5 Common Punctuation Mistakes & their EasyFixes
While more subtle than misspellings and grammatical errors, punctuation mistakes also hurt your credibility. Make sure to proofread carefully and look out for these common errors:
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1. Punctuation Outside Quotes: In American English, punctuation should always be placed within quotation marks, even if it's not part of the quotation itself.
Wrong: Jim was excited to attend the new workshop, "Social Media Strategies for HR".
Right: Jim was excited to attend the new workshop, "Social Media Strategies for HR."
2. Comma Splice: When a comma separates two independent clauses, they must be joined by a conjunction. Without a conjunction, it becomes a comma splice.
Wrong: Their video production package costs $8,000, we decided to hire them.
Right: Their video production package costs $8,000, and we decided to hire them.
Right: Their video production package costs $8,000. We decided to hire them.
3. Missing Comma after Introductory Elements: Introductory elements of a sentence need a comma afterwards.
Wrong: Before attending the meeting Sue proofread her presentation.
Right: Before attending the meeting, Sue proofread her presentation.
4. Misplaced Apostrophes: This mistake is especially common in internet and online writing. Use apostrophes for possessives and conjunctions where appropriate.
Wrong: Carol's notes summarize you're presentation.
Right: Carol's notes summarize your presentation.
5. Incorrect use of Semicolons: Semicolons are frequently used incorrectly. They connect two independent clauses that could be distinct, separate sentences.
Wrong: The budget is tight; but we will make every effort to fund employee health initiatives.
Right: The budget is tight, but we will make every effort to fund employee health initatives.
Right: Employee health initiatives are vital; we will allocate important resources for these efforts.
Do you find any punctuation mistakes frequently in your writing? What errors drive you crazy?
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