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Poem Punctuation | Punctuation in Poetry

Explanation of Main Poetry Punctuation Types

.

The Period is the longest pause—a full stop. It marks the end of a sentence, and shows the sense complete; as, The sky is blue`. Pause the time of counting six, and let the voice fall.

?

The Interrogation is used at the end of a question; as, Is the sky blue´? If the question can be answered by yes or no, the voice rises; if not, it falls; as, Where is your map`;? Pause the time of counting six.

!

The Exclamation denotes wonder, surprise, pain, or joy; as, O´! what a sweet rose`! Pause the time of counting one, after a single word, and let the voice rise; but after a complete sentence, pause the time of counting six, and let the voice fall.

:

The Colon is a pause shorter than the Period; as, The sky is clear`: the sun shines. Pause the time of counting four, and let the voice fall.

;

The Semicolon is a pause shorter than the Colon; as, The rose is fair`; but it soon fades. Pause the time of counting two, and let the voice fall. Sometimes the voice should rise, as the sense may require.

,

The Comma is the shortest pause; as, Jane goes to school´, and learns to read. Pause the time of counting one, and keep the voice up.

The Dash denotes a sudden pause or change of subject; as, I saw him—but what a sight! When the dash is used after any other pause, the time of that pause is doubled.


Explanation of Other Poetry Punctuation Types

'

The Apostrophe has the form of the comma. It denotes the possessive case; as, John's book; also, that one or more letters have been left out of a word; as, lov'd for loved.

" "

The Quotation includes a passage that is taken from some other author or speaker; as, John said: "See my kite."

( )

The Parenthesis includes words not properly a part of the main sentence; as, I like these people (who would not?) very much. The words within the parenthesis should be read in a lower tone of voice.

[ ]

The Brackets inclose words that serve to explain the preceding word or sentence; as, James [the truthful boy] went home.

^

The Caret shows where words are to be put in that have been omitted by mistake; as, Live ^in peace.

¨

The Diæresis is placed over the latter of two vowels, to show that they belong to two distinct syllables; as, aërial.

-

The Hyphen is used to connect compound words; as, Well-doing; or the parts of a word separated at the end of a line.

The Index points to something special or remarkable; as, ⇒ Important News!

*** .... or ——

The Ellipsis shows that certain words or letters have been purposely omitted; as, K**g, k..g, or k--g, for king.

The Paragraph denotes the beginning of a new subject. It is chiefly used in the Bible; as, ¶ The same day came to him, etc.

§

The Section is used to divide a book or chapter into parts; as, §45.

* † ‡

The Asterisk, the Obelisk, the Double Dagger, and sometimes other marks, [Footnote: For instance: the Section mark, §, and the Parallel, ||.] refer to notes in the margin.

Application of Poetry Punctuation Types

LINE
1 My Young Friends´, never tell a falsehood`; but always
2 speak the truth`; this is pleasing to your Maker.
3 Do you read His holy word—the Bible´? O! remem-
4 ber, that He has there said: "He that speaketh lies, shall
5 not escape: he shall perish."* Remember, too, that the
6 All-seeing God knows all that we say or do.
7 ¶ Tho' wisdom's voice is seldom heard in k--g's
8 palaces,—there have been wise kings, (e.g. Solomon,) who
9 were lov'd and obey'd by their subjects.†
10 Here, [i.e. in the U.S.,] we can not boast of our kings,
11 princes, lords, &c.; yet we have had a PRESIDENT, who,
12 in true greatness, surpass'ed them all; viz., the great
13 WASHINGTON.—— ⇒ Washington feared and hon-
14 ored God.
15 § Section, ‡ Double Dagger, and || Parallel, are also used
16 for reference to the margin.