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Bad Reporting of the Day: All Commas will Die!

A professor of comparative English at Columbia university said that commas should be abolished. He said we should get rid of them and no one would care. He says we should kill them. Destroy them. Take each one and murder it in cold blood.

And the reaction? Pages of internet newsprint devoted to the story and angry responses from members of the public leading to personal attacks on the…

Apostrophes Return to Cambridge

Earlier in the year we reported on how Cambridge city council in the UK had decided not to use apostrophes in street signs and how examiners for Cambridge Assessment (the ones who do all the TEFL exams) had supported this idea.

It was, of course, ridiculous of them to do so.

You see, the idea that an examining board could condone bad English in some situations but mark…


Emoticons are a modern form of English punctuation.

Essentially they are a pictorial representation of a human face which are used to give nuance to a text.

For example, I could write:
See you on Thursday.
In itself, this seems fairly innocuous. However, if next Thursday we plan to attend the leaving party of an old friend I might add a “sad” face thus:
See you…

Brackets and Parentheses

Brackets and Parentheses are punctuation marks in English which everyone knows, but many people get wrong. Even native speakers.

But before getting on to how to use them, we’ll begin by explaining exactly what the difference between them are.
Types of Bracket
There are 2 types of brackets common in English.

First come Brackets which are straight which is why they’re sometimes called Square Brackets…

Semicolons in English Punctuation

A semicolon sits half way between a period/full stop and a comma. It has little or nothing to do with a colon, however.

It is used instead of a period/full stop when we want to avoid too strong a break between phrases and instead of a comma when we need a stronger break.
Breaking Up Lists
If you have a list of items, normally they are separated…

Apostrophes in English

The Apostrophe is a diacritic mark in punctuation‏‎.

It is used in 2 different ways in English‏‎:

to show possessive nouns
to show omitted letters

Generally we add an apostrophe s to the end of a noun to make it possessive:
the girl’s bike
Maggie’s farm
If there is a plural noun‎ which ends in an -s, then we add the…

Punctuation‏‎ in English

Punctuation is the use of different marks to show how a sentence‏‎ is constructed and should be read and understood. It is, if you like, the written equivalent of pauses and emphasis.

In English the following punctuation marks are used:

brackets or parentheses
dashes or hyphens
exclamation mark
inverted commas or quotation…