If there are particular problems in English or matters you would like this column to take up, contact Stewart Clark, International Office, NTH, tel. 73 59 52 45.

Punctuation 3:

COMMA

When to use commas in English? When you speak, you help your listeners by signalling the meaning with changes in intonation and pauses. When you are writing, you should give your readers similar help by using commas for such signals. If in doubt about comma use, read your text aloud, it may help. Otherwise, here are some other comments about commas:


Tricky Words

Dissertation/Thesis
In British universities it is usual to write a dissertation for a first or master's degree. A thesis is normally written in partial fulfilment of a doctoral degree. In American universities, the situation is reversed. So when writing a "dr.ing. avhandling", the choice of British English (BE) or American English (AE) goes further than the spelling. In BE, the "avhandling" is correctly termed a doctoral thesis. In AE, this will be a doctoral dissertation. Note that the plural of thesis is written theses and pronounced "thee-seas".

About/Approximately/Circa In English, about or approximately are used where cirka is frequent in Norwegian. Approximately is usually placed before a numeral and approx. after a numeral:
Approximately NOK 3 500 per tonne, or NOK 3 500 per tonne approx.

Circa is rare in English and is normally restricted to date objects:
The house is circa 1760. The normal abbreviation is ca. (ca. 1867)

Enlightening English "Please follow cautiously your safety instructions as an entertainment more in your flight.
Do not hesitate to ask any questions you have about its interpretation.
On an emergency during this flight, you will be precisely instructed about what you should do.
Do not forget the crew members are accurately trained experts.
Please, follow the instructions you receive and above all keep quiet!"
(In-flight safety leaflet, Iberia)


Updated 03.05.95, Christian Viken, chrisvik@stud.unit.no