What’s the way to make your ‘‘readers hear you the way you want to be heard?’’ Well, it’s the usage of punctuation. Punctuation in English is that which numbers are to Mathematics. Just the way you cannot do a Math problem without a number, you cannot even write English without punctuation.
Let’s have the famous example once again. An English teacher once wrote in his class– ‘‘A woman without her man is nothing.’’When asked to copy the text written on blackboard, the male population of the class wrote as- ‘‘a woman, without her man, is nothing.’’ The female students copied the text as– ‘’a woman: without her, man is nothing.’’ This is what punctuation is. It can change the meaning of your expression in any way. The usage of punctuation is indeed a miracle.
I still remember an incident from my high school days. Being tired with the horrible performance of the class, our English teacher announced that she will be conducting a surprise English punctuation test then. While some students really got scared about the performance being bad, there were some students who started laughing at the mere announcement of ‘punctuation’ test. Next day when the teacher displayed the grades obtained by us, we were all shocked. The highest was that of a B+, while C and D was that which dominated the sheet!
From that day onwards, the first and foremost thing which I check after writing something in English, are the punctuation. A person, who uses his punctuation properly, is the one who has a clear understanding of his concept. Remember that the way you use your punctuation, is the way you want to convey your message. If you neglect your punctuation in sentences or use it incorrectly, then there are chances that you will be misunderstood. This is because a comma or a semi-colon can easily turn a sarcastic sentence into that of an irony, leaving you in tragedy!
The importance of Punctuation:
No matter whether you are studying English, History, or Physics, you need to write sentences in your answers. And while writing sentences, punctuation plays a major role. Through punctuation, you can end a thought, explain it in a detailed way, or even start writing a new thought. The various punctuation marks bring clarity and variety in your writing style. It provides emphasis to your writing and enhances your expressions. If you want to develop better writing skills, you can refer to any online professional website for additional help.
Imagine a situation where you ask your younger sibling about his likes and preferences. He answers your query as- ‘‘I like eating you, dancing my friends and playing Pokémon.’’ Will you be able to understand what he is trying to say? Probably you will misunderstand him. Now imagine if he answers like- ‘‘I like eating, you, dancing, my friends and playing Pokémon.’’ Won’t you find this to be much sensible and easy to understand? With insertion of commas you are able to understand what he is trying to convey. Well, that’s what usage of punctuation is.
Common punctuation mistakes you need to avoid for better grades:
- Inserting apostrophe while forming plurals–
People who are still in the process of learning, make this mistake of inserting apostrophes while forming plurals.
- Knitting the commas–
Whenever you want to separate independent information from the other make use of commas. But there are many who do not add a conjunction once they use a comma. For example, ‘‘the dress costs $60, and I will buy it now.’’
- Using unnecessary quotations for putting emphasis or stress to a word–
There are students who put unwanted quotations when they put emphasis to a word. This is wrong English.
- Using too much punctuation–
‘‘Too many cooks spoil the broth.’’ In the same way, using too much punctuation, spoil the English. There are students who put three four exclamation marks at the end of a sentence. Students even use too many dots to mark that a thing is continuing. However, you should use only three dots and one exclamation mark.
- Adding Punctuation after quotation ends–
This is the most common mistake which you need to rectify. Whether it is a comma, a question mark or an exclamation mark, you need to remember to use them inside the quotation itself so that the thought ends completely.
- Missing comma after introductory words–
Words like However, Moreover, are often used while introducing a thought. You need to use comma with these words.
Students, who are suffering from low grades, can refer to- 10 ways through which you can improve English Writing Skills.
Tips for using Punctuation marks effectively:
- Put the apostrophes properly-
Instead of putting apostrophes with plural words, use them only when needed. You can use them only during defining some possessiveness or while forming some contractions. In spite of being a tiny mark, apostrophes are an important determinant of what you want to convey. For example- Roger’s shoes, his sister’s wedding, let’s play, etc.
- Know where you are using commas-
Some students have a habit of using commas anywhere, everywhere. Some even use commas for extending their thoughts unnecessarily. Thus, before you add a comma, think of the message you want to convey.
- Be aware of using quotations-
Remember that whenever you are using someone else’s remarks, you need to insert quotations. This separates your thoughts from that of the other person’s. For example, Mark said, ‘‘I will be visiting your place in the evening.’’
- Use punctuation for parentheses-
Whenever you need to add some qualifying remark or separate some groupings, make use of marks such as brackets to distinguish the thought. For example, I love eating. (We all love to eat.)
- Make use of hyphens effectively-
There are students who use hyphens and dash incorrectly. You need to know that a hyphen is used when you want to continue the same thought or flow. A Dash is a long line which depicts that you are shifting to a new thought.
- Know the difference between colon and semicolon-
A major part of punctuation lies in determining where to use colon and where to use semi-colons. Semi-colons are used when a person wants to separate two thoughts of the same concept. Whereas colons are used when you want to list out some points for explanation.
- Learn to distinguish between it’s and its-
While ‘’it’s’’ is used as a supplement for ‘it is’ or ‘it has’, the term its means when you are defining some possessiveness. For example- ‘‘It’s already late for the bird to return to its nest.’’
You may be an expert in English among your classmates. But remember that incorrect punctuation can bring down your English grades. Thus you need to be careful with your English Punctuation to secure better grades.