Have you noticed how people either use too many or too few commas in a sentence or use apostrophes incorrectly?
In speaking, we use pauses and the pitch of the voice to make what we say clear. Punctuation plays a similar role in writing, making it easier to read. Apostrophes and commas are two of the most common punctuation marks used in English.
Here are some top tips to help you use each of these correctly.
The apostrophe may be the most abused punctuation mark in the English language.
The apostrophe has two uses:
1. To show possession
The cat's whiskers which means the whiskers of the cat (as in one cat).
The cats' whiskers which means the whiskers of the cats (as in more than one cat).
2. To indicate the contraction of words
For example: can't, won't, wouldn't
As always in English, there is an exception. This exception has common errors when it comes to using the apostrophe. The word its shows possession whereas it's is a contraction of it is.
Showing possession: The cat hurt its paw.
As a contraction: It's cold outside.
Commas have a number of uses. The following are three common uses.
1. They can provide a pause when reading and can also change the meaning of a sentence.
Let's eat Grandpa.
Let's eat, Grandpa.
2. Commas separate items in a list. A point to remember is to always use 'and' to separate the last two items on the list.
I enjoy long walks on the beach, bike riding, dogs, cooking and movies.
3. Commas mark the less important parts of a sentence and are a way of inserting detail or interest.
The boat, which was moored near the beach, had a dog on board.
The sentence still makes sense if which was moored near the beach is removed.
Follow these tips to help you use apostrophes and commas correctly in sentences.
Do you have questions about using punctuation correctly? Let me know below.