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Grammar: Period, Comma, Colon

20/02/2011 in Writing Guides

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The great beauty of the English language is that it allows the expression of a concept in almost infinite different ways. Rarely is something outright incorrect, provided it adheres to the basic rules of grammar – even if you set the scene most rigorously, a dozen writers will probably express a statement in a dozen different ways. So it is that every author has an individual style, often unique enough to identify him in a sentence or two.

It is important to remember this when undertaking a study of subjective punctuation marks, because there may well be three or four different ways of writing each example which entirely circumvent the point. While we might customarily separate statements with full stops, different authors might choose to use commas, semicolons, conjunctions (‘joining words’, like “and” or “but”) or even fragment with more full stops depending on the effect they are trying to achieve.

At the end of the day though, it helps to know the “rules”, if only so you understand what it is that you are breaking!

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Grammar: Dashes and Brackets

20/02/2011 in Writing Guides

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The dash is often used in place of other exclamation marks (especially semicolons) by lazy authors who cannot be bothered to master the English language. However, it does have several legitimate uses which fill otherwise empty niches. Brackets are uncommon in fiction, but nonetheless are a tool to be mastered, particularly if you ever intend to write non-fiction!

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Grammar: Exclamations and Questions

20/02/2011 in Writing Guides

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The exclamation mark and question mark are both crucial punctuations without which our language would be vastly inferior. Although fairly simple in premise, it is surprising what people come up with when left to their own devices…

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