English Punctuation and How Its Correct Use Can Improve Your Writing Skills

English Punctuation and how its correct use, can improve your writing skills

Internet slang, SMS, and pure ignorance or laziness has led to an increasing lack of the correct use of English punctuation marks. I do know there are variations in its use, and of course the wonderful difference between English and American English, as I am an Englishman I’ll use my common language.

Guidelines to go by

You can see how difficult it can be, so rather then to go into a complicated set of rules, let me try and give you some simple guidelines to go by. If you use a word processor, then the basic marks are pointed out for you, so my first tip is always use a word processor!

To help you remember, I will break up punctuation marks into blocks. The first three are: - Full stop, Question mark and Exclamation mark (!). These all come at the end of a sentence.

The full stop (.) is also used after many abbreviations and in the middle of a sentence if it is considered to be complete, as you can see highlighted above in bold.

See what I mean?

A question mark (?) is used to indicate a direct question when placed at the end of a sentence, see what I mean? The exclamation mark is used to express a sudden outcry or to add emphasis to a statement got that? “Good grief!” Charley Brown said.

Now we come to the lovely Quotation marks, My English teacher once said to me “Always use quotation marks to enclose a direct quotation made by person, or if you are quoting from a piece of literature”.

The Comma has a little more freedom.

There are other rules as well concerning quotation marks, for example, if you are quoting two different people, then separate them by starting a new line. The comma has a little more freedom than the others, its used to separate words or numbers you could write (a, b, and c) but it would also be correct to write (a, b and c) the first example is using serial commas, whereas the second example is not. I prefer the latter.

I have only just skimmed the surface of English punctuation and its correct use but if you concentrate on the ones I have pointed out, you will be well on the way to improving the way you work is read

Improve your writing skills.

There are many more punctuation marks these include, the exclamation mark, semicolon, colon, dash, hyphen, parentheses, brackets and apostrophes. Knowing where and when to use these can greatly improve your writing skills.

I bet there are at this very moment, scholars all over the country scanning my work to find all the mistakes I have made.

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Posted on Mar 8, 2010