Sometimes we underestimate the punctuation marks – the small signs dividing sentences into smaller parts. We can misplace them, omit or even ignore. However, all those small signs need to be in their right places. Punctuation mistakes are very annoying, especially when they distort the meaning of a sentence.
Top 10 Most Annoying Errors
- No comma in a compound sentence. There are two right ways to connect clauses in a compound sentence: 1) to use a semicolon; 2) to use a coma and one of small conjunctions (FANBOYS: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so). Any other way of connecting the independent clauses would be wrong.
E.g. Wrong: Martin was a shy boy he had a hard time with public speaking.
Right: Martin was a shy boy, so he had a hard time with public speaking.
- Comma without a small conjunction. Another common mistake with compound sentences is using a comma without a conjunction.
E.g. Wrong: She was ambitious, it helped her to reach her goals.
Right: She was ambitious, and it helped her to reach her goals.
- Question mark in a polite request.
E.g. Wrong: Would you please come to see your grandma?
Right: Would you please come to see your grandma.
- Colon after the word 'to be'. The colon should be used before a list of items or an explanation. It is used after a brief clause that could be used as a separate sentence on its own.
E.g. Wrong: The consequences of the sleep deprivation were: weak immune system, poor attention and low productivity.
Right: The consequences of the sleep deprivation were rather serious: weak immune system, poor attention and low productivity.
- Its vs it’s. ‘Its’ is a possessive pronoun, while ‘it’s’ is a contracted form of ‘it is’.
- Putting a period outside of a quote. Punctuation marks should be inside of quotation marks.
E.g. Wrong: Hamlet said, “To be or not to be”?
Right: Hamlet said, “To be or not to be?"
- No quotation marks where necessary. Quotation marks are needed if you want to use a direct quote.
E.g. Wrong: Mother Teresa said: Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.
Right: Mother Teresa said, “Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.”
- Missing decimals. Kindly note that 1,00 is not the same as 1.000. Mind using periods and commas in numerals.
- Quotation marks for emphasis. Quotation marks should not be used for any purposes other than citing.
E.g. Wrong: He wanted to make her feel “special”.
Right: He wanted to make her feel special.
- Multiple punctuation marks.
E.g. Wrong: What do you mean???
Right: What do you mean?
Do you know any other really annoying punctuation marks mistakes? Would you please kindly share your experience below.