Punctuation Repair Kit

Have you ever struggled with your punctuation when trying to write something for your customers? Are you completely reliant on a grammar checker? Grammatical errors on signage cause much online hilarity. Read on for some tips on keeping copy joke free….

In the UK, knowledge of English grammar seems to vary from generation to generation. Pupils of current school age might just be the Zen masters, along with anyone who has learnt English abroad as a second, other language.

Is good grammar that important? In the “Textspeak” age we have dispensed with many of the grammatical conventions that once governed usage of the written word. However, a simple thing like correct placement of apostrophes and commas can make a real difference when writing copy. Have a look at the following…..

Residents refuse to go in bins. Without the apostrophe this sign is no longer about rubbish and more about attempted murder!

New members welcome drink. I expect they do, however, with an apostrophe they would know that the sign is actually offering them one.

Leonora walked on her head, a little higher than usual. Wrong placement of a comma has turned Leonora, who was just trying to get over an insult, into a space cadet.

Let’s eat Grandpa. Poor Grandpa, a comma would have brought him to the table rather than serving him up on it.

1. Apostrophes show belonging.
The boy’s hat… The hat belongs to the boy.
Put the apostrophe after the “s” if we are talking about more than one person.
The boys’ classroom… The classroom belongs to more than one boy.
n.b. The dog loved its kennel. No apostrophe is needed for “its” when it shows belonging.
“I think it might be your turn next.” No apostrophe is needed for “your” when it shows belonging.
2. Apostrophes show time and quantity
In one month’s time..
3. Apostrophes show that letters are missing
It’s Sunday tomorrow… It is Sunday tomorrow.
You’re the next in line… You are the next in line.

1. Commas separate items on lists. The vase is black, yellow, green and white.
2. Commas join two sentences together using and, or, but, while and yet.
(I wanted to write a card to say thank you, but I was worried that my spelling would let me down.)
3. Commas go before direct speech
(She whispered, “What did he just say?”)
4. Commas mark both ends of a piece of additional information.
(I am, of course, appreciative of correct punctuation.)

At Cre8ion we love to write great copy. If your company requires a regular blog writing service why not drop us a line at www.cre8ion.co.uk?

Examples taken from “Eats Shoots and Leaves” by Lynne Truss.