Importance of Punctuation

Punctuation to writing is table etiquette to a very important date. They create a positive impression, but more than an impression, they enhance the meaning, context, depth, and beauty of your write-ups. As Lynne Truss strongly puts, ‘Proper punctuation is both the sign and the cause of clear thinking’. So, don’t underestimate the power of a comma or a hyphen or a full stop.


The habit of putting punctuation can help you in the long run and should be counted in a basic necessary skill. It immensely helps in comprehension as well as in writing correct sentences. A tiny misplaced question mark or comma can ruin your entire piece. Sometimes, we make silly mistakes such as using a semicolon (;) in place of the colon (:). Let’s remove the dirt and get it clear. 


A semicolon (;) is mostly used to connect two closely related sentences. They are like bridges. For proper understanding here is an example:


Jack drove 85 mph on his way to the hospital; his wife’s life depended on it.


This example shows a close relationship that could neither be served by a period {.} nor by a comma {,}.


A semicolon can also be used to separate lists and clarify the meaning of a phrase. Here is another example. 


With Semicolons –


In a movie, there are three characters: Rose William, the heroine; Nick Jacobs, the hero; and Bob Martin, the villain.


Without Semicolons – 


 In a movie, there are four characters: Rose William, the heroine, Nick Jacobs, the hero, and Bob Martin, the villain. 


The entire sentence becomes so vague and meaningless. So, Semicolons, not commas, can separate the list and can clarify the meaning (as shown in the above example).


There is also some confusion among Em Dashes, En Dashes, and Hyphens, though, these three are look-a-like but different. Here is a Helping Diagram. 


Punctuation helps in forming a structure and the correct usage of punctuation adds fluency and accuracy to the write-ups.  Here are a few rules that should be kept in mind for correct punctuation:


  • You cannot put periods near anywhere.


  • Periods and commas go inside quotation marks.

  • Never use a comma for separating the subject from the verb.

  • Use a semicolon to avoid confusion and clarify the meaning in a series that includes a number of commas (as shown in the above example)


    Punctuation is the music of language ~ Noah Lukeman, A Dash of Style

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