Help with Punctuation

by Kimberlin Tan

I recently discovered your website and I think it's brilliant. People, now a days, re having difficulty have at hard time when it comes to English. I for one, do need to polishing on my writing skills.

I am currently into blogging although I'm not much of a writer really. I do hope to be a good one someday.

I do have problems with punctuation marks. Sometimes, I don't know when and where to put them. Do you have any tips about it this?

Anyways, I really find your website very interesting and useful. I do hope it could can help me.
Hi Kimberlin,
You are not the only person who has trouble with punctuation. We all make mistakes but it is good to learn from them. The first thing I did after reading your question was grab my copy of Practical English Usage by Michael Swan. Whenever I answer grammar questions I always refer to it to double check.

We are in luck too because there is a section on punctuation (pages 459-465). It does a general breakdown of the basic punctuation marks and explains how and when to use them. (I think this book might be quite helpful for you).

My suggestion would be to get a book that explains the punctuations marks in a simple manner and to study the usage a bit. It is a little bit boring but after studying you can do some blogging to practice. After a while punctuation should come naturally.

Here are a couple of explanations from my copy of,
Practical English Usage: Third Addition.

Full Stop (.) Question
Mark (?) and Exclamation Mark (!)

These three forms of punctuation are used to divide and close sentences. The sentence that follows is always started with a capital letter.

I like teaching English. It is very rewarding.
Do you like learning English? It is great.
What a wonderful question! You need to write more.

Colon (:)

1) Explanations A colon is used to add more information or an explanation
We need to provide three services: editing, private classes and motivational support.

2) Lists A colon can be used to introduce a list.
Here are five ways to improve your pronunciations: 1)...2)...3)...

3) Subdivisions A colon can be used to divide a title.
How to learn English: Five Secrets How.

Practical English Usage also explains semi colons, commas, dashes, quotation marks, and apostrophes.

I hope that helps you with your question. If you would like any more help, don't hesitate to ask.

Have a wonderful day!

Would you like an answer without waiting?

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How? It is simple. Get a copy of
Practical English Usage, by Michael Swan.

I can honestly say that this grammar reference guide is the best I have ever used and I use it daily answering all of your grammar questions; including this question.

Why wait for my answer? When the answer is just a page number away?

Get this book now and start solving your grammar questions!

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Have a wonderful day everyone!

- Diana :)

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Comments for Help with Punctuation

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Apr 16, 2009
Semi-Colon Usage
by: Fatimah

Dear Diana (and everyone!),

A sentence is a phrase of words that link words to each other. Sometimes a semi-colon is needed. I find it difficult sometimes to know where to put semi-colons (to know where the right place is).

Who has the same problem as me? Please write about it and maybe it would be good for us to share our experiences to find a good solution.

Thank you to all who are reading my writing.

My best regard to you all,


Hi Fatiamh,

You raise a good point and I would love it if others commented on how to use a semi-colon.

To help you understand I am going to refer to my Practical English Usage book. On page 461 it explains the usage very simply and with good examples.

Semi Colon Usage

Basically you use a semi-colon when you would like to connect two sentences that are grammatically separate BUT the ideas are connected.


  • Some animals are carnivores; others are herbivores.

  • The book is interesting; lets hope that it sells well.

    The other instance mentioned in Michael Swan's Practical English Usage is it's use to separate items in a list.

    You will learn English if you study hard; speak with others on a daily basis; listen to as much English as you can;?etc

    You might be thinking...WAIT...can't I just use a comma to form a list? You can but for more grammatically complex lists we tend to use the semi colon.

    I hope that helps Fatimah and I look forward to seeing what other people have to say.

  • Click here to add your own comments

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