Learn to Use Punctuation Properly

As the popularity of online communication grows, punctuation becomes an important issue. Of course, you may omit some of the rules in certain situations, but business writing and academic writing require you to strictly follow all the rules of punctuation. In addition, it’s not as difficult as it seems, and WritersHouse is here to help you. Here are eight simple steps that will help you express your thoughts properly.

1. Commas

Commas are used to separate different ideas, indicating pauses in writing. Therefore, if you use commas in the wrong way, your readers will be confused, making wrong conclusions about the content. There are many examples in the literature where one comma changes the meaning of a sentence completely. For example, different translations of the Bible caused many discussions just because of the differences in punctuation.

Use commas to separate different ideas but make sure that they don’t change the meaning of the sentence.

2. Periods

First, periods are different from commas. Some people prefer to put a period when they are not sure whether or not they should use a comma. Such periods turn sentences into fragments and make your writing sound awkward. Avoid fragments and make sure that all your sentences have a subject and the main verb.

3. Dashes

Some people use dashes too often, while others avoid them. Dashes can be very useful in writing if you know how to use them properly. Dashes allow you to make your writing more emotional. Simply put, they are more meaningful than commas and also less formal than colons. A dash can be used to make a strong point, indicating a pause. You can use dashes when you want to emphasize some point or to add an important remark.

4. Apostrophes

Most often, people misuse apostrophes when they need to indicate possession. An apostrophe used in the wrong way can lead to misunderstandings and make your readers feel confused. Here’s an example:

“Am I eating my meal or the cat’s?”

“Am I eating my meal or the cats?”

As you can see, the apostrophe changes the meaning of the sentence completely. The sentence looks weird when the possession is not indicated.

5. Colons

You may use colons to list various items or to explain the clause, providing an example:

“I write papers of any kind: essays, reviews, researches”

Colons are also used to add some vivid details:

“I couldn’t focus on my research: suddenly, all my friends decided to come over”

6. Semicolons

You should use semicolons to connect two independent clauses in the same sentence. An independent clause is a grammatically complete independent idea. Here’s an example:

“Albert Einstein’s theories are timeless; he predicted many discoveries in physics and astronomy”

7. Parentheses

When you want to add some minor information, we recommend that you use parentheses. Parentheses should be used for the information that won’t change the meaning of the sentence if you remove it completely. Simply put, you should use colons for the additional information that is not crucial for the meaning of the sentence.

8. Exclamation points

Exclamation points are used to make your writing more emotional, indicating excitement. However, make sure not to overuse exclamation points. Use them when writing about something very important, very exciting, or very emotional. Don’t use more than one exclamation point in a row.

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