Write It, Work It, Publish It™

Punctuation

Over the years, I’ve read several articles and e-books, stating that anyone can write a book even if they’ve never written anything beyond a letter. I am inclined to agree, to some degree.

Of course, anyone can pour their thoughts, and, or ideas out on paper, otherwise known as a ‘draft’. However, that draft manuscript remains simply that if grammar and punctuation are not properly used.

There is more to writing that stringing words together. There has to be correct punctuation and grammar usage to consider, along with building phrases, clauses, sentence structure, writing paragraphs, dialogue, etc. etc.

So what is punctuation? Punctuation is a set of symbols used in writing to assist with the structure of sentences. Known generally as  ‘units’, they include the comma, period/full stop, apostrophe, quotation mark, question mark, exclamation mark, bracket/parenthesis, dash, hyphen, ellipsis, colon, and semicolon. 

Each of these units could indicate multiple meanings depending on context.

Punctuation further assists in making reading engaging from the rhythm and pace, depending on the style of writing.

A period/full stop, for instance, is a punctuation mark used to end a sentence. Here are a few pointers on when and how to use it.

A period/full stop is used:

 At the end of a declarative sentence or if a sentence is declarative, but fragmented.

Example: The guests arrived fifteen minutes early. (Declarative)

Example: References available on request. (Fragmented)

 After an indirect question.

Example: May I ask you to arrive on time.

 After a suggestion masked as a question

Example: I expect there will be no fuss.

 Instructions masked as a question

Example: Tell him why you lied.

If a sentence ends with a word that is abbreviated use only one period/full stop to end the sentence.

Example: I worked for DRG Inc.

 Insert a period/full stop within quotation/speech marks at the end of a sentence

Example: “I don’t’ want to dine out tonight.”

 Punctuating abbreviations.

Example: a.m. / p.m. / e.g. / i.e. / etc. / Jan. / Dr.
Many of you may have vivid imaginations and are probably good at writing as a whole. This, however, is not enough to make you a good writer. It is important to pay attention to the skill of writing. Yes, writing is a skill and if you don’t know the principles of grammar, get acquainted with at least the basics if you are serious about your writing.

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE, NEWSLETTER, MAGAZINE OR WEBSITE? Please do, but ensure you include this complete resource box with it: Cherry-Ann Carew is an Independent Writer, Writing Coach and Copyeditor of Writetastic Solutions. Learn how her coaching and editing services can help you become a published author at www.writetasticsolutions.com. While you’re there, grab your FREE REPORT: ‘The 3 Simple Steps That Will Catapult Your Book To The Finish Line.

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