Punctuation is used to create sense, clarity and stress in sentences.

You use punctuation marks to structure and organise your writing. The most common of these are the period (or full stop in British English), the comma, the exclamation mark, the question mark, the colon and semi-colon, the quote, the apostrophe, the hyphen and dash, and parentheses and brackets. Capital letters are also used to help us organise meaning and to structure the sense of our writing.

You can quickly see why punctuation is important if you try and read this sentence which has no punctuation at all:

perhaps you don’t always need to use commas periods colons etc to make sentences clear when i am in a hurry tired cold lazy or angry i sometimes leave out punctuation marks grammar is stupid i can write without it and don’t need it my uncle Harry once said he was not very clever and i never understood a word he wrote to me i think ill learn some punctuation not too much enough to write to Uncle Harry he needs some help

Now let’s see if punctuating it makes a difference!

Perhaps you don’t always need to use commas, periods, colons etc. to make sentences clear. When I am in a hurry, tired, cold, lazy, or angry I sometimes leave out punctuation marks.

 

“Grammar is stupid! I can write without it and don’t need it.” my uncle Harry once said. He was not very clever and I never understood a word he wrote to me. I think I’ll learn some punctuation – not too much, enough to write to Uncle Harry. He needs some help!

Use of punctuation marks makes your English clearer and better organised.

Capitalization Rules

Rules of Capitalization

  1. Capitalize the first word of a quoted sentence.
  2. Capitalize a proper noun.
  3. Capitalize a person’s title when it precedes the name. Do not capitalize when the title is acting as a description following the name.
  4. Capitalize the person’s title when it follows the name on the address or signature line.
  5. Capitalize the titles of high-ranking government officials when used before their names. Do not capitalize the civil title if it is used instead of the name.
  6. Capitalize any title when used as a direct address.
  7. Capitalize points of the compass only when they refer to specific regions.
  8. Always capitalize the first and last words of titles of publications regardless of their parts of speech. Capitalize other words within titles, including the short verb forms Is, Are, and Be.
  9. Capitalize federal or state when used as part of an official agency name or in government documents where these terms represent an official name. If they are being used as general terms, you may use lowercase letters.
  10. Do not capitalize names of seasons.
  11. Capitalize the first word of a salutation and the first word of a complimentary close.
  12. Capitalize words derived from proper nouns.
  13. Capitalize the names of specific course titles.
  14. After a sentence ending with a colon, do not capitalize the first word if it begins a list.
  15. Do not capitalize when only one sentence follows a sentence ending with a colon.
  16. Capitalize when two or more sentences follow a sentence ending with a colon.

Grammar

Grammar is a subject too complex to be summarized here.  Poor grammar may do nothing worse than irritating your readers.  Sometimes, however, poor grammar can make your writing confusing or impossible to understand.

Be careful with spelling, and especially with homonyms (words which sound the same but are spelled differently).  You may have correctly spelled a word that you didn’t mean to use.  “Joe is a little horse” is a very different statement from “Joe is a little hoarse.”

Incorrect punctuation can change the meaning of a sentence.  “My brother’s money” belongs to my brother, but “my brothers’ money” belongs to my brothers.  A misplaced comma can turn one modifier into two different modifiers.  “He arrived for his appointment, late yesterday afternoon,” suggests that he arrived on time for an appointment in the late afternoon.  “He arrived for his appointment late, yesterday afternoon,” suggests that he was late for his appointment.

Failure to understand the parts of speech can also cause confusion.  If, instead of “I feel bad,” you write, “I feel badly,” it sounds as if you are not very good at feeling.

The Writing Process

Writing is a skill that is acquired through conscious and persistent effort: it is not an instinctive skill that we are born with. There are several reasons why writing is more complex than speaking. One reason is that it is separate from any form of physical interaction: the writing stage can take place at a totally different time and place from the reading stage. This is why writers must try to perceive their text from the readers point of view and write in a way that is clear and relevant to their audience. Another reason is that writing is thought-active. The simple fact that you want to write about a topic triggers thought processes that give the topic a particular shape out of a range of alternatives. To use a computing metaphor, your mind reconfigures the topic in a way that allows it to be downloaded in a written form. This then influences the direction your text will take. If this direction is unsatisfactory, you have to think about the topic differently, reshaping and reorienting it. The changes that take place from thinking to writing explain why many novice writers complain that their final result is not what they initially wanted to express, or that what they mean comes out differently on the written page.

The Importance of Communication Skills

Communicating the intended message clearly and effectively is an important skill, which is often a key factor in deciding the chances of success. Communication is the process of transforming information from one entity to another; but communication skills are a set of important attributes that highlight one’s personality. You need to focus diligently on your communication skills to convey your ideas better. Communication skills can be broadly categorized as follows:

  1. Written Communication Irrespective of whether it is a verbal or a written communication, it needs to be precise and lucid. As a thumb rule, avoid using jargons just for the sake of adding weight to your message, which cannot be understood by the readers. Short sentences pack more power as they are easier to read and understand, but they should be correct, clear, consistent, and concrete. Maintain a certain degree of subtlety in your approach. Simply using words from the dictionary doesn’t mean that you have a good vocabulary. You cannot expect people to run through a dictionary every time they come across some new word. Rather, if you provide enough choices and variety in your language that would make the reading and listening experience of your audience more comfortable and enjoyable. Without this, writing might be a big turnoff to most readers.
  2. Verbal Communication While communicating verbally, you need to speak out your point succinctly and clearly, paying careful attention to your pitch. Modulate your tone within the context of the topic. Ensure that you do not ramble or recite your points, as it may seem very unimpressive, which might also project you as unintelligent. You should be well aware and thorough about the subject you are speaking on and should be able to justify your points with logic, facts and figures. Make sure that you are speaking effortlessly, preferably at a slow pace and not just uttering what you have memorized.
  3. Listening Skills – Good communicators know the importance of listening. They will tell you that listening is more important than even speaking. While in a conversation, if you do not listen carefully to what others are speaking, it will appear as if you are simply trying to put your point of view only and trying to dominate others, which might project you as very arrogant. This at times may prove a pitfall for you. Resist distractions and encourage the speaker. A good listener has the power to create a good audience, so try to maximize your audience and pay regard to what they say.

Improving your communication skills is an art that comes with regular practice. As proven, practice makes a man perfect, start with a noble intention and keep practicing dedicatedly till you reach perfection. No matter how intelligent you are, your communication skill is the only attribute that will help you to convince your target audience. So, make wise use of your words skillfully and make sure to establish your point politely.

Remember, the art of communication is the language of leadership.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Writing Research Papers

Every researcher wants to submit an excellent research paper at the termination of their research. Your piece of writing is the only medium that conveys your hard work to the readers. Whether you write an abstract, a research paper, research proposals or thesis, your ways of presenting the data and your writing style all together create a holistic picture of you. Owing to the utter significance of a research paper, here are some tips that can ease the complicated process of writing.

The following is a list of Do’s and Don’ts to remember as you begin to pen down your work:
The Do’s:

  1. Communicate your work clearly and precisely. Remember you are presenting a novel work done; you don’t have to write stories.
  2. Spotlight the ideas and methodologies involved. Discuss specific reasons to justify your research.
  3. Your innovative ideas and methodologies can be followed by future researchers, therefore, doubly verify the accuracy and correctness of the data you present.
  4. Your presented materials should give a thorough conception of the topic and all its aspects.
  5. Refer diverse sources of research for trustworthy and most up-to-date information.
  6. Do scrutinize your research stuff and information for reliability and present it with ample analysis and logic to show how it conveys and supports your research.
  7. Provide solid evidences and sufficient supporting arguments to reinforce your findings.
  8. Fill your paper with scientific terminologies. Write your paper with only enough detail about the research work.
  9. Maintain a track of the bibliography and references. Sort data by source or mark your notes so as to remember where individual facts came from.
  10. Proof read the paper several times. Do not hesitate to take help of your friends/peers/colleagues/professional editors in proof reading and fine tuning the paper.

And the Don’ts:

  1. Do not misrepresent yourself. Be honest to the readers.
  2. Don’t include anything that doesn’t answer the questions. It won’t lead to any new conclusion about your work.
  3. Don’t lengthen your paper unnecessarily. Relevant and to the point data is sufficient to frame your work and make your point.
  4. Don’t reveal incomplete or absurd reasons for doing the research.
  5. Don’t exceed the recommended word limits. This gives an impression that you don’t know how to follow guidelines, manage within limitations or systematize your findings.
  6. Don’t make too many generalizations. A paper full of overviews gives an impression that you do not have anything to say.
  7. Don’t write in a vacuum. Make sure that each of your findings support the cause.
  8. Don’t forget to reference any supporting material or related research done by other prominent researchers’ it augments and complements the research paper.
  9. Don’t cite Wikipedia.  Rather find an absolutely reliable source for your citations.
  10. Don’t plagiarize and always proof read your work before submission.

Luck

Luck= (1) an unknown and unpredictable phenomenon that brings good fortune or adversity: We met each other out of pure luck. Bad luck caused his downfall.

Good fortune; be lucky, be in luck, (have) a stroke/bit of luck (NOT have luck): Were lucky the coach didn’t go without us. You’re in luck, there are still a few tickets left.

When luck is used with have, it is always modified: I’ve had enough bad luck to last me a lifetime.

Luck is an uncountable noun: He’s had a lot of bad luck recently. Meeting the right partner is just a matter of luck.