Punctuation: Commas, Semicolons and Colons

English Language Arts, Grade 6

Read this passage from Edith Nesbit’s book, The Railway Children . Find and circle the sequence and transition words and phrases. Although only 15 minutes had passed, it seemed to Bobbi that they had been standing there for hours and hours, holding those silly little red flannel flags that no one would ever notice. The train wouldn't care; it would go rushing by them and tear round the corner and go crashing into that landslide across the tracks and derail and kill everyone. Her hands grew cold and trembled. Just then came the distant rumble and hum of the metal rails, and, far away, a puff of white steam showed. "Stand firm," said Peter , "and wave like mad! When the train gets to that big furze bush, step back, but keep waving! Don't stand ON the tracks, Bobbi!" Now the train came rattling along very, very fast. "They don't see us! They won't see us! It's all no use!" screamed Bobbi. The two little flags they had placed on either side of the tracks swayed as the rushing train shook and loosened the loose stones that held them up. One of them slowly leaned over and fell on the track. Bobbi jumped forward, caught it up, and waved it. "Stay off the rails!" said Peter fiercely . It seemed that the train came on as fast as ever; it was very near now. "It's no good," Bobbi cried again. "Stand back!" cried Peter, and suddenly he dragged Phyllis back by the arm. But Bobbi cried, "Not yet, not yet!" and waved her two flags right over the tracks. The front of the engine looked black and enormous, its voice loud and harsh. "Oh, stop, stop, stop!" cried Bobbi. The oncoming rush of the train covered her voice with a mountain of sound. But afterwards she used to wonder whether the engine itself had not heard her. It seemed almost as though it had—for it slackened swiftly and stopped, not twenty yards from the place where Bobbi had waved the two flags over the tracks. Although she saw the great black engine stop, somehow Bobbi could not stop waving the flags. Even when the engineer and the fireman had stepped off the engine and Peter and Phyllis had poured out their excited tale of the awful obstruction just around the corner, Bobbi still waved her flags. Sequencing Visit www.newpathlearning.com for Online Learning Resources. © Copyright NewPath Learning. All Rights Reserved. 92-4063
eggs When to Use a Comma In a series: Use a comma after each item in a list of three or more items. Do not include a comma after the very last item. You need to stop at the store to buy bread, milk, and eggs. When to Use a Semicolon Use a semicolon to connect two closely related sentences that are not joined by a conjunction. Bring warm clothing; it is cold in Denver in February. Use a semicolon to connect two closely related sentences that are joined by a conjunctive adverb (consequently, however , or therefore ). The conjunctive adverb is always followed by a comma. The rink closes at 5 p.m.; however, it may be reserved for evening events. When to Use a Colon Use a colon to introduce a long list or a quote of multiple sentences. before a long list: These are his favorite artists: Picasso, da Vinci, Rembrandt, Cassatt, Degas, and Kahlo. before a long quote: Charles Dickens said: “Take nothing on its looks; take everything on evidence. There is no better rule.” For an appositive: Use commas to set off an appositive. An appositive is a noun or a phrase that describes the noun it follows. Renata’s town, Penfield, lies on a lake in Maine. (Penfield describes the town) Dr. Grover, a successful surgeon, has a practice in Muldane. (a successful surgeon describes Dr. Grover) In a compound sentence: Use a comma before the conjunction in a compound sentence. There must be an independent clause on each side of the conjunction. An independent clause can stand alone as a sentence. Roger tried to start the car again, and this time the motor turned over. (independent clauses on both sides of and ) I saw her in July, but I haven’t seen her since then. (independent clauses on both sides of but ) , ; : AD1B5 76 Punctuation: Commas, Semicolons, Colons Visit www.newpathlearning.com for Online Learning Resources. © Copyright NewPath Learning. All Rights Reserved. 92-4064