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A guide to punctuation in research paper writing

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Your punctuation should be flawless in your research paper. That’s one area where it should be perfect! Punctuation is not ambiguous. It’s either right or it’s wrong. Perfecting your punctuation is essential and will earn you top marks allotted for that category of your research paper.

Poor punctuation is so irritating to some people that teachers will often allot 10% of the paper’s grade to punctuation alone. Even if it’s less than 10%, it’s still guaranteed marks as long as you get it right! It you’re really poor at punctuation and just can’t seem to remember the rules, please get the services of an expert to proof read your essay. It will be well worth the cost..

Punctuation guide to the most common errors

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Function of punctuation – helps the reader by showing breaks between sentences or parts of sentences. Before the fifth century BC when the Greeks introduced punctuation, there were no spaces between words. All that existed was capital letters. Imagine how difficult reading must have been!

Comma – separates items or phrases in the form of a list

Apostrophe – it shows the place of a missing letter in a worm. Also used to show possession

Dash – separates parts of a sentence. It is longer than a dash

Colon – placed before a list or a quote. It also separates hours and minutes when in numerical form. It can separate the parts of a mathematical ratio

Exclamation point – it is generally used when wanting to show emphasis or excitement

An elipsis – indicates a portion of the text has been removed intentionally

Period – declares the end of a sentence

Semicolon – forms a compound sentence by separating two independent clauses. In other words, the two independent clauses could be stand-alone sentences. They can also be used to separate items belonging to a series when commas are already being used.

Question mark – used to indicate that the sentence is a question that’s being asked.

Using punctuation properly helps the body of writing to become clearer and smoother when reading. It helps the reader to pause when necessary and for someone reading aloud, signals when to take a breath. Some of the more common errors in using punctuation include using an apostrophe when a word is plural (this is incorrect usage), and using too many or not enough commas in the sentences. Be sure you understand when to use a semicolon as opposed to a comma and this will greatly increase the clarity of your writing.

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