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Punctuation and the importance of using it correctly

Punctuation, if not used correctly, can make a sentence or paragraph and eventually the whole article look nonsensical. This, in turn, will make your reader confused and therefore, they may not come to you, but will choose one of your competitors when they need help with their business.

Some people don't think that using punctuation is important, but if it is not used, the reader will metaphorically run out of breath while reading and the meaning of what has been written will be unclear.

If you are writing anything, the following rules should apply:

1 A capital letter should start every new sentence.

2 The sentence you have written should end with either a full stop, exclamation mark or a question mark. Using one of these, lets your reader know that the sentence has come to an end.

3 Use commas when you want to show a pause in your sentence, or to separate items in a list.

4 An exclamation mark is used when the writer wants to portray that strong feeling is meant in the sentence, i.e, This puzzle is driving me up the wall!

5 The question mark is used when the writer is asking a question such as, "What are you doing today?"

6 The hyphen can be used for a double barrelled names like Smith-Reynolds and in between compound words such as back-to-back.

7 The dash is used to connect numbers like dates i.e., 1939 - 1945 and can also be used in place of commas when writing. An example of this is - She was so clever - at least she thought she was clever - that even encyclopedias couldn't teach her anything.

8 The semicolon can be used instead of a full stop. It is also used to separate items in a list if that list already contains commas. For example, Joe, the architect; Simon, the doctor; Jean, the dentist.

9 The colon has two main uses. It is used after a word which introduces a quotation, an explanation or an example. It also can be used before giving an instruction. In other words, "This is what I want: eggs, flour and milk. The colon can also be used when giving the time, for example, 2:00pm.

10 Parentheses can be used instead of commas when the writer wants to add information to what they are saying. I.e., "I drove down a street (which, by the way was very long) to get to my destination."

11 Brackets are used for explaining additional information gleaned from an outside source. For example, a news article.

12 Quotation marks are used when the writer wants to make his or her character speak. In other words, "Tomorrow it is going to rain", he said.

13 Single quotation marks are normally used in quotes that are within other posts. For example, "I said I want it 'now', not later" said the boss.

14 The apostrophe is used when letters are omitted from words. An example of this is, "You didn't say that. As you can see, the words did not have been shortened, and the o of not has been replaced with an apostrophe.

15 The ellipses is used to shorten long sentences. For example, they are used when words are not necessary in sentence. They are also used as a pause in a sentence. For instance, "If you know you can do better ... then do better".

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