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5 Most Common Punctuation Errors and How to Avoid Them

Did you know that punctuation errors can ruin your credibility as a writer and also change the meaning of your words?

Imagine submitting a cover letter for your dream job, and you have a lot of punctuation and grammar mistakes. The recruiter will automatically discard your application.

This is because punctuation mistakes make a writer look unprofessional, as though they did not bother to proofread their work. Here are the most common punctuation errors to be careful of.

1. It’s and Its

This is one of the most embarrassing punctuation errors. If you are unsure which word to use, you should substitute it’s with “it is” or “it has.” Remember that apostrophes are also used to show possession.

Therefore, you should avoid using non-essential apostrophes in words where they are not needed. For example, “Fifty dollar’s off, it is all yours’.” This is an incorrect sentence.

To show the possessive form for a singular noun, you should add an apostrophe.

2. Quotation Marks

Many writers have a horrible habit of using quotation marks even if there are no quotes. You may find yourself using it to bring your reader’s focus to a particular phrase for more emphasis.

This is not the correct practice of using quotation marks. Whether you want to use single or double quotation marks, you should only use them for quotes. 

3. Too Many Commas

This is one of the most notorious grammar mistakes. Writers always have a habit of using too many commas to break up a long or short sentence. You should use commas to separate elements if you have a series of things.

Otherwise, you should use them to separate two independent clauses. However, instead of using too many commas, it is always best to shorten your sentences naturally.

Avoid having a sentence that is several lines with dozens of commas. Check out iWriter for more details about commas and how to use them correctly.

4. Exclamation Points

Unless you text your BFF, too many exclamation points can be overwhelming if you use them in other written phrases and sentences.

You should always make your writing seem elegant with full stops instead of exclamation points. 

5. Colons and Semicolons

You should avoid using a semicolon to replace a comma. If you want to indicate a pause, you should always use a period instead. Semicolons should only be used to separate two different thoughts that are related.

If you are a fan of using colons, only do so when you have a list of items in the sentence. 

Avoid Punctuation Errors Today

Now that you know the 5 most common punctuation errors, it is time to improve your writing. Remember to keep your sentences short and sweet.

Do not use too many commas and semicolons when you can end a sentence and begin a new one. Keep things professional by reducing exclamation points.

Only use quotation marks for quotes. If you enjoyed reading this grammar mistakes guide, check out some of our other posts for more information.

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