What are punctuation marks?
Punctuation marks are the points or other small marks used in a text to help the reader interpret the exact meaning of the text. In a layman’s language, punctuation marks are used to make the written text readable and understandable.
A sentence without punctuation is merely a group of words. Without punctuation a sentence may not convey a clear message. Using incorrect punctuation or using punctuation in the wrong place can completely change the meaning of the sentence. Therefore, it is important to use correct punctuation marks. These punctuation marks allow us to organize our thoughts in the correct manner and make one’s writing easier to read and more appealing. Therefore, it is crucial to follow the correct usage of punctuation marks.
There are 14 punctuation marks commonly used in English grammar, these punctuation marks include: periods, question marks, commas, exclamation point, colon, semicolon, dash, hyphen, brackets, parentheses, braces, apostrophes, quotation marks, and ellipsis.
For a good writing work, correct punctuation is a MUST. No matter how beautiful words you use in your story, how much research do you do for an article, how compelling and informative your report work is, if you haven’t used correct punctuation, you will end up having no reader for your work for sure. Hence, using correct punctuation marks is as important as your work itself.
Here are the most common punctuation mistakes that people do while writing:
Not using Period or Full stop: Every sentence needs a full stop! Using full stop or the period after completing a sentence is very important. People sometimes skip using full stop at the end of the sentence, making the whole text grammatically incorrect.
Overusing Commas: Another punctuation mistake that many people commit is overuse of commas in the text. Of course, commas are used to separate adjectives, clauses, clarify meaning, avoid ambiguity, etc. But that doesn’t mean that we can use them anywhere in the text.
Not closing Quotation marks: Whenever we use opening quotation marks, whether double quotation marks (“”) or single quotation mark (”), it is important that we use a closing quotation mark also.
Apostrophe not facing the right way: While using an apostrophe mark, one should make sure that the mark is facing the right way.
Using the Period with Exclamation marks: Exclamation marks are always used at the end of a sentence, especially when we need to show sudden reactions. While using exclamation signs, most people place a period after an exclamation mark, which is incorrect. Or using more than one exclamation mark in a statement is also not grammatically correct.
Using Question mark with the Period: Just like the exclamation mark, the question mark is also not followed by a full stop when it is used at the end of a sentence. For instance; where are you going? We don’t to put a period here. A question mark completes the sentence just like a period does.
Not differentiating between Hyphens and dashes: Remember, there is a huge difference between a hyphen (-) and a dash (- or –). A hyphen is used to join two or more words together or to divide words at the end of a line when the word cannot fit on the remainder of the line. For example, my mother-in-law is still in the hospital. Whereas, the dash, is longer than a hyphen and is used in mid-sentence. For example, She is afraid of two things-lizards and spiders.
Overdoing or overusing of punctuation marks makes any text look weak or awkward. For instance; Liza was stunned!!!… Surprised!!!! This is absolutely an incorrect use of exclamation marks in a sentence. Another problem is with underusing punctuation marks. When writing, people sometimes forget using punctuation where it is needed. Whether you overuse or underuse a punctuation mark, in both cases, it impacts the overall text and weakens the integrity of your writing.
Besides these errors, people often miss to use capital letters. For instance, whenever a sentence is started, it should start with a capital letter. Moreover, names of the countries, names of the people, newspapers etc. should always start with a capital letter.
The easiest way to find out the punctuation mistakes in your written text is to read it aloud, When you read the written matter aloud, you realize where you need to use a short pause or a long pause or any other punctuation in the text.