Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Creating Emphasis III
Punctuation can affect emphasis, especially punctuation of descriptions or parenthetical expressions. Consider the following examples.
Bill married Laura–his mother's protégée.
Bill married Laura, his mother's protégée.
Bill married Laura (his mother's protégée).
"His mother's protégée" in the first sentence is strongly emphasized, it receives normal emphasis in the second sentence, and it is de-emphasized in the last sentence. Say each of these sentences out loud, giving them the emphasis indicated by the punctuation. Most writers will generally use a comma to set off descriptions. However, carefully considering whether a description should be emphasized or de-emphasized can improve the effectiveness of your writing.