We’ve all been there – when’s the right time to use a colon vs. a semi-colon, how about quotation marks, commas and all the rest?
Using punctuation correctly is important, regardless of your occupation, so fear not, leaders of tomorrow, we’re here with some helpful hints and tips for you to live – and write by.
Colons are used to introduce lists and they appear after nouns:
Example: The office refrigerator contained three things: Creamer, old bagels and my sandwich.
Incorrect example: The office refrigerator contained: Creamer, old bagels and my sandwich.
Semi-colons are used to separate two different, but related ideas, or clauses, in a sentence.
Example: People continue to worry about the assignment; our failure to plan properly has put the entire project at risk.
The Parentheses (())
Parentheses are used to clarify or add a notation to a sentence.
Example: Everyone said that Dr. Smith (our math instructor) was very difficult, but I found his lessons very engaging and fair.
Double Quotation Mark “
Double quotation marks are used to indicate a direct statement from a person or from another source you are citing.
Example: “Don’t run with scissors!” my mother exclaimed.
Single Quotation Mark ‘
Single quotation marks are used to indicate a possessive or to relay a quote within another quote.
Possessive Example: That is John’s bike in the driveway.
Quotation Example: Mike said “John told me ‘I am going to leave my bike in your driveway.’”
Punctuation within Quotations
Many people are often confused by using commas and periods with quotation marks. Here’s a simple rule – periods and commas always go inside quotation marks!
Commas are used to relate a pause or a break in a sentence, to indicate a series or to separate adjectives.
Example: There was an incredible, powerful sound coming from the closet.
We hope this tour of some punctuation hints has been helpful – keep your eyes peeled for one of our next installments!