How to Use Proper Punctuation

How to Use Proper Punctuation

Why bother with punctuation?

Punctuation is is as important as knowing what to write. Knowing where to place commas, to give the thought a slight break, when to stop the sentence by adding a period, a question mark, or when the excitement is great, an exclamation mark, or a question mark when an answer is expected.


Step 1

How to use commas

Commas give sentences brief breaks, and make the message easily understood. They also are used to join independent clauses, separate lists, and after slight interruptions in the written thought, when quotations are used, in dates and addresses, in numbers with more than four digits, and after greetings. The comma, in fact, is the most used punctuation mark.

Step 2

How and when to use periods

Periods stop sentences that are statements or commands, and are used after abbreviations. When a sentence is a quotation, the period is placed inside the quotation marks.

Step 3

How to use semi-colons

Semi- colons are used when two or more independent clauses are used in a sentence as a list. In an ordinary sentence, a comma would most likely be the better choice. The choice is to show the relatedness of the listing.

Step 4

How to use a dash

A dash is a place holder when writing — it holds the thought while a sideline abrupt sideline is added — and it is useful in keeping reader accurately following the thought process. The writer has detoured slightly and explained or added a thought and then resumes completing the sentence.

It differs from a comma, in that it is not a continuation of the first thought, but is a sideline thought that needs to be attached to the sentence at this precise place. To wait until the sentence is complete and then write down the thought is awkward. A dash immediately allows for the the writer to add an extra dimension to the sentence.

Step 5

How to use parenthesis

Parenthesis are enclosures that set apart an idea that is relevant and give sideline information without actually being a part of current thought process. (An example would be an address where more information could be found; the time of some happening; an explanation that is pertinent to the sentence but not a part of it.)

Step 6

How to use question marks

When a question is asked, a question mark is added.

Step 7

How to use quotation marks

Quotation marks are used to set off the words and thoughts of others.

Step 8

How to use exlamation marks

Exclamation marks show surprise, or excitement. They are seldom needed if the words are sufficient to portray this.

Step 9

How to use colons

Colons signal a list, or to introduce something special: A capital must always follow a colon.

Step 10

How to use apostrophe’s

Apostrophe’s are used to show possessives. Correct placement of the mark is often a problem, therefore learning to use it right, is well worth the effort.

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Things Needed
• A grammar guide
• A computer
• Paper
• Pencil

Tips & Warnings
• Don’t gloss over the importance of good punctuation
• Be especially careful of adding the right amount of commas, but not hacking up the sentence needlessly
• Getting the punctuation right takes effort and dedication


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