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Most people realise the importance of accurate punctuation.  In order to communicate effectively through the medium of print (whether on the page or screen), it is essential that the rudiments of punctuation are understood and applied - routinely and consistently.  Unfortunately, too many people lack confidence in their ability to punctuate precisely and with clarity.


Capital letters and full stops do not usually present too many difficulties, although the latter are sometimes randomly sprinkled rather than rationally positioned.  The problems posed by question marks, exclamation marks and brackets can likewise be overcome without too much difficulty.  However, speech marks, the possessive apostrophe and the humble comma have been known to induce a degree of anxiety verging on panic.


These pages seek to de-mystify punctuation.


You do not need to know about adverbial phrases and adjectival clauses in order to punctuate with precision.  It does help to have a general understanding of how the English language works - but this can be picked up from reading carefully, listening attentively and seeking to express yourself precisely.


What is required, above all, is a readiness to read what you have written and to compare it critically against what you intended to communicate.


If you can discipline yourself to read what you have actually written - rather than what you thought you wrote - then you will be well on the way to developing your ability to punctuate and to improving your communication skills.



Capital letters


Full stops


Question Marks


Exclamation marks









Speech marks


Possessive apostrophes









Hyphens - Dashes