The Nitty-Gritty of Punctuation

Just like in using proper tenses, prepositions, and other grammar rules, punctuation plays an important role in writing and reading; it can change the meaning of a sentence and the impression you want to convey through your writing.

So, if you’re currently working on your writing skills, getting into the nitty-gritty of punctuation can help you improve your storytelling, and of course your spelling and grammar. As a bonus, if you continue reading this article, you’ll get a few links of punctuation checker you can use online to help you use punctuation marks correctly — keep reading, darling.

Importance in writing

According to Kathryn Schulz, the muse gets all the press, but here’s a fact: Good writing involves obsessing over punctuation marks. Obviously, we write because we want our readers to be engaged, and let them imagine our storytelling. Unfortunately, without proper use of punctuation, your written piece can be hard to read and understand.

Here’s an example of a prose without proper punctuation marks:

Hello there Mr John my name is Marry from St Michael Hospital and Ill be discussing with you how well proceed on planning our upcoming event on January 1 at the Grammy Hall together with the marketing and finance and business development team let me know when can we have a meeting on this thanks

With proper use of punctuation marks:

Hello there, Mr. John! My name is Marry from St. Michael Hospital, and I’ll be discussing with you how we’ll proceed on planning our upcoming event on January 1, at the Grammy Hall, together with the marketing, finance, and business development team. Let me know when can we have a meeting on this. Thanks!

Most Common Punctuation Marks:


A comma is a Greek word means a piece cut off, which in literary works customarily indicates a brief pause. So, when do we use a comma?
✔ Enclosing degrees or titles used with names
✔ Introducing or interrupting direct quotations
✔ Separating the day of the month from the year
✔ Removing nonessential words, clauses, and phrases
✔ Making expressions that interrupt the sentence flow
✔ Starting a sentence with a dependent clause, use a comma after it
✔ Separating words and word groups in a simple series of three or more items
✔ Setting the name, nickname, term of endearment, or title of a person directly addressed


A colon is mostly used for literacy. It is a Greek word means “limb,” or a verse of a poem. In addition, a colon is a medium-sized pause which translates as: that is to say or here’s what I mean.
So, when do we use a colon?
✔ Introducing an item or a series of items
✔ Listing items one by one, one per line
✔ When the second sentence explains, illustrates, paraphrases, or expands on the first sentence between independent clauses
✔ Introducing a quotation which contains two or more sentences
✔ When writing a business letter, use a colon to follow the salutation


An interrobang or interbang is a punctuation mark invented by Martin Speckter in 1962. This punctuation mark is often presented as ‽, ?! or !?

✔ Used for most written languages and for those moments when you want to use a question mark and an exclamation mark all at once
✔ Interbang is known in the jargon of printers and programmers known as a “bang”
✔ Could certainly be useful for comic book writers.


A period is a small dot-shaped punctuation mark that is commonly placed at the end of any sentence. Use period:
✔ At the end of a phrase to complete a sentence
✔ Use a period at the end of a sentence for an indirect question


Ellipsis is a three-dot punctuation mark used to omit a word, phrase, line, paragraph, or more from a quoted phrase. It eliminates irrelevant words or phrases; making your phrase more straightforward.
✔ To omit a word, phrase, or paragraph
✔ If used at the beginning of a sentence, follow the opening quotation mark with an ellipsis, plus a bracketed capital letter
✔ To express hesitation, changes of mood, suspense of thoughts of trailing off

✔ Indicate a pause or wavering in an otherwise straightforward sentence

Hyphen, En Dash, and Em Dash

Some are getting confused on the use of hyphens, en dashes, and em dashes as they look very similar to each other.

  • Hyphen (-) it is used when two things are intimately related, when words function together as a single concept, or work together as a joint modifier (e.g., tie-ins, toll-free call, two-thirds).
  • En dash (–) used to connect things that are related to each other by distance (e.g., pages 147–48, pre–Hispanic, pre-production).
  • Em dash (—) for an additional thought within a sentence and as a sort of bullet point, like in your to-do list.

It’s not easy to be proficient in writing; aside from coming up with a meaty topic and content, you need to have an eagle eye on spotting errors for your written piece to be effective. To give you ease on the proper use of punctuation, here’s a list of punctuation checker you can check online:

1. Grammarly
2. Ginger
3. After The Deadline / Polish My Writing
4. WhiteSmoke
5. Virtual Writing Tour
6. Gregory’s Writing Site Punctuation Checker
7. Hemingway Editor

Above all, now that you already know the nitty-gritty of punctuation marks, I challenge you to write an article, whereas you can apply all the punctuation rules in this article. Also, try running your written piece through one of the suggested punctuation mark checkers listed above. 

Seems like someone is trying to get high readability score on WordPress; try reading how transition words can help you rank on Google. 


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