Punctuation step 1: discover the code you already know

Woman looks at exclamation mark graffiti Thomas Editing punctuation guide

Three steps to basic punctuation – the vital code you use already.
Step 1: full stop, comma, exclamation mark. A 2-minute tutorial. Are you with me?

From the Very Hungry Caterpillar, through Harry Potter, to every thriller or guide book you’ve ever read, the code of punctuation has made you pause, consider, expect, question, stop and read on quickly.

Correct use of the punctuation code will make your website or marketing easier to read and more effective, and your potential customers won’t even realise why.

Programming code tells computers what to do; punctuation is the code that tells us how to pace our reading. Both are fiendishly clever.

Code has symbols such as [ and < and }, whereas punctuation uses: . and , and ! and : and ; and ‘ and () and []. And, like computer code, you must use punctuation in the right place for it to work.

What do the symbols mean?

What do the symbols mean?

First, the full stop. Teamed with capital letters, this constructs sentences and shows their end. Stop. Get ready for the next idea.

Second, the comma, which lets us add more information to sentences, hopefully without confusing things. As with all code, commas in the, wrong place, can, make a confusing mess.

Finally, for this blog, is the exclamation mark! This is code for a real surprise! Or to show shouting and loudness in speech: ‘Make mine a Malbec!!’ It can go rogue and appear so often that it becomes meaningless!!!!!!

Step 2: colons, semi-colons, brackets, dashes and question marks

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(photo credit: ! via photopin (license)

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