Marks of Wisdom in Writing

The basic knowledge of punctuation to anyone in the professional world is a must. However, what makes an employee stand out is the correct use of the less common punctuation marks. These marks, although not commonly used, make any paper better if used in the right way. After all, an achievement is only as remarkable as its degree of difficulty.

Make stuff easier to understand with a semicolon

The semicolon helps writers convey messages easier when there are a bunch of details with a main idea. The first way a semicolon can be used is to help sort out giant lists. When many things fall under one category as a list item, the semicolon helps separate the details of one item from a completely different item so the readers don’t get confused (They came from Tampa, Florida; Charleston Missouri; and Topeka, Kansas).

Semicolon’s also help separate related independent clauses (Roger had to run to the bathroom; he ate a bad apple at lunch). An important thing to note is that both clauses must be related otherwise the use of the semicolon becomes invalid and the statement is left confusing. The great use of semicolons displays amazing knowledge about professional writing.

Use quotation marks to bring in knowledge

Many don’t think of quotation marks as complicated punctuation. Quotation marks are thrown around words spoken by others. Mostly this is done so the readers know that the information in the quotation marks is not the work of the author and instead taken from someone else.

As simple as that sounds, many display incorrect use of punctuation marks. This is done because they simply cannot figure out how to use quotation marks with other punctuation marks. There are a couple of simple rules to follow in order to master quotation marks.

  1. All basic punctuation goes in the quotation marks no matter how illogical it seems. This includes periods, commas, etc.
  2. Quotation marks should never be used to emphasize any part of a sentence. Underline or bold the word instead
  3. Use single quotation marks enclose quoted material within quoted material. Do not double quote within each other.

If those rules are met, you should be able to master quotation marks pretty quickly. The rules to make perfect use of quotation marks might be tough to remember, so always double check to make sure they’re used right.

The many uses of the apostrophe

The apostrophe is one of the hardest punctuation marks to master in the English language. Used correctly it can boost your credibility in your writing; used incorrectly it can destroy your credentials in the eyes of the reader.

The apostrophe’s most common use is in the form of contractions. Contractions help shorten word use (I’m = I am, it’s = it is, she’ll = she will).

The apostrophe is also used to create possessives. The use of the apostrophe in these cases depends on whether the noun that shows possession is singular or plural. For example, the dog’s bone indicates that there is only one dog and the bone belongs to him. The dogs’ bones indicate that there are many dogs to which the bones belong too. This rule seems simple but it’s easily forgotten by many.

The final less common use of the apostrophe is to create some plurals. This is done by adding a lowercase s to a proper noun so the reader is indicated that there are multiple proper nouns being spoken of and that the proper noun does not end in s (He got 5 A’s on his report card).

The apostrophe has other minor uses are seldom used but nonetheless make it a versatile mark.

Rajiv Yalamanchili is a student at the University of South Florida. He currently studies Information Systems Management. He currently resides in Tampa, Florida.


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