Why do we need to use correct punctuation? Because it is absolutely essential to writing and expressing ourselves properly and correctly. Everywhere from the workplace to writing emails, documents and even sending text messages, society will always endeavour to adhere to the social norms, that is, what we perceive to be correct. Correct usage and a basic understanding of the fundamentals of English punctuation concerning; apostrophes, colons, semi-colons, commas, dashes, full stops, questions marks, exclamation marks and quotation marks, will lead to an overall much more fluent, comprehensive and respected English. We should strive to meet the social, academic norms, and withstand from letting ourselves become accustomed to writing in English using incorrect and shabby punctuation. Down below, we’ll elaborate and explain with examples over the basic pillars of punctuation specifically targeting: Quotation marks.
Quotation marks (‘….’) (”…..”) – Direct speech
We use quotation marks or inverted commas to quote direct speech. There is no real difference between single quotation marks (‘…’) and double quotation marks (”…”) except for the fact that the latter is more popular in American English and the former (single quotation marks) are more commonly used in British English. Another reason for the two types is that when we want to insert a quotation inside a quotation, you would start with the double and insert the single inside. Examples to follow.
- He said, ‘let me be’.
- My father told me, ‘I won’t be arriving late’.
- ‘Give me a break’, the man told his customer gently.
- ”The last thing Jake told me was, ‘I don’t belong here’, he said”. *’I don’t belong here is a quote within a quote, therefore, we use two sets of quotes, one for outer sentence and one for the inner sentence.
Quotation marks (‘…’)(”…..”) – Emphasising special words
Quotation marks, either single or double, can be used to emphasise a special word(s) or expression within a sentence. Note, quoting a word can also be very derogatory or thinking less of someone or something, that is, discrediting them or it.
- China’s ‘economy’ is huge and growing at an exponential rate.
- Don’t ever call me a ‘bitch’. That word is very offensive.
- My client was somewhat ‘taken aback’ to see me arrive so early.
- The demagogue uttered his sheer ‘disbelief’ as he saw the object. Hardly believable.
- The so-called ‘politician’ is a disgrace and corrupted.
- My ‘teacher’ has zero knowledge in the subject.
Modal auxiliary verbs:
- Articles (a/an, the, zero article)
- Pronouns: subject, object and possessive
- Question tags
- English conditionals
- Interrogatives in English
- Phrasal verbs
- Prefixes and suffixes
- Reported and direct speech
- Numbers: cardinal, ordinal, and Roman numbers
- The verb: “get”
- ‘Get’ vs. ‘go’ and ‘got’ vs. ‘gotten’
- Copular verbs
- Cleft sentences
- Subjunctive in English
- Vulgar and taboo in English
- Split infinitive
- Emphasis with inversion
- Gerunds in English
- To + infinitive
- Bare infinitive
- British and American spelling