Commas, Periods, and Semicolons

Commas, Periods, and Semicolons

A Lesson by Tory

Some people really struggle with these elements of punctuation. With my tips on using them, you may be able to write a little clearer than you have before!


Tips about punctuation:

1.       If you seem to pause somewhere in your sentence, you probably need a form of punctuation there (hehe, like the punctuation I have used in this sentence).

2.       If you’re confused about periods, here’s some tips:

a.       Can you make a complete sentence by putting a period there?

b.      If you have “…” then you usually add a comma inside the quotations and put the period at the end of the sentence that is outside of the quotations.  Ex: “I don’t know what to do,” Mary said.

c.       Does the sentence sound like it needs a period (which is a long pause) rather than a comma (which only separates ideas that are similar but not exactly the same)?

3.       Use semicolons! Many people don’t use them because they are unsure on how to use them.  Here’s a helpful tip: can the writing before the semicolon stand alone? Can the writing after the semicolon stand on it’s own? If you answered yes to both of these questions, then you can put a semicolon there.  Basically, if you can put a period there, you can put a semicolon there.  It’s partly a preference thing, but if you notice you have a lot of short sentences with related ideas, try using a semicolon instead of a period.  Ex: The cat is big.  It is three feet tall.  Use of semicolon: The cat is big; it is three feet tall.  Also, if you have a cause/effect, compare/contrast word, usually it’s best to use a semicolon.  Ex: My cat eats way too much, therefore I will feed it less.  Use of semicolon: My cat eats way too much; therefore, I will feed it less.


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Posted 3 Years Ago

ty very helpful!
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Added on May 5, 2011
Last Updated on May 5, 2011
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Tall, blonde, loves writing, currently working on a story with my roommate, not sure how often I'll post or what I'll post.