Punctuation are marks used to support our writing. It helps with separating sentences and their elements and to clarify meaning. Examples includes, full stop, comma, semicolon, colon, hyphen, dash, etc.
I didn’t realize how bad my punctuations were until I started at LBS, this was also the beginning of my journey at correcting them. Below are some punctuation marks I commonly misused:
- ITS OR IT’S
IT’S: This means, it is or it has while Its is used as a possession of something. This is a common mistake done by most people. Its misuse can change the entire meaning of a sentence, so one must be careful when using them.
- EXCLAMATION MARKS
Exclamation marks are normally used to show emotions, but we make the mistake of using 2 or more with a word or sentence. Really, one is enough. Using more than one won’t change the meaning of your sentence.
- HYPHEN OR DASH
Hyphens are used to join 2 words together, while Dash is used to indicate a range and it’s used to separate or join 2 clauses.
This is also a common mistake done by writers. But I feel it’s done because there’s no symbol for a dash, most use 2 hyphens or underscore.
- QUOTATION MARKS
Also known as inverted commas. Quotes or inverted commas are used to quote someone’s words. There’re two types of inverted commas: the single and double inverted comma. The single inverted comma is used within a quote (double inverted comma)
Most people use quotes to highlight a word or parts of a sentence. This can be done by underlining, using italics, or making the words bold.
- COLON AND SEMICOLON
COLON is used to introduce something new after a sentence: it can be a list, to offer more explanation, or bring attention to something.
SEMICOLON is used to link two independent clauses. The clauses must be directly related but also independent, that you can write them as separate sentences. For example:
Elizabeth just bought a book; she reads a lot
A lot of use does not use commas appropriately or use to many commas in a sentence. Sincerely, the use of commas is still something I struggle with, but practice make perfect they say. And I practice by writing regularly, whether emails or texts, writing regularly would help see where we make these errors and correct them.
FIXING OUR ERRORS
- WRITING REGULARLY: Writing regularly not only reduce our punctuation errors, it also helps with our spellings. I’ve realized that there are a lot of words I spell incorrectly, and punctuation marks I didn’t know I was using incorrectly. My first writing class at LBS was an eye opener and this one was one of the first advice given by Mrs. Atinuke.
- USE OF SOFTWARES: There are different software on the internet that writers can use to helps fix writing errors, e.g., Grammarly, Ginger, ProWritingAid, etc. Even Microsoft word has its own editor that points out writing errors.
- READ MORE: Cultivating the habit of reading regularly can help writers identify common mistakes and help identify how punctuations are used.