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The Semicolon and its Usage

The semicolon is a commonly misunderstood punctuation mark. It may be useful to consider the semicolon as something between a comma and a full stop; it both separates and links the clauses it falls between. Though there are varying opinions about the instances where a semicolon is required, the three usages that follow are widely … Read more

The Comma and its Usage

The comma is one of the most common and important punctuation marks in the English language. It is also one of the most commonly misused. It is not uncommon when asking someone why he or she has used a comma incorrectly to receive answers like ‘because it just looked like it needed one,’ or ‘I … Read more

Shortened Words and Phrases, and Symbols

Some writers may find the correct usage of shortened forms confusing. This does not need to be the case: Once they understand a few basic rules, they can easily use these correctly and consistently. In academic writing, we use three categories of shortened forms: shortened words, shortened phrases and symbols. Let’s take a look at each. Shortened … Read more

Apostrophes, Brackets, Parentheses and Ellipses

Apostrophes ’ Apostrophes are very handy indicators to use in sentences. They are used to indicate possession. Here are some examples: ‘John’s car was a different colour from my sister’s car.’ ‘I turned the corner to be confronted by my manager’s assistant.’ ‘The politician met his mother’s expectations but failed to meet his electors’ expectations.’ … Read more