: Business Grammar Builder. : (.. .. )


: 4302

Unit 40 punctuation


 Capital letters (also called upper-case letters) are used:

to begin a sentence Thank you for your letter of 28 July.

for names of people Jim, Helen, Mr Armstrong Mrs Jones

for names of organizations European Community, Ministry of Finance

for titles of books, etc As Jim Tucker said in 'Managing Change', ...

for names of places Paris, France, Europe

for calendar information Monday, March, New Year's Day


 In book and film titles, small words like and, a/the and prepositions do not usually have capitals, unless they are at the beginning. His latest film is called

'In the Heat of the Night'.


 Some words can be written with capitals, or in lower case. These are:

seasons in Spring, in spring

decades the Nineties, the nineties

jobs She is a good sales director (general use),

Sales Director (job title)

compass points the east of Scotland (description), the Far East (place name)


 Full stop (.) B


 Full stops are used at the end of sentences.


 Full stops are sometimes used in abbreviations to show that letters in a word are missing. In modern British English they are not used so often. Prof. E. Taylor M.P. e.g. i.e. etc.


 Comma (,) C


 A comma in writing represents a brief pause in speech. When a sentence has several clauses, commas are placed between them to make the sentence easier to read. We do a lot of business with Asia, and it's an important market for us. We do a lot of business with Asia, which is an important market for us.


But we use a full stop, not a comma, to separate complete sentenc5s. We do a lot of business with Asia. It's an important market for us.



Shes threatening to hand in her notice if they dont give her a pay

rise.(=to officially tell your employer that you are leaving your job)

 A comma is used in lists, except for the last two items where we use and.

This product is safe, hygienic, practical and cheap.


We can use a comma before and if the last two items in the list are long. This product is safe, easy to maintain, and kind to the environment.


 Linking words at the beginning of a sentence are followed by a comma.

In fact, the Portuguese market is growing fast.


Linking words in the middle of a sentence have commas before and after. The

Portuguese market, on the other hand, is growing fast.


 Commas are used with non-defining relative clauses. This product, which is the

top of our range, retails at £250.


 A comma can introduce direct quotes. A Lloyds agent said, 'This will mean some very large claims.'


 When writing direct speech we use a comma before the actual weds spoken. In reported speech commas are not used. Compare: Your sales director said,

'Yes, that might be possible.' Your sales director said it might be possible.


 Study where we put a comma with large numbers:


260 1,569 18,500 127,000 4,650,000

Note that in some other languages a dot is used here. A dot in English represents a decimal point.


 Semi-colon (;) D


 We can join two sentences with related meanings using a semi-colon. We need better technology; better technology costs money.


 A semi-colon is also used to separate long items in a list. Notice the use of commas and semi-colons in this example: Institutional investors include Nomura, the Japanese securities house; GEC of the US; and Charterhouse, the UK investment bank.


 Colon (:) E


 A colon introduces items in a list. The input selector has four positions: CD, DVD, tuner and auxiliary.


 A colon can introduce an explanation of the previous part of the sentence.

China is booming: output is up, profits are up, confidence is high.



Were looking for someone who can fit in with the rest of our team.(=to seem suitable in a particular place, or with other things)

 A colon is also used to introduce examples. We're entering a lot of new markets, eg: the Baltic states.


 Speech marks (' ') (" ") F


 Speech marks (also called quotation marks) are used when we write the actual words that someone says. Punctuation goes inside. They can be single or double.

'This share issue will supply the capital we need,' said Alan Jones of MSD. Alan

Jones of MSD said, 'This share issue will supply the capital we need.'


 Titles of books, reports, films, etc, are sometimes put inside single speech marks, and we put punctuation outside in this case. I strongly recommend Jim Tucker's new book 'Managing Change'.


Book titles, etc, can also be put in italics rather than speech marks.


 Question mark (?) and exclamation mark (!) G


 Question marks only occur after the question. He asked, 'What are the most important issues facing our company?'


 Exclamation marks are used in informal writing, but are not considered appropriate in formal writing. They show surprise, pleasure, etc. Guess what's happened! I've just got engaged!



Im not taking out another loan it took me years to work off the last one.(=to pay back a debt by earning the money you owe, or by working without pay for the person who lent you the money)



Exercise 1 (A)


Tick () the one sentence in each group a)-c) which is punctuated correctly.



a) 'What's the best way to control our costs, she asked?'


b)'What's the best way to control our costs?' she asked.


c) 'What's the best way to control our costs,' she asked?


a) We all agreed, that protectionism, was not the answer.


b)We all agreed that protectionism, was not the answer.


c) We all agreed that protectionism was not the answer.

3 a) Helen who is a very experienced investment analyst, agreed. 

b) Helen, who is a very experienced investment analyst, agreed. 

c) Helen, who is a very experienced investment analyst agreed. 

4 a) He told me not to wait and said, 'I'll see you later.'  b) He told me, not to wait and said 'I'll see you later.'  c) He told me not to wait and said I'll see you later. 


Exercise 2 (A, B, C, G)

Rewrite this email, adding any necessary capital letters and punctuation. The

exercise also includes using apostrophes for contracted verbs forms (Ive, Im, etc.)


APPENDIX 1 Irregular verbs


Verb Past simple Past participle arise arose arisen

be was, were been bear bore born beat beat beaten become became become begin began begun bend bent bent

bet bet bet/betted

bind bound bound

bite bit bitten/bit

bleed bled bled blow blew blown break broke broken breed bred bred bring brought brought

broadcast broadcast broadcast build built built

burn burnt/burned burnt/burned

burst burst burst

buy bought bought catch caught caught choose chose chosen come came come

cost cost cost creep crept crept cut cut cut deal dealt dealt dig dug dug do did done

draw drew drawn

dream dreamt/dreamed dreamt/dreamed

drink drank drunk drive drove driven eat ate eaten fall fell fallen feed fed fed

feel felt felt

fight fought fought find found found flee fled fled

fly flew flown forbid forbade forbidden forget forgot forgotten forgive forgave forgiven freeze froze frozen

Verb get give

Past simple got


Past participle got/gotten given

go went gone grind ground ground grow grew grown hang hung hung have had had hear heard heard hide hid hidden hit hit hit

hold held held hurt hurt hurt keep kept kept kneel knelt knelt know knew known lay laid laid lead led led

lean leant/leaned leant/leaned leap leapt/leaped leapt/leaped learn learnt/learned learnt/learned lend lent lent

let let let lie lay lain


lose make mean meet pay put read ride ring rise run say see seek sell send set sew shake shine shoot show


lost made meant met paid put read rode rang rose ran said saw sought sold sent

set sewed shook shone shot showed


lost made meant met paid put read ridden rung risen run said seen sought sold sent

set sewn/sewed shaken shone

shot shown

Verb shrink

Past simple shrank

Past participle shrunk

shut shut shut

sing sang sung sit sat sat sleep slept slept slide slid slid

smell smelt/smelled smelt/smelled speak spoke spoken

speed sped/speeded sped/speeded

spell spelt/spelled spelt/spelled spend spent spent

spill spilt/spilled spilt/spilled

spin spun spun spit spat spat split split split

spoil spoilt/spoiled spoilt/spoiled

spread spread spread

spring sprang sprung

stand stood stood steal stole stolen

stick stuck stuck sting stung stung strike struck struck swear swore sworn sweep swept swept swim swam swum swing swung swung take took taken teach taught taught

tear tore torn

tell told told think thought thought throw threw thrown

understand understood understood wake woke woken

wear wore worn

weave wove/weaved woven/weaved weep wept wept

win won won

wind wound wound

APPENDIX 2 Spelling


Present simple

In the third person singular, a present simple verb ends in -s. But verbs ending in o, s, ch,

sh, x add -es.

He goes He misses She watches He wishes She relaxes


When a verb ends consonant + y, the changes to -ies. But we do not change the -y

after a vowel.

hurry - hurries copy - copies BUT stay - stays enjoy enjoys


Present continuous (and adding -ing generally)

We leave out e when we add -ing to a verb. But we keep a double .

decide - deciding write - writing BUT see - seeing agree agreeing


When a verb ends in -ie, we change ie to -ying. But does not change.

die - dying lie - lying BUT hurry - hurrying

Sometimes we double a final consonant. This happens when a verb ends in 'consonant- vowel-consonant'.

plan - planning stop - stopping BUT meet - meeting work working


Most two-syllable verbs are regular. But if the final syllable is stressed we double the last consonant.

market - marketing BUT begin - beginning discuss discussing


Past simple (and adding -ed generally)

When a verb ends in consonant + y, we change to -ie.

try - tried deny - denied hurry - hurried copy copied


Sometimes we double a final consonant. This happens when a verb ends in 'consonant- vowel-consonant'.

plan - planned regret - regretted stop - stopped BUT meet meeting


Plural nouns

Nouns add s to make a plural. But after -ch, -sh, -ss, -x we add -es.

match - matches wish - wishes glass - glasses box boxes


Most nouns ending in add -s. But a few have -es.

kilos photos pianos studios BUT heroes potatoes tomatoes

When a noun ends in consonant + y, we change to -ies. But we do not change

after a vowel.

party - parties story - stories BUT day - days journey journeys


We form many adverbs from an adjective + ly. On a few occasions we leave out e.

safe - safely strange - strangely BUT true - truly whole wholly


When an adjective ends in consonant + y, we change to -il. easy - easily angry angrily


When an adjective ends in consonant + ie, we change e to -y.

probable - probably sensible sensibly


When an adjective ends in -ic, we add -ally. There is one exception.

automatic - automatically romantic - romantically BUT public-publicly


The suffix -ful has only one l. When -ly is added for adverbs, a double l is formed.

successful successfully


ie or ei?

There is a useful rule: i before e, except after when the sound is /i:/.

field believe science (sound is not /i:/) receive (sound is /i:/)


Exceptions to this rule are their, weigh and weight.


q and u

The letter q is always followed by u.

question require quality


Silent letters

Many words contain letters which do not obviously form a sound. These are sometimes

bt doubt


mb plumber


gn sign


kn know



called 'silent letters'. The silent letters are underlined. psychology science

who wrong


Same sound, different spelling

The same sound in English is often spelt using different letters. In each group below, the

sound underlined is the same.

Vowels Consonants

company trouble rubbish blood relation share sure conscious delicious road most home though cheap furniture watch

earth further word shirt phone finish laugh

wait great late weight now loud down found

Same pronunciation, different spelling and meaning

These words are called 'homophones'. Common examples are:

allowed/aloud court/caught fare/fair find/fined knew/new no/know saw/sore two/too wait/weight warn/worn waste/waist write/right


Words with a syllable which is not pronounced

Some words are spoken with fewer syllables than they look. This often leads to spelling problems. Examples are:

people Wednesday (spoken with 2 syllables, not 3)

temperature vegetable interesting comfortable (spoken with 3 syllables, not 4)


Nouns and verbs with and s

advice practice (nouns) advise practise (verbs)


APPENDIX 3 Determiners



A determiner is a word used in front of a noun to show which thing you mean, or to

show the quantity of something. Determiners include: a/the, my/your, this/that, all/most/some/any no/none, much/many/a little/a few, each/every both/either/neither.


We do not use a determiner if we are talking generally. Our/Those/Some computers are expensive, (particular computers) Computers are a part of everyone's life. (computers in general)


All, most, many, some, a few

Before a plural noun we can use all/most/many/some/a few. Note the structures:

All/most/many/some/a few employees have 25 days' paid holiday. All/most/many

/some la few of the employees have 25 days' paid holiday. All the employees have 25 days paid holiday. We can use my, your, etc, in place of the, and we can use pronouns: All/most/many/some/a few of our employees have 25 days' paid holiday. All/most/many/some/a few of them have 25 days' paid holiday.


Before an uncountable noun similar structures are possible. We use much in place of many, a little in place of a few, and it for the pronoun. All/most/much /some/a little of the information in this report is useful. All/most I much I some la little of it is useful.


With singular nouns we do not use the words above, except for a few special expressions: all day all night


All meaning 'everything' or 'the only thing'

We can use all + subject + verb to mean 'everything' or 'the only thing':

That's all I know about it. (all = everything)

All we need is a signature, (all = the only thing)


In modern English it is unusual to use all as a single-word subject or object. Instead we use everything.

All the preparations are/Everything is going well.


No, none

We can use no with a singular noun, plural noun or uncountable noun.

No employee has more than 25 days' paid holiday.

No new ideas were put forward at the meeting.

There was no useful information in the report.


We do not use no if there is another negative word. In this case we use any. We haven't dismissed any employees.


We do not use no of. Instead, we use none of or none on its own as a pronoun.

None of the employees have more than 25 days' paid holiday.

None have more than 25 days' paid holiday.


To emphasize the idea of none we can use None at all or Not one or Not a:

A: How many people came?

B: None at all!/Not one!/Not a single person!


Each, every

The meaning of each and every is similar and often either word is possible. They are both followed by a singular noun.


We use each when we think of the members of a group as individuals, one by one. It is more usual with smaller groups and can mean only two.

Make sure that each parcel has a label.


We use every when we think of all the members together, and it is usual with a larger number.

Sales have increased every year for the last five years. I believe every word he says.


We can use each of, but we cannot use every of.

Each of the parcels needs a label.


Each can be used after the subject, or at the end of a sentence.

The parcels each need a label.

The parcels need a label each.


Both, either, neither

We use both, either and neither to refer to two things.


Both means 'the one and the other'. Note the structures:

Both emails/both the emails/both of the emails/both of them are important. The emails are both important. I've read them both.


Either means 'the one or the other'. Neither means 'not the one or the other'.

Monday or Tuesday? Yes, either day/either of the days is fine.

Monday or Tuesday? I'm sorry, but neither day/neither of the days is convenient.


APPENDIX 4 Verb + preposition


Verb + preposition

Here is a list of verbs and the prepositions normally used with them:

apply for

concentrate on insist on

refer to

approve of

consist of know about

rely on

believe in

cooperate with lead to

specialise in

belong to

decide on listen to

suffer from

benefit from

depend on object to

sympathise with

compete against

focus on pay for

take care of

comply with

hope for qualify for

wait for


Can you take care of the office while I'm out?


Some of the verbs above can be used without preposition + object.

I hope/know/insist. It depends. I've decided. I'm listening/waiting.


Others must have a preposition + object.

The process consists of four main stages. It belongs to me.

I'm relying on you for your support. This will lead to a lot of problems.


In questions the preposition usually goes at the end. Who does this belong to? What does it consist of? Who are you waiting for?


Verb + object + preposition

With some verbs the object comes before the preposition. Here are some common examples:

add something to

ask someone about/for

explain something to inform someone about/of

share something with spend something on

blame someone for borrow something from compare something with/to

congratulate someone


divide something into

insure something against invest something in

invite someone to protect someone from prevent someone from

split something into supply someone with tell someone about thank someone for

translate something into

Can they insure us against fire risk?

Nobody in Russia is prepared to invest money in production.


With remind there is a difference in meaning between about and of.

Gillian reminded me about the appointment. (= she told me not to forget)

Gillian reminds me of my sister. (= she is like my sister)


Uses of different prepositions

Some prepositions are used to introduce particular kinds of information. Knowing this

can help you to understand some of the differences in the previous section C.


about often introduces the subject matter


at often shows direction


for often shows purpose or reason


from often shows the origin of something


on often shows confidence or certainty


to often refers to a person

Do you know about EU regulations in this area? We're thinking about changing our advertising slogan.

I'm looking at your order details on the screen right now. I hate it when my boss shouts at me.

I must apologise for being late. I've

asked the waiter for the bill.

I haven't heard from them for a long time. This problem results from bad planning.

Can we agree on a discount of 5\%? We're depending on you to finish the job by Friday.

Could you explain this clause to me, please? I don't think he was listening to me.


APPENDIX 5 Adjective + preposition


Adjective + preposition

Some adjectives can have a preposition after them. The preposition may be followed by a


or noun phrase.

We're all disappointed with the poor figures.

I'm responsible for a sales team of eight people that covers the south of the country.


When followed by a verb, the -ing form must be used.

We might be interested in placing more orders in the future.


An adjective can also be followed by a to infinitive. If we need to mention a person, we use for between the adjective and the infinitive.

It's important to follow the safety procedures.

It's important for us to move quickly in these negotiations.

It's good for children to make their own choices. Too much well-meaning liberalism means that it's harder for us to set boundaries for them.




afraid of amazed at/by bored with disappointed with doubtful about enthusiastic about excited about fascinated by

fed up with fond of interested in keen on nervous of

optimistic about pessimistic about

pleased with

proud of satisfied with serious about shocked at/by surprised at/by suspicious of tired of worried about



I'm really excited about starting my new job. I'm not very keen on fried food, to be honest.


For behaviour towards another person we use adjective + to. Examples include good to, kind to, nice to, polite to, rude to.


When my mother was ill my colleagues were all very kind to me. I thought he was rather rude to the waitress.


Other adjectives

Here are some other common examples of adjective + preposition.



accustomed to answerable to attached to aware of capable of certain about

compatible with

married to opposed to popular with prepared for ready for related to relevant to rich in

right about


covered in dependent on different from/to

famous for

fit for full of guilty of

important for involved in

late for

lacking in

My opinions are very different from yours.

safe from the same as similar to suitable for sure of typical of

used to (= accustomed to)

useful for

wrong about

Our company is famous all over the world for the quality of its engineering. She was full of enthusiasm when I explained our idea.

We're used to the delays on the metro. They happen all the time.


Adjective + choice of preposition

Some adjectives can be followed by different prepositions with a small difference in

meaning. Often one preposition is used for things and another for people.

'We are each responsible for a particular geographical area.'

angry about Im very angry about the delay.

angry with I'm very angry with them for causing this delay.

annoyed about annoyed with good/bad at (ability) good/bad for good/bad with

happy about/with happy for

responsible for sorry about sorry for (+ing) feel sorry for

He was annoyed about what the journalist wrote. He was annoyed with the journalist.

I've never been very good at dealing with conflict.

A new person at the top would be good for the

She's very good with difficult customers. Are you happy with my suggestion? Congratulations! I'm very happy for you both.

I'm responsible for all the transport and logistics.

The Finance Director is directly responsible to the CEO.

I'm sorry about all the trouble I've caused. I'm sorry for causing so much trouble.

I felt sorry for George when he didn't get the promotion.



APPENDIX 6 Noun + preposition


Noun + preposition

Here is a list of nouns and the prepositions normally used with them:

ability in

example of

price of

advantage of

experience of/in

reason for

advice on

hope of

reply to


alternative to

knowledge of

solution to

benefit of/from

lack of

substitute for

cause of

matter with

success at/in

cost of

method of

tax on

difficulty with

opinion of

trouble with


Noun + preposition (from Appendix 4)

Many of the verbs in Appendix 4 have related nouns with the same preposition. Here are some examples:


agreement with/about insurance against approval of investment in belief in invitation to comparison with knowledge about complaint about objection to decision about/on payment for division into protection from focus on reference to information about responsibility for insistence on wait for


Noun + preposition (from Appendix 5)

Many of the adjectives in Appendix 5 have related nouns with the same preposition.

Here are

some examples:


awareness of certainty about disappointment with doubt about excitement about fear of

interest in involvement in

opposition to optimism about pessimism about preparation for satisfaction with similarity to suitability for worry about



Rise, fall + of / in

Words referring to increases and decreases (like rise, fall, etc) can be followed by of or

in. Of refers to an amount. In refers to the thing that has increased or decreased.

There has been an increase/rise/reduction/fall in operating profit of 3\%.

Connection, relationship + with/between

One thing has a link with another.

There is a link between two things.

Words that can be followed by either preposition include: connection, link, relationship, contrast, difference.

There is a connection/relationship/contrast with what happened last year. There is a connection/relationship/contrast between last year and this year.


Need, wish, request + for

Nouns meaning 'need' or 'request' have for after them. Examples include: application for, demand for, need for, order for, preference for, request for.


Prepositional phrases

Here is a list of common prepositional phrases (preposition + noun phrase):

at short notice, at cost price, at a good price, at a profit/loss, at first sight

I've had to call this meeting at short notice because of the urgency of the situation. It's difficult to sell at a reasonable profit when labour costs are so high.


by accident, by car/bus/taxi, by chance, by credit card, by hand, by law, by mistake,

by post/courier, by return (of post)

We met in the street by chance. It was quite unexpected.

Please let us know your decision by return as further delay will result in higher costs.


for a change, for lunch, for pleasure, for sale

Would you like to join us for lunch?

We always eat pizza. Tonight let's go to a Thai restaurant for a change.


in advance, in bulk, in cash, in charge of, in connection with, in debt, in the end, in favour of, in general, in a hurry, in the market (companies), in my opinion, in stock, in financial terms, in the pipeline, in touch, in trouble, in other words, in writing

We need 25\% of the total price in advance, with the balance on receipt of the

goods. I'm sorry, we don't have that model in stock. We're expecting some more next week.


on the basis of, on business, on foot, on hand, on hold, on holiday, on the Internet, on the other line, on loan, on the market (products), on order, on the phone, on purpose, on sale, on strike, on television, on track, on a trip, on the whole

I think we can move forward on the basis of what we've discussed.

We don't have any in stock right now, but there are 20 items on order.


out of date, out of order, out of business

Version 6? Your software is a bit out of date isn't it? They're selling version 8 now. Sorry, the lift is out of order. You

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