Tips for using punctuation accurately
1) Before a list
I could only find three of the ingredients: sugar, flour and coconut.
2) Before a summary
To summarise: we found the camp, set up our tent and then the bears attacked.
3) Before a quote
As Jane Austen wrote: it is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
4) To complete a statement of fact where the colon is used in place of the following or thus
There are only three kinds of people: the good, the bad and the ugly.
1) To link two separate sentences that are closely related
The children came home today; they had been away for a week.
2) In a list that already contains commas
Star Trek, created by Gene Roddenberry; Babylon 5, by JMS; Buffy, by Joss Whedon; and Farscape, from the Henson Company.
Round brackets (parentheses)
1) To clarify or inform
Jamie's bike was red (bright red) with a yellow stripe.
2) For asides and comments
The bear was pink (I kid you not).
Square brackets [ ]
1) To amend or supplement the given details
His first book [The Colour Of Magic] was written in 1989.
2) To replace phrases for clarity or brevity
[The treaty] decreed that no bear should be painted pink.
1) Between a list of three or more words to replace the word and for all but the last instance.
Up, down, left and right.
2) Before a conjunction (when but or for are used)
I did my best to protect the camp, but the bears were too aggressive.
3) To indicate contrast
The snake was brown, not green, and it was quite small.
4) Where the phrase could be in brackets
The recipe, which we hadn't tried before, is very easy to follow.
5) Where the phrase adds relevant information
Mr Hardy, 68, ran his first marathon five years ago.
6) Where the addition is not necessary to the meaning of the sentence
Mr Hardy, who enjoys bird watching, ran his first marathon five years ago.
7) Where the main clause of the sentence is dependent on the preceding clause
Though the snake was small, I still feared for my life.
8) Introductory or opening phrases
On the whole, snakes only attack when riled.
9) Following for example, that is, etc
You should use commas, for example, around 'for example'.
10) Where a pause is required to make the reading more natural
Whatever happens, don't panic.
11) To avoid confusion
To Margaret, Jenny left her favourite book.
12) When addressing someone by name
So, Murray, I'm sending you to Outer Mongolia.
13) When quoting direct speech
And then the boss said, "I'm sending you to Outer Mongolia."
14) To indicate the omission of a word or phrase
Use too much sugar and the mixture will be sweet, [use] too little and it will be sour.
1) For emphasis
The book was great — a really good read.
2) For explanation or addition in place of brackets or commas
“The Colour Of Magic” — the first of the series — was written in 1989.
To indicate missing words in a quotation, or at the end of a sentence
"The sight was awesome...truly amazing."
Quotation marks “ “
1) For direct speech
Janet asked, "Why can't we go today?"
2) For quotes inside quotes, use single quotation marks.
Billy said, "So then John told her 'I don't want to go today' and Janet cried."
3) Stating a definition
“Buch” is German for book.
4) Following phrases such as entitled, signed and the term
The book was signed “Terry Pratchet”.
5) Special meanings, noting inaccuracies etc.
The “free gift” actually cost us forty pounds.
6) For the titles of texts
“Macbeth” is a tragedy.
1) To indicate possession:
a) With nouns (plural and singular) not ending in an s add 's
the children's books, the people's parliament, a mother's pride
b) With plural nouns ending in an s, add only the apostrophe
the guards' duties, the nuns' habits
c) With singular nouns ending in an s, you can add either 's or an apostrophe alone
James’s pie or James’ pie (be consistent)
d) For common possession, only add 's to the last name
Janet and Jane's house
e) Where possession is not common, add ‘ or ‘s to each
Janet's and Jane's homes
f) Pronouns - with the exception of one's, pronouns (its, his, hers) do not require an apostrophe to indicate possession
2) To indicate a contraction (where letters or numbers have been omitted)
the summer of '69, the house wasn't at its best, that isn't the right way, it's not bad
To indicate a choice
Everything you ever wanted to know about paragraphs (but were afraid to ask…)
This is the one sentence that a paragraph has to have. It contains the main idea of the paragraph, and all the other sentences in that paragraph are related to it in some way. It is easy to spot, as it is usually the first sentence in the paragraph. For example:
I have always loved cheese. This passion started when I was only five, and has grown stronger over time. What type of cheese? You name it – cheddar, stilton, brie – bring it on!
Effective writers create links between paragraphs. This guides the reader through the ideas in the text, and shows how different ideas are related to each other. Here are some of the ways:
Repeat a key idea/word that you have used in the paragraph before, for example:
That was when I knew it was a success (para 1)
It was not just my idea that succeeded though – it was how I had presented it to the judges (para 2)
Use a synonym (word with a similar meaning), for a key word for example:
All my efforts had paid off (para 1)
As I sat back to enjoy the results of my endeavours… (para 2)
Use an antonym (opposite meaning) of a key word, for example:
That’s the way a pessimist would think (para 1)
The trouble with optimists is they never give up (para 2)
Use a pronoun to refer back to a noun from the previous paragraph, for example:
My aunt always had the last word (para 1)
She opened her mouth wide to deliver her unasked for advice (para 2)
Use a connective to link paragraphs – secondly, furthermore, however etc.
As already stated
In other words
PUTTING IDEAS IN ORDER
ADDING TO IDEAS
In a similar way
In like manner
COMPARE AND CONTRAST
All the same
For all that
On the other hand
On the contrary
At the same time
CAUSE AND EFFECT
In order that
For that reason
As a result
All in all
All this evidence points to
To sum up
As a result
All this suggest
All this leads
Connectives © Dr.Florence Pieronek