Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Excuse my terrible English knowledge, but I have been wondering this for some time already: What is correct for the next phrase?:

And he was there. alone. sad. and crying...

or

And he was there. Alone. Sad. And crying...

or

And he was there, alone, sad and crying...

On the first and second cases, I use periods for separating the state of the subject. For some reason, I like it to give better suspense. Given the way I am using the periods, should I use Capital letters after them, or not? These periods are pretty much like commas...

... But maybe I am terribly wrong and should never use periods for such purpose? Should I always follow the third case? Just using commas?

share|improve this question
add comment

2 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I would write the first word after the period in capital case, as you did in the second sentence you wrote. The general rule of writing a word in capital case after a period is still valid even if you write a single word and then a period.

In those cases, the periods are used to give an emphasis to the single words. The pause when "reading" a period is longer than the pause used for a comma; for this reason I would not say the periods are like commas, in the examples you wrote.

share|improve this answer
3  
Using periods instead of commas is something that should be done in specific cases, to give more emphasis; if you keep doing it in all the sentences, the emphasis is lost, and the sentences you write would be seen as not correct. –  kiamlaluno Feb 6 '11 at 5:37
    
Hmm.... do I have to use capital case after suspensive dots as well? (haha, forgot how they're called in English, sorry) –  Omega Feb 6 '11 at 5:57
1  
@Omega Do you mean ellipsis ... like you used in your comment? And I'd say, no BTW. –  Mark Hurd Feb 6 '11 at 9:50
add comment

I try to avoid starting a sentence with the word "and".

… he was there. Alone. Sad. And crying.

If using stops instead of commas for greater emphasis I would remove the second "and" as it suggests the final element of a list separated by commas: "a, b, c and d".

… he was there. Alone. Sad. Crying.

To me that has greater emphasis and avoids starting a sentence with a conjunction.

You can also use an em-dash for pauses in a sentence — though this is rarer.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.