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Continuing with my aim to helping you write clearly, concisely, effectively and pertinently, today we will see exactly about what are punctuations and their importance. In a later session, I will also give you a detailed definition of each of those punctuations and where they are expected to be used.
The Main Punctuation Marks
|.||period or full stop|
|?||interrogation point or question mark|
|" "||quotation marks|
Purpose Of Punctuation In Writing
=> To give written words the intended meaning and expression of the spoken words.
Converting spoken words into a written form is a critical process. If you fail to convey the exact intended meaning of what Mr X said, you are essentially conveying the message in a different form which may entail consequences. Let’s take an example.
Consider the following 3 phrases:
1) Jonas beats James in the running competition.
2) Jonas beats James to run in the competition.
3) James beats Jonas while running.
Do these three sentences have the same meaning? Of course not!
Spoken Words Can Be Conveyed Appropriately In Written Words
Just as the meaning of spoken words are varied by pauses or by changing the tone of the voice (voice inflexion), the meaning of written words may also be varied by the use of punctuation.
Therefore, a sound knowledge of the principles of punctuation is essential to convey clear expression.
Definition Of Punctuation Marks
In speaking, it is customary to make pauses or change the inflexion of the voice where the sense requires it. In writing, to indicate the reader the effect or feeling of those pauses and inflexion, we make use of certain signs or marks. Those signs or marks are named as ‘punctuation marks‘.
Important Points To Be Noted With Punctuation
1) In the same way as a change in the order of words in a sentence may bring about a change in the meaning, an alteration in the punctuation may involve an alteration in the meaning too.
A1) “Your hand, Samantha, ”
B2) “Your hand, Samantha?”
These two phrases have different meaning which are indicated by the punctuation marks.
In spoken language, phrase A1 would indicate a statement while phrase B2 is an enquiry. Now in written language, if you don’t convey meaning correctly by using the appropriate punctuations and at the right positions in the sentence, you will undoubtedly convey a different idea.
2) Good punctuation shows that a student or a writer has a good knowledge of grammatical structure. And to understand the latter, you should obviously grasp what is a simple sentence, a complex sentence and the meaning of each punctuation marks and where to use them. Hopefully, I will discuss all these in future sessions as we go gradually and grow our “Good Writing Skills By Learning The Basics Of The English Language”
=> The next Session is here: ‘General Principles Of Punctuation – What Are Punctuations And How To Use Them‘