Give Your Writing a Punctuation Tune-up

Have anything planned for September 24? Why not celebrate the 5th anniversary of National Punctuation Day®!

It’s no secret that in these days of e-mail and texting, proper punctuation has really taken a hit. Even though written communication has become decidedly casual in recent years, careless punctuation mistakes in business communications may actually affect your profitability and productivity.

So that your writing remains powerful, clear, and communicates your intended message, we’ve compiled this list of common punctuation mistakes:

1.  Using a comma to join two sentences or independent clauses.  The fix: use a semi-colon or comma plus a coordinating conjunction (and, but, yet)

2.  Run-on sentences. The fix: break into two (or more sentences) or use a semi-color to indicate two independent thoughts.

3. Using it’s for its. The fix: if you mean “it is,” use it’s. If you want to indicate possession, use “its.”

4.  Adding apostrophes create plurals, i.e., CD’s, IRA’s. The fix:  just add an “s” without the apostrophe.

5. Periods or commas outside quotation marks. The fix: simply type the period/comma before you add the closing quotation mark.

Misplaced or misused punctuation can mean the difference between a good impression and a bad one, or a lucrative business deal and one that your client rejects as unclear. Go 4 it!