A GUIDE ON PUNCTUATION - First off, I would just like to highlight that I often make mistakes with the English language, despite being English myself, however this is just a simple guide that can pick out on common mistakes and help you avoid them.
A few points that you should remember with any writing you’re actually doing:
- Refrain from rambling
- Speak with emphasis and avoid sounding like a robot
- Keep it clean and simple
- Set an underlying tone for whatever you’re writing
- Read your writing over and over, it will help you understand where punctuation should be placed
- If the word doesn’t look right, be open to checking in a dictionary or even via a web browser
- Take constructive criticism on board
I’m going to keep this guide centred around punctuation and then do another for incorrect phrases and words that are often used. A reason why I’m doing this is that I also make mistakes in this area and I feel it’s one of the most important, considering it has the ability to set a tone throughout.
A few sites that may expand these points are available below.
A general cover of all punctuation - (x)
The most common punctuation mistakes - (x)
The comma - (x) (x)
- A comma can be used to seperate two adjectives to replace the word ‘and’
e.g. I have a big, brown dog.
e.g. I have a brother, sister, mother and father.
- A comma makes sentences that involve a group of 3+ words far more easier to understand
e.g. You have a nice face, David Tennant.
- Use a comma whenever someone is being addressed
- Use a comma whenever specific sentences should have an expression when spoken aloud
e.g. I am, if not mistaken, completely aware of the problem.
- Whenever someone has been identified and a description shortly follows, a comma should be used
e.g. Kanye West, who touched the sky, never lets anyone finish.
- Use the comma to separate two sentences
e.g. I try to sing, but I’m bad at it.
- If you’re including a short quotation, use a comma before or after
e.g. “Well,” I replied, “these guide examples are awful.”
e.g. It’s not that far, is it?
- Separate a statement from a question with a comma
The semicolon - (x)
- These can be used to connect ideas that are of the same similarity
e.g. Some people drink lemonade; others prefer Pepsi.
e.g. Despite this, both are popular products; as a result, they sell exceptionally well.
- People tend to use commas in replace of the semicolon, try avoid this by taking a look at the follow example
e.g. The fox is red; it is also agile.
e.g. I like the BBC: they give us drama, which is good; they give us suspense, which is also good; and they rip out or hearts, which isn’t good.
- However, we must be aware to not use the semicolon incorrectly in replace of a comma
e.g. The fox is red, but not old.
The full stop - (x)
- A full stop enables the read to actually breathe and whenever these are misused, can often damage the section of writing significantly. They should be used at the end of a complete sentence, and the writer should be completely aware that a period shouldn’t follow another form of punctuation.
- They are usually replaced after abbreviations
- They are used inside quotation marks and outside of brackets. This rule changes however, whenever the quotation follows on from a statement
- They are generally not necessary after things such as titles and sub-headings
- Using them after titles, such as Dr, is not necessary
e.g. There are ways around this (in my opinion).
e.g. This is the first sentence. This is the second.
The colon - (x)
- The colon should be used to introduce an idea
e.g. There is one thing you should be aware of: I’m awful with examples
- Introduction of a list is a correct way of using the colon
e.g. The food contained my favourite spices: Ginger, Sporty and Posh
- Whenever you are quoting someone, consider the colon
e.g. The blonde girl had a favourite quote: ‘I shall call him ’Squishy,’ and he shall be mine, and he shall be my Squishy.’
- Adding emphasis with a colon isn’t necessary, but can be done
e.g. There is one thing I must not forget: food
The apostrophe - (x)
e.g. They’re wrong
e.g. I have a girl’s coat
- Only ever use an apostrophe for it’s when it is a contraction for it is
e.g. It’s snowing outside
- For words that end in s and are possession consider the following example
e.g. I’m at Jess’ house
(Paragraph help - (x))
I hope these help and although I haven’t added every possible punctuation choice, the links will expand any necessary ideas and address any further common mistakes.