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Blogs about punctuation in English

Note that these entries are in date sequence – oldest first.

Thoughts on punctuation (1) Posted on 23 October 2016 by James Cowan in Punctuation

Funny thing, punctuation. Like the indicators on a car, it can signal a change of direction – though it doesn't actually make the change. But it can add emphasis, and occasionally entirely upset the meaning of a statement. There are 15 or 16 different punctuation marks, depending on who you ask and what you are prepared to recognise as punctuation. I don't imagine that anyone will have issues with the inclusion of the full stop (US: period) ("."), the comma (","), the exclamation mark (US: exclamation point) ("!"), the question mark ("?"), the colon (":"), or the semicolon ... Read more

Punctuation 2 Posted on 31 March 2017 by James Cowan in Punctuation

Returning to the topic of the comma, there is a riddle about the difference between a cat and a comma. Answer: "the cat has claws at the end of its paws; the comma's a pause at the end of a clause." A clause being more-or-less a sentence, with a noun and an action in it. So the comma in "Chief Executive, John Smith said" is horribly out of place. Commas can be used alone when they are separating things that ... Read more

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