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周街學英文:逗號的正確用法

【明報專訊】標點符號的運用對撰寫商業報告至為重要。英文中常以逗號(comma)連接句子的不同部分,但卻不能用作連接兩句獨立完整的句子,我們稱這個問題為comma splice problem。

要糾正此種錯誤,可以用句號(period)、分號(semi-colon)或連接詞(conjunction)等來代替逗號(comma),以連接兩句句子。以下舉例說明何謂comma splice problem:

(╳) These subsidies were offered in a series of stages to employees, the employees need to fill in an application form by the deadline in June.

(ˇ) These subsidies were offered in a series of stages to employees who need to fill in an application form by the deadline in June. (用who)

(╳) Smoking increases the risk of lung cancer, it is the leading cause of lung cancer in the US.

(ˇ) Smoking increases the risk of lung cancer; it is the leading cause of lung cancer in the US. (用分號)

(╳) The company is well aware of the shortage, a number of measures have been taken since 2013 to tackle the problem.

(ˇ) The company is well aware of the shortage, and a number of measures have been taken since 2013 to tackle the problem. (用and)

文︰陳美寳博士

作者簡介﹕香港理工大學英文系研究助理教授,為政府、大專院校、專業機構等擔任英語顧問。

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