Punctuation Explanation


Whoa! Without proper spacing, capitalization, or punctuation, those sentences are mighty difficult to read! Many of us understand word spacing and capitalization quite well; however, punctuation seems to puzzle writers more than other conventions of writing.

Think of punctuation as the stitching in a quilt. Just as stitching holds pieces of fabric together to keep the quilt organized and beautiful, punctuation holds pieces of the language together (words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs) to keep writing organized and beautiful.

Punctuation is also often described as traffic signals: it signals to the reader when to slow down, when to watch out, when to turn, and when to stop completely.

Punctuation has been used for centuries, most commonly attributed to famous Greek playwrights like Euripides and Aristophanes. They would use a system of dots to help their cast know when to pause and when to stop—essentially, how to perform.

Although the marks are much different today than they were in the time of the ancient Greeks, punctuation remains an essential part of our writing system. 

Look at the following popular examples that show the importance of punctuation to extract meaning:

Dear Jack,
I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous, kind, thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we're apart. I can be forever happy—will you let me be yours?

Dear Jack,
I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful people, who are not like you. Admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me. For other men I yearn! For you I have no feelings whatsoever. When we're apart, I can be forever happy. Will you let me be? 

In the following weeks, we will cover these most important punctuation marks:

Period                             .
Question Mark               ?
Exclamation Mark          !
Apostrophe                    '
Comma                           ,
Colon                              :
Semicolon                       ;
Dash                               —
Ellipses                          . . .
Parentheses                   ( )
Brackets                        [ ]
Slash                              /
Quotation Marks           " "
Hyphen                          -

To learn more about punctuation and writing, visit us a Nomen Global.

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