逗點的使用規則
Rules for Comma Usage

 


逗點的使用時機
 
1. 使用逗點來分開一系列項目 (三個或三個以上的事物) --- 最後兩個項目亦用逗點分開。"He hit the ball, dropped the bat, and ran to first base." 你可能在其他文法書學到 "and" 之前的逗點是不需要的;當然啦,如果你能掌握整個句子,明確表達句意,這個逗點是可以不用的。然而,在一些情況中,倘若你不使用這個逗點 (尤其是在此一系列項目很複雜或冗長時),那麼最後兩個項目可能結合變成另一個與這兩個完全不同的事物,如 macaroni and cheese (macaroni 是通心麵, cheese 是乾酪,而 macaroni and cheese 或 macaroni cheese 則是通心麵及乾酪烘成的布丁)。請使用逗點來分開一系列項目中的所有項目以避免這問題。

 

2. 使用逗點 + 小而美的連接詞 (and, but, for, nor, yet, or, so) 來連接兩個獨立子句,如 "He hit the ball well,  but he ran toward third base."

有些寫作者主張對等連接詞本身就是適當的分隔詞,所以會在簡短且平衡的獨立子句之間省略這個逗點 (如上例)。然而,如果你在諸如此類的情況中,對於要不要加逗點舉棋不定,或無法確定加或不加逗點,那麼最保險的作法就是加逗點,因為在此情況中,加逗點永遠是對的。

在逗點的用法中,最常見的錯誤之一是,逗點放在對等連接詞的後面。我們不敢說逗點永遠是位在連接詞的前面,絕不可能放在連接詞的後面,但逗點放在連接詞的後面是一種相當罕見的情況。當我們在說話時,有時會在小而美的連接詞後面稍做停頓,但這並非在停頓處加逗點的理由。

我們會在下面討論到當兩個獨立子句的第二個獨立子句以插入語句或副詞子句做開頭時,這兩個獨立子句之間逗點的用法。

 

3. 使用逗點來分開引導語句,如 "Running toward third base, he suddenly  realized how stupid he looked."

我們可以省略簡短引導語句後面的逗點,如果這項省略不會造成意思不清或閱讀上的困擾的話。如果你對於要不要加逗點舉棋不定,那麼最保險的作法就是加逗點,因為加逗點永遠是對的。如果你想進一步瞭解引導語句後面逗點的用法,那麼請按這裡一下

  

4. 使用逗點來分開插入語句,如 "The Founders Bridge, which spans the  Connecticut River, is falling down." 插入語句雖是句子的一部份,但我們可以將之移除而不會改變該句子的主要意思。插入語句有時被稱為「加入的資料」。這是標點符號最難的規則,因為何者是加入的或插入的,而何者是句子的主要意思,有時並不明確。

當插入語句 -- 感嘆詞,副詞修飾語,或甚至副詞子句 -- 位在用來連接兩個獨立子句的對等連接詞之後時,此插入語句的前面不可加逗點。

  • The Red Sox were leading the league at the end of May, but of course, they  always do well in the spring. ["but" 的後面不加逗點]
  • The Yankees didn't do so well in the early going, but frankly, everyone expects   them to win the season. ["but" 的後面不加逗點]
  • The Tigers spent much of the season at the bottom of the league, and even  though they picked up several promising rookies, they expect to be there again  next year. ["and" 的後面不加逗點]

當城市的名稱及該城市的省份 (州) 或國家的名稱一起出現時,省名 (州名) 或國名被視為插入語句。

  • We visited Hartford, Connecticut, last summer.
  • Paris, France, is sometimes called "The City of Lights."

當省份 (州) 變成所有格時,這規則就不再適用:

  • Hartford, Connecticut's investment in the insurance industry is well known.

再者,當省名 (州名) 或國名變成一個複雜構造的一部份時,第二個逗點必須去掉:

  • Heublein, a Hartford, Connecticut-based company, is moving to another state.

獨立片語永遠被視為插入語句,感嘆詞亦然。被稱呼或呼叫者的名字也永遠是插入語句。不過,這個名字必須是你實際上正在對他說話的人的名字。按這裡一下以進一步瞭解呼格或稱呼語 (vocatives)。

  • Their years of training now forgotten, the soldiers broke ranks.
  • Yes, it is always a matter, of course, of preparation and attitude.
  • I'm telling you, Juanita, I couldn't be more surprised. (I told Juanita I couldn't  be more surprised. [沒有逗點])
5. 使用逗點來分開對等或同位形容詞 (coordinated adjectives)。你可以將此視為 "That tall, distinguished, good looking fellow" 的規則 (相對於 "the little old lady")。如果你可以在兩個以上的形容詞之間放入 andbut,那麼各該位置通常是可以加逗點的位置。例如,你可以說 "He is a tall and distinguished fellow." 或 "I live in a very old and run-down house." 所以,你可以這樣寫:"He is a tall,   distinguished man." 及 "I live in a very old, run-down house." 但你不能這樣說 : "She  is a little and old lady." 或 "I live in a little and purple house." 是故,little 與  old 之間或 little 與  purple 之間不可加逗點。

 

6. 使用逗點來分開引用語句。由於我們使用引用語句的頻率不是很高,即使在寫作亦然,所以這可能是逗點用法中最難記的規則。我們強烈建議讀者從外國英文書報雜誌中找出一篇內有數個引句的文章,將它影印後置於案頭,做為寫作時的參考範本。一般而言,我們使用逗點來將引用語句與句子中解釋或引導引句的其他語句分開:

Summing up this argument, Peter Coveney writes, "The purpose and  strength of the romantic image of the child had been above all to  establish a relation between childhood and adult consciousness."

如果引句的中間被插入其他語句,那麼我們需要兩個逗點。但要注意切勿因此而產生逗點謬誤 (comma splice) 的情況。

  • "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many   things."
  • "I should like to buy an egg, please," she said timidly. "How do you sell them?"

切勿使用逗點來分開由 that 這個字所引導的引用語句或被嵌在一個較大結構中的引用語句:

  • Peter Coveney writes that "[t]he purpose and strength of . . ."
  • We often say "Sorry" when we don't really mean it.

再者,使用冒號 (而非逗點)來將解釋或引導語句與非常正式或非常冗長的引用語句(尤其是倘若引用語句比一個句子還要長的話)分開:

Peter Coveney had this to say about the nineteenth-century's use of children
in fiction
: "The purpose and strength of . . . . "

7. 使用逗點來分開表示對比的片語。
  • Some say the world will end in ice, not fire.
  • It was her money, not her charm or personality, that first attracted him.
  • The puppies were cute, but incredibly messy.

(有些寫作者會省略用來分開以 but 做開頭的對比片語的逗點。)

 

8. 使用逗點來避免句意的混淆。這通常也適用規則3
  • For most the year is already finished.
  • For most, the year is already finished.
  • Outside the lawn was cluttered with hundreds of broken branches.
  • Outside, the lawn was cluttered with hundreds of broken branches.
9. 英文文法有關標點符號的一個金科玉律:主詞及其動詞之間千萬別僅用一個逗點分開。"Believing completely and positively in oneself is essential for  success." [雖然讀者在 "oneself" 這個字的後面可能停頓一下,但我們沒有理由在停頓處加逗點。]

 

10. 排版印刷的因素:城市與省份 (州) [Hartford, Connecticut],日期與年份 [June 15, 1997*],姓名與頭銜 [Bob Downey, Jr.],冗長的數目 [123,456] 等等。

*注意:若含日期,我們以一個逗點或一對逗點來使年份變成插入語句:
        July 4, 1776, is regarded as the birth date of American liberty.
然而,若不含日期,則不加逗點:
        July 1776 was one of the most eventful months in American history.
在國際或軍事格式中,即使含日期亦不加逗點:
        The Declaration of Independence was signed on 4 July 1776.
 

逗點與引導語句

 

當一個句子以副詞子句做開頭時,副詞子句後面加逗點。
  • Although we had reviewed the film twice before, we never noticed these details about the shooting.
  • As the day drew to a smoky end, the firefighters put out the last of the embers.

我們可以省略大多數簡短引導語句 -- 介系詞片語,副詞或名詞片語 -- 後面的逗點 (事實上,這種情況相當常見):

  • Yesterday afternoon we sat around waiting for Bill to arrive.
  • By evening we had become impatient.
  • Jauntily he walked into the hall.

當一個介系詞片語是由三個字以上所組成,或與另一個介系詞片語連接,那麼其後加不加逗點將視寫作者的節奏感和句子的流暢度而定。

  • After his nap Figueroa felt better.
  • After his long nap in the backyard hammock, Figueroa felt better.

當一個副詞引導語句似乎是修飾整個句子,而不只是修飾動詞或句子其餘部分的某一字詞,那麼它的後面要加逗點。

  • Fortunately, no one in the bridal party was in that car.
  • Sadly, the old church was completely destroyed.
  • On the other hand, someone obviously was badly injured.

如果簡短的引導語句與其後的字句結合後可能造成句意不清,那麼必須加逗點來避免之。你們可以閱讀下面的句子,在不加逗點的情況下,會產生什麼樣的結果:

  • Until the spring course lists will not be published.
    Until the spring, course lists will not be published.
  • Inside the gym was brightly lighted and clean.
    Inside, the gym was brightly lighted and clean.

當一個句子是以獨立片語或副詞不定詞片語做開頭時,這些片語的後面要加逗點。(注意:如果不定詞片語係做為名詞且是句子的主詞,那麼此主詞及其動詞之間千萬別加逗點:"To believe in one's self is a good thing.")

  • Their headpieces flapping wildly about their ears, the priestesses began their eerie  chant.
  • To escape with our lives, we would have to run for the exits.

 

謹慎使用逗點

 

雖然我們似乎有許多使用逗點的理由,但我們並未將它們全部列出。然而,大多數學生在使用逗點時所發生的最大問題是濫用逗點。閱讀時的停頓處不一定是可以加逗點的地方。除非你能從本頁找到適用的規則,否則盡量不要加逗點。

Guide to Grammar and Writing