Briana's Writing Tips: General Punctuation Tips - BrianaDragon Creations

Briana’s Writing Tips: General Punctuation Tips

Pencil Paper Writing - Image: Public Domain, Pixabay
Posted by / July 11, 2014 / 3 Comments

Pencil Paper Writing Image: Public Domain, Pixabay

 

Whether we like it or not, punctuation tells a reader the meaning and emotion of a sentence, and makes it easier to read. Learning to use it correctly will help you a lot as a writer.

All sentences end in some sort of punctuation, whether it’s a period, exclamation mark, question mark or ellipsis. If you don’t use punctuation, your reader doesn’t know when one sentence ends and the next begins. The punctuation you use changes the meaning of what you’ve written.

That’s a dog. (Period used, it’s a fact.)
That’s a dog! (Exclamation mark used, it’s a fact with excitement.)
That’s a dog? (Question mark used, it’s an inquiry.)
That’s a dog… (Ellipsis used, the thought was never finished.)

Using commas is important as well. A comma is where you’d take a pause to breathe if you were talking, and tells the reader to pause.

Without commas you’d get sentences like this that while they do have something to say they’re really hard to read because they never stop if they don’t stop it gets really confusing to read.

Wow, that was bad, wasn’t it? That’s why you need commas, or to make what you’ve written into more than one sentence.

In other punctuation… The ellipsis means that something is missing. Either you left something out, like perhaps a curse word, you took a long pause, or the thought was never finished.

A colon (:) is used before a list or example.

A semicolon (;) is used when you could have made two sentences, but made one. If used correctly you can substitute “but”, “and” or another conjunction and the sentence will still make sense. For example:

I gave him three dollars; he blew it all on candy. I gave him three dollars and he blew it all on candy. I gave him three dollars but he blew it all on candy.

Generally speaking, You never use more than one punctuation mark at the end of a sentence. In modern times the use of ?! or !? is accepted in casual writing, but not in formal writing.

In almost all cases you should only use one space after a punctuation mark. Apostrophes and quotes break that rule, but when using a period, comma, exclamation mark, question mark, ellipsis, colon or semicolon, use just one space afterward. Don’t leave out the space or use two spaces. (Some particular places may require double spacing, but only use it if the specific guidelines call for it.)

About Briana Blair

Artist, writer, ordained interfaith minister, Dr. of Metaphysics and passionate oddball. I love to create, and I love bringing knowledge and joy to others. I've been an artist for 35 years, a writer for 26 and a Pagan for 22. And I'm just getting started!
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3 Comments

    UserS

    Oh good, now that I’m up to date at disqus, I can comment here quite easily (note my excitement, YAY, sincerely). Good tips on punctuation 🙂 I’m a comma whore and occasionally go crazy with ’em. Otherwise I’m pretty okay. Unless you count my emoticon usage to end sentences. But then I take liberties that aren’t right… I know. 🙂 <3 If you're going to do it, you gotta OWN it 😉

      Briana Blair

      Yay for commenting!
      [laughs] I actually have a post here about why I rarely use emoticons outside of PMs anymore. Even when I do I have been reminding myself to use proper punctuation first, then the emoticon. I’m just crazy like that. [smiles]

        UserS

        I’m better about using punctuation after the period (or whatever) when not on FB; but there, I am lazy ’bout it, admittedly. That’s where I got my emoticon ending thing that I DO. 🙂

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