This section is from the book "Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: A Guide To Correct Writing", by Thos. E. Hill. Also available from Amazon: Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: The How-To-Do-Everything Book Of Victorian America.
"Dealer in hats, caps, boots, shoes, etc." "Hedges, trees, groves, houses, and people, all went rushing by." "Towering far above us stood the pines, silent, majestic, and grand." "Verily, verily, I say unto you."
The Semicolon (;) is used where a sentence consists of several members each constituting a distinct proposition, and yet having dependence upon each other; as
"Some men are born great ; some acquire greatness ; some have greatness thrust upon them." "Contributors: Will. M. Carleton; Wm. C. Bryant; B. F. Taylor; John G. Saxe." "Contents : Riches ; Poverty ; Religion."
The Colon (:) is used to divide a sentence into two or more parts, which, although the sense is complete in each, are not wholly independent ; as
"Temperance begets virtue : virtue begets happiness." "Two questions grow out of the subject: Ist: What is the necessity of a classical education ? 2d: How far can a classical education be made applicable to the ordinary business affairs of life ?"
The Period (.) is placed at the end of every complete and independent sentence; before decimals; between pounds and shillings; after initial letters, and for abbreviations; as
"Man, know thyself." "Chas. Williams, M.D." "J. Q. Adams." " Genl. Supt. of C, B., and Q. R. R." " £25. 8s. 4d." "4.24 miles."
The Exclamation Point (!) denotes sudden or violent emotion ; as
"O blissful days! Ah me! How soon ye passed! " "Charge, Chester, charge! On, Stanley, on!" "Great bargains! Clothing sold at forty per cent. below cost!" "Rejoice! Rejoice! the summer months are coming."
The Note of Interrogation (?) is Used after every sentence in which a question is asked; as
"What season of the year do you enjoy most ?"
It is also used to denote sneeringly the unbelief of the speaker; as
" His wise counsels (?) failed to accomplish their end."
Brackets [ ] and Parentheses ( ) are employed to enclose words thrown into a sentence by way of explanation, which could be omitted without injury to its construction ; as
"I have met (and who has not) with many disappointments." "Eight (8) miles and one hundred (100) yards." "In conclusion, gentlemen, I am for the constitution, the whole constitution, and nothing but the constitution." [Great applause.]
The Dash ( - ) is used when the subject breaks off suddenly, and to show the omission of words, letters and figures ; thus:
"I would - but ah! I fear it is impossible - I would - I will reform." " The pulse fluttered - stopped - went on - stopped again - moved - stopped."
" This agreement entered into this------day of------, 18 - , between-------------------of the first part, and -------------------of the second part, witnesseth, etc."
The Hyphen (-) is employed as a character between two words to show that they are connected together as a compound word; thus:
Thirty-fold, super-heated, four-leaved, etc.
It is also used at the end of a syllable when the remainder of the word follows on the next line. Also in dividing a word to show its pronunciation ; as
Pro-cras-ti-nate ; val-e-tud-i-na-ri-an ; co-op-e-rate.
The Ellipsis (..) is used to represent the omission of words, syllables, and letters, and is sometimes represented by a dash ; thus, k - g for king: occasionally by stars; thus, * * * * : and sometimes by periods ; like these...
The following examples illustrate its use.
"Mrs. W------ ---------, of C----------, is said to be the fortunate individual." " This was in 1850. * * * * Twenty years later, in 1870, we gather up, again, the thread of our discourse." "If he had married .. Ah, well! it was not so to be."
The Apostrophe (') is employed to distinguish the possessive case; thus:
And the omission of letters in the beginning or middle of a word , thus,
"I'll, " for "I will." "Thou'lt," for "Thou wilt." "Prop'r," for "Proprietor." "In'st," for "Interest," etc.
See rules for punctuation, in the chapter relating to "Sign Painting."
The Caret (^) is employed, in writing, to show where a word, or several words have been omitted in the sentence, and have been placed above the line ; as
handmaid of e
" Temperance is the virtue." " Improvment."
Quotation Marks (" ") are used by the writer to designate a word or sentence quoted or copied from another author ; as
" Three things bear mighty sway with men, The Sword, the Sceptre, and the Pen."
The Marks of Reference (* † ‡ § || ¶) are used to call attention to notes of explanation at the bottom of the page. If many notes are used and these are all exhausted, they can be doubled. Some writers use letters, and some figures, for reference.