Verbal and Written Pausing in English [, ; : . ! ?]

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  • Verbally pauses are the silent spaces between words.
  • In writing we indicate such pauses by punctuation marks:

Comma      [ , ]                        (shorter time than the rest about 1 second

Semicolon [ ; ]

Colon          [ : ]                            (longer time 2+ seconds)

Period         [ . ]

Question/Exclamation marks  [ ? ! ] [a Breath-pause could be 3 seconds or so

  • For the Comma Pause ( , ) = short pauses (about ½ second) in speech

Example:

                   I wanted to make my mother happy, so I made her breakfast.

  • We also use commas/semicolons to clearly separate items of a list.
  • Examples:

                  For breakfast I made eggs, bacon, and pancakes.

  • We also use colons to clearly introduce items of a list. (Longer Pause)

                   He wants the following:  Bread; milk; butter; and cheese.

 

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