Punctuation is a key to achieving success in your writing. It is the face of your writing and part of the first impression you will make when someone reads a document you have written. While a professional proofreading and editing service will provide you valuable help, here are three easy tips you can follow to help your punctuation before you send it to a professional proofreading and editing service.
Tip 1: Apostrophes
Make sure to use apostrophes correctly. They can be used possessively, to form contractions and in certain plurals, but when used incorrectly they can create confusion. People will often add apostrophes by accident in plurals or forget them in possessive situations. For instance, if two “families” are going to a favorite beach, no apostrophe is needed, but if they are going to one “family’s” favorite beach, the apostrophe is necessary. Also, remember not to confuse “it’s,” which means “it is,” and “its,” which is either possessive or plural depending on the use.
Tip 2: Punctuating Quotation Marks
Pay attention to where you place punctuation with regard to quotation marks when quoting others. Periods and commas go inside closing quotation mark, even if they are not part of the quoted material, but other marks, like question marks and exclamation points, go outside the closing quotation mark, unless they are part of the quoted material. “Is the article entitled ‘Up in Arms’ or ‘Up in the Air’?” In this case the question mark is not part of the title of the article, but it is part of the quote sentence. It therefore goes outside the single quotation marks and inside the double quotation marks.
Tip 3: Commas vs. Semi-Colons
Make sure you understand the appropriate use of commas and semi-colons in order to use them correctly in your writing. If you are unsure, send your questions, along with your work, to a professional proofreading and editing service.