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Simple Punctuation Rules

The most popular punctuation character, the comma (,), is also the least law-abiding. In Greek, the comma was a “piece cut off from a line of verse – what we would now call a sentence or phrase in English. Since the 16th century, the comma word refers to the mark that highlights words, phrases and clauses. The semicolon is perhaps the most difficult punctuation character to use. When in doubt, avoid it and convert the added material into a new sentence. This is the most popular punctuation mark because you simply can`t write a single sentence without using it. There are therefore two most common uses of a period: to indicate the end of a sentence or to follow an abbreviation. A comma is often used to separate different ideas into a single sentence. However, it also has many other uses, and it`s important to remember that too. In the nineteenth century, punctuation referred primarily to spoken performance (elocution), and signs were interpreted as pauses that could be counted. This declamatory basis of punctuation has gradually given way to the syntactic approach used today.

It`s fair to say that Gen-Z will continue to have a more unconventional attitude toward punctuation. However, if you are ambitious and want to be published in the best publications and journals, you need to make sure that your writing is par excellence. Jeet Thayil may have been nominated for the Man Booker Prize and even revered for writing the seven-page prologue without dots, but an academic manuscript is far more likely to face a rejection on the desk for such artistic freedoms. Try Trinka, the AI-powered editorial assistant – it will prepare your articles and documents for a global audience and lead you to success. To understand how necessary and meaningful punctuation is, imagine the world where it doesn`t exist. In this world, we would not have known where one sentence ends and the other begins, because there would be no dots. We also wouldn`t have had any idea whether a particular sentence was a question or not, because there would be no question marks. And how would we show our emotions in writing if we didn`t have exclamation marks and ellipses? In short, punctuation, when used correctly, makes it easier for everyone, writers and readers alike. And it remains true, as G. V. Carey noted decades ago, that punctuation is determined “two-thirds by rules and one-third by personal taste.” With these goals in mind, we refer you to the guidelines for the correct use of the most common punctuation marks: periods, question marks, exclamation marks, commas, semicolons, colons, hyphens, apostrophes, and quotation marks.

The rules for punctuating question marks are very simple. In fact, there really is only one rule! Understanding the principles behind common punctuation marks should strengthen your understanding of grammar and help you use characters consistently in your own writing. As Paul Robinson says in his essay “The Philosophy of Internctuation” (in Opera, Sex, and Other Vital Matters, 2002): “Punctuation has the primary responsibility of contributing to the clarity of meaning. She has the secondary responsibility to be as invisible as possible, not to draw attention to herself. There are only three ways to end a sentence: with a period (.), a question mark (?) or an exclamation mark (!). And because most of us brag much more often than we question or shout, the dot is by far the most popular ending sign of punctuation. By the way, the American period is better known as the dot in British English. Since about 1600, both terms have been used to describe the marker (or long pause) at the end of a sentence. Someone was right when he said, “Proper punctuation saves lives.” Since commas represent a pause, it`s a good exercise to read your writing aloud and listen where you take natural breaks while reading. In most cases, you specify where to place a comma in a natural pause. However, the “rules” where a comma is to be placed must also be followed.

Luckily, you live in a world where there are AI-controlled online editorial assistants. Trinka AI, a next-generation writing assistant designed for academic and scientific writing, is the latest to enter the global market, and it`s already ahead of its time. Best of all, it`s available for free. Not only punctuation, Trinka checks and corrects all aspects of your writing, including 3,000+ complex grammar errors, technical wording, and academic tone; proposes formulations preferred by WADA; corrects incorrect sentence structure and word choice; corrects vague and biased language; and also makes your writing concise. In short, Trinka makes bad writing good and good writing better.