英文寫作標點符號使用準則

文法與單字選用,英文寫作與文法


Comma, Colon, Semicolon, Dash

英文寫作標點符號怎麼用?

許多人不清楚在英文寫作時標點符號該如何使用,但在學術論文撰寫時,遵循標點符號的使用準則是非常重要的,若用逗號分隔兩個獨立不相關的子句會讓讀者感到困惑,但若適當的使用分號分隔則可使文章更加通順易懂。因此,當在英文論文或文章中使用標點符號,如逗號 comma (,), 冒號colon (:), 分號semicolon (;), 或破折號dash (—)時,請注意以下使用準則:

英文寫作中如何使用逗號(Comma)

在大部分的寫作中,逗號是最常被使用的標點符號,因為逗號的使用時機和使用準則最多,因此許多人會對如何正確使用感到困惑,以下是逗號的幾點重要功能,以及適當的使用時機。

排列項目或短片語:

I bought bread, cheese, and pickles at the grocery store.

分隔兩個獨立的較長子句,並使用連接詞連接:

Astronomers have known about the positions of stars for centuries, but they didn’t understand that the earth revolves around the sun.

在前導片語之後使用:

In preparation for the next convention, the representatives studied up on the most important issues.

用來分隔插入片語(parenthetical phrase) 或插入語(interrupter):

All doctors, if they care about their patients, are concerned with good office hygiene.

英文寫作常見逗號使用錯誤

Comma splice. 不要在未使用連接詞的情況下,使用逗號分隔兩個獨立的句子

錯誤範例: Thousands of protesters showed up on the streets, they were shouting and carrying large posters.

正確範例: Thousands of protesters showed up on the streets; they were shouting and carrying large posters.

Combining lengthy phrases. 若在複合句中使用逗號,或使用逗號分隔子句會造成讀者困惑

錯誤範例: Some useful subjects are English, which is an international language, math, which is used in all domains of sciences and social sciences, and philosophy, which underpins many other areas of study.

正確範例: Some useful subjects are English, which is an international language; math, which is used in all sciences and social sciences; and philosophy, which underpins many other areas of study.

英文寫作中如何使用冒號(Colon)

冒號除了用來條列之外,也用來告訴讀者 “Here’s what I mean.”。通常在英文寫作中,冒號不常被使用,除非您有許多內容需要條列, 冒號的使用準則較為嚴謹,但也相對容易被記住。

介紹一個或多個項目:

Humans use five major senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch.

分隔兩個獨立子句,第二個子句用來敘述、說明、改寫或延伸第一個子句:

Martha realized that her worst fear was coming true: her son was being sent to war.

(*冒號後使用獨立的子句解釋Martha’s fear)

商業書信或正式信件開頭問候語:

To the Central Valley Committee Chairman:

其他冒號使用準則

冒號後的第一個字母不要大寫,除非是專有名詞:

錯誤範例: I have three desires: To eat, sleep, and work.

正確範例: I have three desires: to eat, sleep, and work.

當引號內包含多個句子,許多作者會傾向使用冒號而非逗號來引出內容:

In Chapter 3, the author explains his theory: “Dogs have dreams, but they don’t dream as humans do. Their dreams reflect a primal desire for pleasure, whereas humans are preoccupied with the ego and self-image. This is equally true in wakefulness and sleep.”

接在冒號之後的內容不一定要是完整的句子,可以是單詞或片語:

There is one mantra that can sum up our position towards climate change: urgent action.

常見冒號錯誤

分隔兩個平等並且無相關的兩個子句:

錯誤範例: Sarah and her friends loved spending time on the mountain: nature always held a special meaning for them.

正確範例: Sarah and her friends loved spending time on the mountain; nature always held a special meaning for them.

(*若兩個子句完全無相關,則應使用句號,若第二個子句和第一個子句有某種程度相關,並且並非用來陳述、說明或改寫第一個子句,則使用分號分隔)

過度使用冒號:

冒號屬於強調性質的標點符號且應該要少使用,將冒號想像為暫停標誌,用來提醒讀者注意 “Hey! Pay attention to this. This is important.” 如果路上有過多的暫停標誌,您則無法順利並快速的前進,同樣的道理,若文章中包含過多的冒號,讀者也無法順利閱讀。

冒號為用來吸引讀者注意力,並且清楚的指出重要訊息,因此,許多作者會使用冒號來導出他們的主要主張或是支持證明。

英文寫作中如何使用分號(Semicolon)

分號使用在分隔兩個獨立的概念(或兩個獨立的子句),但這兩個句子是有相關性的。當陳列複雜的概念或片語,並且句中包含逗號時,適合使用分號來分隔。分號擁有逗號的功能,但包含更多意思,亦擁有冒號的功能,但更具有彈性。

在句中加入兩個或多個概念,而這些概念互為平等時:

The universe has always called to human beings; there could be no more final frontier than space.

加入兩個用連接副詞或轉折片語連接的獨立子句:

Sam thought David was inviting him to the picnic to enjoy a nice day out; as it turned out, David was planning a surprise birthday party.

陳列許多或一系列不同的項目,項目中包含逗號時,或者項目相對長且性質較複雜:

Our family members came all the way from Denver, Colorado; Rochester, Minnesota; and even Paris, France.

連接兩個獨立子句並使用對等連接詞(若兩個子句已使用逗號分隔),或者當兩個子句較長時:

My main research objective is to isolate the cause of the disease, as well as to contribute to the existing literature; for this will bring an end to starvation across the continent, create new study designs related to epidemiology, and change the very paradigm of my research field.

應使用分號而非逗號的情況

錯誤範例: The specimens were treated properly, however, they were not stored properly.

正確範例: The specimens were treated properly; however, they were not stored properly.

*The conjunctive adverb “however” shows a connection between the two independent clauses; do not use a comma two connect two independent clauses without a coordinating conjunction (and, but, or, nor, etc.).

錯誤範例: The sun is wonderful: it produces light, which plants need to survive, it gives us warmth, which is useful for most life, and it makes a sad day happier, which is obviously a positive trait!

正確範例: The sun is wonderful: it produces light, which plants need to survive; it gives us warmth, which is useful for most life; and it makes a sad day happier, which is obviously a positive trait!

*若只使用逗號,則無法清楚的表明陳列的項目為何,分號用來分開包含逗號的項目。

英文寫作中如何使用破折號(Dashes)

破折號應可被視為用途最多樣的標點符號,但是,如同分號,破折號在很多文章中都並未被適當活用,在許多情況下,破折號可以被當作逗號、括弧或是冒號使用,但卻可以帶來細微的差異。

使用破折號替代逗號

當撰寫到附帶片語時,前後各使用一個破折號可以代替逗號,破折號更有強調之意,讓讀者能更加集中在破折號中提到的訊息。

使用逗號導入附帶片語:

And so, when the baby was born in June, nearly two months premature, the parents were happy but quite nervous, and they still had to buy all of the baby supplies.

使用破折號導入附帶片語:

And so, when the baby was born in June—nearly two months premature—the parents were happy but quite nervous, and they still had to buy all of the baby supplies.

(*破折號強調”baby was premature”的重點,表現出此內容在句中的重要性)

使用破折號替代括弧

前後各使用一個破折號可代替括弧,因為破折號較為非正式,因此在學術英文中較少出現,但是,使用破折號可較明顯的將句子中斷,因此也更能強調內容。

當使用破折號代替括弧時,原接在括弧後的標點符號應刪除:

使用括弧: After taking all of his final exams (including seven essays and three multiple choice tests), David just wanted to sleep.

使用破折號: After taking all of his final exams—including seven essays and three multiple choice tests—David just wanted to sleep.

*破折號較為顯而易見,因此較能有效地中斷句子並吸引讀者注意。

若為在句子的最後選擇使用破折號代替括弧,則只需要使用一個破折號(而非前後各一)

使用括弧That coffee shop offers a selection of exotic gourmet coffee (or at least that is how they describe it).

使用破折號That coffee shop offers a selection of exotic gourmet coffee—or at least that is how they describe it.

*The dash seems to work especially well when placed at the end of a sentence—it extends the sentence like an addendum.

使用破折號替代冒號

當在強調句子的結論時,使用破折號代替冒號可以帶出不一樣的意義,破折號可導出附加的內容,且使用方式更為彈性。破折號較冒號較為非正式。

冒號: The executives finally decided what they would do with the company: sell it at a loss.

單一破折號: The executives finally decided what they would do with the company—sell it at a loss.

冒號: Let’s go where we went last year: Disneyland!

單一破折號:  Let’s go where we went last year—Disneyland!

*Using the dash in this way conveys a sense of anticipation (or of inevitability) and can add an almost editorial feel to the writing.

使用標點符號時須注意內容及讀者為何

在撰寫文章時,當在選用標點符號時,應考慮書寫的內容為何,以及讀者為誰。舉例而言,研究者若想在期刊上發表論文,應該先了解該期刊大部分的作者如何使用標點符號。在撰寫新聞、雜誌等英文文章內容時,也是採取同樣的準則。

 

Wordvice 資源

APA 格式文獻引用範例

怎麼寫出一份吸引人的緒論

如何撰寫研究論文的研究結果

如何靈活替換論文中的動詞,讓文章更好讀?

如何寫研究論文的摘要

論文標題怎麼下最合適

論文中常用的轉折、連接詞和片語

論文當中應該要多使用主動還是被動?

英文履歷好用動詞集

研究論文的改寫技巧

其他資源

Rules for Comma Use (Grammarly)

Using Commas, Colons, and Semicolons within Sentences (GrammarBook)

Rules for Using Semicolons (University of Wisconsin Writing Center)

How to Use the Em Dash (The Punctuation Guide)

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