5 Tips to Always Use Correct Punctuation When Writing in English
Are you an English language learner who is struggling to master the rules of punctuation?
Don’t worry! Writing with correct punctuation in English is not as difficult as it seems.
In this blog post, we’ll provide you with five simple tips to ensure that you always use the correct punctuation when writing in English.
Read on to learn more and improve your writing today!
The full stop, also known as a period, is the most common punctuation mark. It’s used to end sentences and show that you have finished your thought.
“I like reading books.”
A comma indicates a pause in a sentence, usually separating two independent clauses. It can also be used for lists or to separate items in a sentence.
“I like reading books, playing video games, and listening to music.”
A semicolon is used to link two independent clauses that are related to each other. It can also be used to separate items in a list when they contain commas themselves.
“I like reading books; playing video games; and listening to music, especially rock music.”
Finally, the colon is used to introduce a list or emphasize something after the first part of a sentence.
“I like three things: reading books, playing video games, and listening to music.”
Apostrophes are commonly used in English to indicate possession or missing letters. To use apostrophes correctly, it’s important to remember that when something is possessive, the apostrophe goes before the ‘s’.
For example, if you wanted to indicate that something belonged to someone, you would say:
However, if the noun is plural and already ends with an ‘s’ then only an apostrophe should be added.
The cats’ food
The children’s toys
You should also remember to use apostrophes when writing contractions.
Contractions are two words combined into one, and they usually consist of a verb and a pronoun.
- I’m (I am)
- We’ll (we will)
- She’d (she had/she would)
Finally, remember that apostrophes should not be used when making a word plural.
Words should simply be made plural by adding an ‘s’ at the end.
3) Place quotation marks correctly
Using quotation marks correctly is an important skill to master when writing in English. Quotation marks are used to indicate direct quotations (speech or text) and should be placed directly before and after the quoted material.
The opening quotation mark always comes first, followed by the quoted material, then a closing quotation mark.
“I don’t want to go,” she said.
Notice how the punctuation mark is placed inside the quotation mark instead of outside.
If the direct quotation includes an exclamation or a question mark, the punctuation mark should be placed inside the quotation mark.
“What are you doing?” she asked.
When quoting multiple paragraphs, use double quotation marks for the beginning and end of each paragraph. However, single quotation marks should be used within a quoted passage to indicate a quote within a quote.
“He said, ‘I don’t know what to do’”
Finally, when citing another author or book title, capitalize all words except articles, coordinating conjunctions, and prepositions.
In his book The Cat in the Hat, Dr. Seuss wrote “Fun that is funny!”
By following these simple tips, you can ensure that you are always placing your quotation marks correctly when writing in English.
4) Learn when to use capital letters
- Here are some important guidelines to keep in mind when deciding when to use capitals:
- Always begin a sentence with a capital letter. This includes questions, exclamations, and imperative sentences.
- Always capitalize the first person pronouns “I” and “me”.
- All proper nouns, such as people’s names and geographical locations, should always be capitalized.
- Titles of books, movies, works of art, etc. should also be capitalized.
- All words in a heading or title should be capitalized.
- When writing acronyms or initialisms, such as FBI or NATO, use all caps.
- Use capitals when referring to days of the week and months of the year.
By following these simple guidelines, you can ensure that your writing always has accurate and appropriate capitalization.
Remember, clarity and accuracy are key when writing in English!
5) Get familiar with common English abbreviations
Using abbreviations correctly can be an important part of mastering English.
- Here are some of the most common abbreviations you should know and how to use them:
- Mr., Mrs., and Ms.: These are abbreviations for titles used before names. Mr. is used for men, Mrs. is used for married women, and Ms. is used for unmarried women.
- Dr.: This abbreviation is used before a person’s name if they have a doctorate degree. It can also be used for medical doctors.
- Abbreviations for time: Abbreviations such as AM, PM, GMT, and UTC are used when writing the time.
- Abbreviations for measurements: Abbreviations such as mm, cm, km, and m are often used to write measurements.
- Acronyms: Acronyms are abbreviations where each letter stands for a word.
Examples include NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), and UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).
By understanding these common abbreviations, you will be able to write in English with greater accuracy and confidence.
Thank you for reading!
This was written by me. Bryce Purnell, founder of Learn Laugh Speak.