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Top Punctuation Rules You Should Follow to Write Professionally

Punctuation is one of the foundation stones of correct, understandable, and professionally written language. Imagine building a house by merely laying bricks on brick without fixing them together using a special solution. As a result, you will hardly get anything more than a pile of bricks. The same goes for writing; when you operate with the parts of speech, hoping to construct a sentence, you “glue” them together with punctuation marks.

Punctuation progressively “grew” in various forms throughout cultures to help authors understand where to pause and how long they were reading their writings aloud. At that time, the primary issue was that every poet and writer did it differently. Back then, everyone wrote by hand. But once the artificial script was introduced, the need for organized punctuation rules became obvious.

Nonetheless, there are still situations when writers and grammarians argue about punctuation. Thus, such a concept as the author’s punctuation emerged with the book publishing industry’s advent. And no matter how “standardized” the conventional rules of punctuation are, things always change, even with English. Our writing experts at Ordercoursework have compiled a list of punctuation rules representing a fixed set of instructions, combined with those you may change by choice.

Commas

Perhaps, the most controversial punctuation mark is the comma, which causes much confusion among novice writers and English language learners.

For starters, it’s a terribly overloaded symbol, struggling to work as a conjunction separator, quote clarifier, and phrase qualifier. Besides that, the comma works part-time as a list item separator. This punctuation mark is eager to serve everyone, yet, unfortunately, people frequently disagree with its exact purpose in the sentence.

Let’s get things straight with what the primary goals of the comma usage are:

  1. If an introductory phrase is in a sentence, it separates by the comma.
  2. Whenever a short pause is implied, it has to be indicated by the comma.
  3. Any time one action is described at the beginning of a phrase, followed by other events joined to the sentence by conjunctions “and,” “but, “or,” the comma is needed.
  4. Commas are also used to separate lists containing more than two items, such as a bundle of blogs, a procession of posts, a group of phrases, and a batch of paragraphs.

Moreover, the adherents of the Oxford comma would place it before the words “and a batch of paragraphs.” Hence, is it obligatory to use a series comma or not? Both options are fine. The only critical note to be consistent in using a serial comma.

The general advice to apply the comma wherever a speaker should make a brief pause in speaking doesn’t work at all. We all talk at a different pace, don’t we?

Last but not least, vital detail concerning the comma: don’t overuse it and provide precise meaning in the sentence.

Colons and Semicolons

The colon is mainly for warning that some specific details will be here for the reader. In most cases, it is a list – a numbered or bulleted:

There are only three kinds of people in the world:

  1. those who understand jokes
  2. and those who don’t

In other cases, a list is embedded into a sentence:

“Before applying makeup, it is essential to follow this short to-do list: cleanse, tone, and moisturize the skin.”

Simultaneously, semicolon signal that there should be a pause – a bit longer than a comma one – yet, not as long as the period. Thus, it represents an artful way of linking two sentences, which otherwise may serve as separate phrases. However, the professional writers of this law assignment writing service strongly recommend that you don’t overuse semicolons. That is, of course, if you don’t want to sound pretentious in your text.

“He was amazed; she decided to come back to him after all those years.”

Apostrophes

Such punctuation marks are utilized when the omission of letters happens, like in “don’t” (do not), “it’s” (it is), “o’clock” (of the clock).

Nevertheless, the primary purpose of the apostrophe is to indicate possession. The punctuation rule here is simple – to write’s when the owner of the thing is singular and s’ when there are multiple owners (plural):

  • The girl’s books (the books that belong to only one girl).
  • The girls’ books (the books belonging to more than one girl).

At the same time, what should you do when the singular form of a noun ends with the letter “s”? Frustratingly, it is yet another matter of dispute between grammarians. To be honest, both of the variants below are valid, but the first option is preferable:

  • Denis’s first car
  • Denis’ first car

If you need to indicate ownership by more than one singular person (or thing), simply add’s to the last of them:

“Hey, come take a look at Mary and Jane’s new yoga studio!”

Quotation Marks

One of the most crucial aspects of punctuation concerns quotation marks. Such marks are generally to provide somebody’s words the exact way they were:

“I cannot believe you did this,” replied Markus.

Nevertheless, quotation marks also help to indicate terminology, as well as unfamiliar or non-standard words:

“The medical nurse explained in what way “in vitro” pregnancy is different from the “in vivo” one.”

Besides that, these punctuation marks come in handy when the title of written works or TV programs needs to be specified:

“Stay quiet! Grandma wants to watch tonight’s “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”

Importantly, when writing dialogues for your book, ensure to write every new paragraph with quotation marks – that is, only when the speaker changes. Thus, it will be easier for your readers to follow your characters’ interactions.

“Come on, help me out!” yelled Henry.

“No!”

“What? Why?”

“Don’t drag me into this!”

Indeed, the list of intricate punctuation marks doesn’t end here. Even though there is a whole host of other cases regarding the punctuation rules and other nuances mentioned above, don’t worry. The information presented by Do my essay for me service diplomaed authors and editors will undoubtedly come into play when you are working on your pieces. Good luck and be punctual!

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