TRIO Tips: Punctuation

Have you ever thought about the importance of correct punctuation! See what I did there? Punctuation is the key to maintaining credibility. Correct punctuation is just as important as the words used to create the article or story because it adds emphasis on certain words and phrases.

Punctuation marks provide organization necessary for communication. It’s the structure that makes a story readable. Without correct punctuation, the message can be easily misconstrued. Below are five important punctuation pointers that are often forgotten.

1. Use a single space after a period.

Two spaces after a period, exclamation or question mark have been used since the beginning of typing. This rule has since expired. In this era only one space is necessary.

2. Commas and periods go inside quotation marks.

Example: “I am excited about the warm Charleston weather,” she said.
She said, “Charleston is the most beautiful city for a vacation.”

3. Do not use a comma to separate the subject from the verb.

Commas used incorrectly can create a confusing and illogical sentence. Commas can cause unnecessary pauses and breaks in the middle of a sentence. Try to always avoid sentences like the one below.

Incorrect example: The girl in South Carolina, is now moving to New York.

4. Use a semicolon to clarify a series that includes a number of commas.

Always include a semicolon before the conjunction. The best food can be found in Charleston, SC; Austin, Texas; and New Orleans, La.

5. The Oxford Comma

To use or not to use an Oxford comma is a common debate among grammar and punctuation gurus. According to the 2015 AP style guide, the Oxford comma should not be used.

Always double check your punctuation marks to create a credible and logical story.