How To Use Punctuation
The most common mistake people tend to make while writing is
in the use of Punctuation. Wrong punctuation
can damage the flow of ideas and change meaning, but properly
used punctuation not only helps readers understand your
meaning but also makes them engrossed in your writing. The
following discussion is about some of the frequently misused punctuation
marks and what actually their correct application should
Use of Apostrophe - Use an apostrophe to show
possession, but never put apostrophe in case of possessive
pronouns. Always remember that when the word "it's" is
used, it is actually for the contraction for the two words:
"it has" or "it is". On the other hand,
"its" is a possessive pronoun, and the word being
already possessive should not contain an apostrophe in it.
It's the same thing happening over and over again.
(Contraction of It and is: It is the same thing happening over
and over again).
Wrong: That car is your's.
Right: That car is yours.
is sometimes the solution for an awkward possessive.
Awkward: A friend of mine's cap.
Better: A friend's cap (or the cap of a friend of mine).
To show possession in the case of singular nouns, add
for plural words that end in s, add only an apostrophe. Don't
forget to put 's with plural words not ending in s.
Singular: nurse's uniform
uniforms (plural word ending in s)
uniforms (plural word not ending in s)
Use of Comma - Use commas to separate three or
more items in a list. Though journalists most of the times omit
the final comma before the word "and", but retaining
the final comma avoids confusion.
Poor: In this website, you can read articles about how to do
business online, the woman who daily eats 45 eggs and Tom
Better: In this website, you can read articles about how to
do business online, the woman who daily eats 45 eggs, and Tom
Use a comma to separate two independent clauses joined by
Wrong: I am not good in writing but I love writing.
Wrong: I am not good in writing, but, I love writing.
Right: I am not good in writing, but I love writing.
Note: If the clauses are long and already contain commas,
separate them with a semicolon rather than a comma.
Wrong: If a man begins with certainties, he shall end in
doubts, but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall
end in certainties. - Francis Bacon
Right: If a man begins with certainties, he shall end in
doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall
end in certainties. - Francis Bacon
Run-on sentences - Where Run-on sentences are
concerned (in case you don't know what it is, a run-on occurs
when two independent clauses are not separated by punctuation
or conjunction), add a period, or a semi colon, or a comma in
places of separation.
Wrong: A good student can score full marks in Mathematics
it's his analytical ability that will help him achieve that.
Right: A good student can score full marks in Mathematics.
It's his analytical ability that will help him achieve that.
Use of Quotation Marks - Use quotation marks to
indicate direct quotation.
"That guy knows me," Mr. Wong said, "very
Note: Never use it for indirect quotation (a restatement of
According to Mr. Wong, that guy knows him very well.
Use single quotation marks to indicate a quote within a
Wrong: Richard wrote, "When Berkeley said, "esse
est percipii", he meant that the existence of a thing
consists in its being perceived."
Right: Richard wrote, "When Berkeley said, 'esse est
percipii,' he meant that the existence of a thing consists in
its being perceived."
Note: Always put the comma and final period inside the
quotation marks, and put other punctuation marks outside
unless they are part of the thing being quoted.
There are many other frequently used punctuation
errors, but the above-discussed ones are those I have
mostly encountered in several writings. Before putting punctuation
marks in your sentences, always ask yourself what meaning
you want to convey to the readers. Accordingly, put the marks.
In case the sentence becomes difficult to punctuate, consider rewriting
it, because when a sentence is well written, it almost
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