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Thursday, May 31, 2018

Puzzling Punctuation

Punctuation is puzzling!

 I imagine the caption below Snoopy's photo tells us what he is thinking. At least, for today, that is what he is pondering on. It's all too true--punctuation is puzzling. There are so many rules to learn and memorizing them is not much fun. 

We were suppose to master all that in grade school and be able to use punctuation correctly in Junior High and High School. Some did and others never grasped it. 

What if you're a writer and you throw a handful of commas into your story, letting them land wherever? Maybe you pose a question in a piece of dialogue and you end with a period instead of a question mark.Does it matter? It does if you want to give your readers your best work and are looking for some 4 or 5 star reviews. 

It's also best to use correct punctuation so you can be proud of what you've written and submitted for publication. Editors today don't have time to correct mechanical errors, no matter how much they like the story or essay. 

For those who are fearful of relying on their own store of knowledge, there are websites that offer tools to help you use the proper punctuation and other items grammar-related. Try grammarly. There are others, of course. Use Google, or some other search engine, to find one that suits you. 

Fourteen Punctuation Marks
  • period
  • comma
  • question mark
  • exclamation point
  • colon
  • semi-colon
  • dash
  • hyphen
  • parentheses
  • brackets
  • braces
  • apostrophes
  • quotation marks
  • ellipsis
Each one of the above have rules. I am not going to list them here as they are far too extensive. Choose three from the list and do a search for rules. There are many good sites that give detailed information on the use of each of these punctuation marks. Find the ones you like and bookmark so that you can refer to them when you are not sure about the usage of commas or quotation marks or when and how to use an ellipsis. 

With so many punctuation marks that we use in our writing on a day to day basis, we need to have a working knowledge of the main ones, if not all. Puzzling? Yes. Even so, you can master the use of all of them with a bit of effort. 

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