Do I need to add comma, semicolon or a period here?

"There are nasty scars, livid devilish kisses on her snowy innocent arms**,**the marks of injection."

What is the linguistic term for "the marks of injection" here and is there any need for a comma before this phrase? This phrase is used to describe the kisses.

  • 1
    Where exactly is the placement of a comma, semicolon or a period do you mean in that sentence? Can you place a marker into the position in which you are not sure whether to put a punctuation there?
    – CipherBot
    Nov 3, 2015 at 5:02
  • (use a double space to mark a new line; counterintuitive but works (0: ) Nov 3, 2015 at 5:26
  • There are nasty scars, livid devilish kisses on her snowy innocent arms, and the marks of injection. Yes, you need a comma to make things more clear. Oxford comma is an optional comma before the word 'and' at the end of a list.
    – Usernew
    Nov 3, 2015 at 8:01
  • Sorry for the unclear question. Now I have edited it. Dear Usernew, "and" doesn't convey what I meant. The devilish kisses are actually the marks of injection (it's a kind of simile).
    – F. Walker
    Nov 3, 2015 at 8:32
  • In that case, I am afraid, we have to paraphrase it: There are nasty scars, marks of injection on her snowy innocent arms like some livid devilish kisses. Or There are nasty scars; marks of injection, like livid devilish kisses, on her snowy innocent arms. I am not sure if they are correct or not. Wait for more users to answer. Maybe they can come up with an idea and point mistakes in my version. Maybe parenthesis can help: There are nasty scars, marks of injection(like livid devilish kisses) on her snowy innocent arms.
    – Usernew
    Nov 3, 2015 at 13:31

1 Answer 1


In terms of how I'm interpreting the sentence, "livid devilish kisses" is serving as an appositive for "nasty scars". To me. "the marks of injection" seems more of an explanation of what these scars are, so, because it's an explanation, you would actually use a colon.

There are nasty scars, livid devilish kisses on her snowy innocent arms: the marks of injection.

Note, though, that this places importance on them being "the marks of injection", and I'm not sure if this is what you intended.

In terms of using "marks of injection" as a simple appositive, which would require a comma, it is separated from what it's modifying, the "nasty scars" and/or the "livid devilish kisses", by "her snowy innocent arms". Grammatically, this would lead the reader to believe it refers to her arms, so in order to use it like this the sentence should be reordered. It is obvious this is not what it refers to, but modifiers and appositives should be next to what they modify, so in this manner it is confusing. You could try using:

There are nasty scars, livid devilish kisses, the marks of injections on her snowy innocent arms.

A dash would work in both of these uses, though dashes bring more emphasis.

  • Thank you. It really helped. If we consider "the marks of injection" to be an explanation after a colon, is there a need for "the" before marks of injection?
    – F. Walker
    Nov 4, 2015 at 2:41
  • No, there isn't. I think the standard "the" vs. "a/an/(no article with plural nouns)" difference applies. Nov 4, 2015 at 4:19

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