10 Rules of Punctuation

If you have been following me for any length of time, you know by now how torqued I get when people butcher the King’s English. It’s one thing to do it and get away with it if English is your second language, but native born English speakers in the U.S. and the U.K. have no excuse for it.

Part of that equation is using the wrong syntax, which really sends me off into the stratosphere. But worse is the lack of punctuation, or worse, the complete mangling of it.

Here are 10 quick EzineArticles punctuation tips:

1. Spacing After Punctuation: One (1) space only is required after every punctuation mark (period, exclamation mark, question mark, colon, semicolon, commas, etc.), including bullets and numbers.

Back in the 70’s, when I was in high school, I had a typing teacher that went by the “old school” method of two spaces after a punctuation mark. Nowadays, most word processors will catch it and default it to one. I still catch myself using 2 spaces after completing a sentence.

When did that change? Probably with the advent of computers… in the interest of saving every byte possible.

2. Never use Excessive Punctuation!!!!! This will not create a greater sense of urgency or strong emotion, especially in formal writing. Besides, it’s annoying as hell!

3. Periods and commas always go inside of quotation marks.

Example: “I think you’re great.”

4. There is never a space before a period or before a comma.

5. When doing this “…” you should use only 3 dots. Using more than three periods in an ellipsis does NOT increase the time lapse in the “train of thought.” It only annoys the hell out of the reader, and too many people abuse it when writing for their web audiences.

6. When using dashes, use two in a row.

Example: Punctuation–10 Rules

7. Use no spaces on either side of a hyphen.

Example: We need twenty-five boxes.

8. Use a question mark only after a direct question.

Example: Can I ask you a question?

9. Use parentheses to enclose words or figures that clarify.

Example: Use only one (1) space after a punctuation mark.

10. If the last word in a sentence ends in a period, do not follow it with another period.

Example: I know that C.E.O. He is my boss.

Consider this my “rant” for the month. I know, I know… it’s been over a month since I’ve chatted with you.

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