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English Punctuation

English punctuation

Having good punctuation in English

Having good punctuation in English 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 punctuation in English concerning: apostrophes, colons, semicolons, commas, dashes, full stops, questions marks, exclamation marks and quotation marks, will lead to an overall much more fluent, comprehensive and respected English.

Why is punctuation so important?

We should strive to meet the social, and academic norms, and withstand from letting ourselves become accustomed to writing in English using incorrect and shabby punctuation.

Needless to say, not having good punctuation might lead to others thinking badly of our overall level of English. Above, we’ll elaborate and explain with examples of the basic pillars of punctuation.

Mistakes to avoid in English punctuation

  1. What are you speaking about?. = X
  2. I want to leave now!. = X 
  3. My friend, Jake, is, a, nice person. = X 
  4. Their friends dog. = X
  5. What we must do: we’ll look at the budget: with them: convince them. = X 
  6. She told me: stay away. = X
  7. Welcome everyone to the meeting!!!! = X
  8. Raquels friend knows my neighbour. = X.

In the above examples, which are all incorrect, common punctuation mistakes have been made. We will analyse why the above sentences are incorrect below.

Let’s analyse the punctuation mistakes above

  1. A question mark followed by a full stop (?.).
  2. An exclamation mark followed by a full stop. (!.).
  3. A complete misuse of commas (,). 
  4. A missing apostrophe (‘) to signal the possessive before the s. 
  5. Excessive use of colons (:).
  6. A lack of quotation marks (“…”) for direct speech.
  7. Excessive use of exclamation marks (!!!!).
  8. Omission of the apostrophe (‘) to form the possessive.

These are all common punctuation errors that occur regularly with natives and non-natives alike. 

Moreover, speaking English correctly with good pronunciation also entails ensuring you have good punctuation. See the links above for a complete overview of all things associated with punctuation in English. 

How to improve your punctuation

One very good tool for those of you on the internet who want to improve with respect to your pronunciation should look at getting a good extension/plugin such as Grammarly or LanguageTool.

Both these extensions are free and will correct your mistakes in any text you produce.