Punctuation: The basics

Punctuation is more than simply a series of rules to be memorized. It is the tool that can most effectively fine tune your writing. The choice to use a semicolon rather than begin a new sentence. The decision to string series of phrases one after another with commas. The attempt to interrupt the flow of a sentence a sentence with a dash. All of these involve crafting beyond simply applying rules. But to apply the proper touch, a writer must understand the rules that govern punctuation. He or she must know slows a sentence as well as what stops it.

There are six types of punctuation we will consider:

1) commas, which are used to connect a series of words, phrases and clauses and have specific rules of use in Associated Press Style.

2) semicolons, which are used to connect independent clauses and provide clarity in a “comma heavy” sentence.

3) colons, which are used to let the reader know that a list or restatement is to follow.

4) dashes, which are used to indicate a dramatic break in the sentence’s direction.

5) hyphens, which are used to connect compound modifiers.

6) quotation marks, which have specific rules of use in Associated Press Style.

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