract. Prefer the single word to the circumlocution.

THANK YOU. 8/25/2014 101

THANK YOU.