We’ve reached the end of the road of my writing series on punctuation. We’ve looked at:
• The Full Stop
• The Comma
• The Semi-Colon
• The Colon
• The Dash
• The Quotation, Exclamation and Question Marks
With those dramatic and useful punctuation marks behind us, it’s easy to forget that there are other punctuation marks that can be useful. Before this series hurries off into the sunset, let’s have a quick summary of the best of the rest:
The Ellipses: used to indicate a trailing off or the passage of time...overuse...of these three little dots...can leave your page looking...as if it’s suffered...an outbreak of measles…
The Hyphen: a connecting symbol for a double-barrelled word, the hyphen is not to be confused with the more vigorous dash.
The Brackets(Parentheses): like the double dash, brackets are used to provide the reader with extraneous information. Unlike the double dash, the effect of the brackets (as you’ll see) presents the information in a less formal manner, as if your reader is also your chum that you’re whispering a secret to.
Italics: an attractive way of emphasising a word or phrase for a particular reason, for example, to highlight a book title or to reflect inner monologue. Overuse can annoy the reader as their striking visual impact can dominate the text.
Section Breaks: On the one hand, a section break (usually shown as ### centred) is a useful transition indicator between points of view, time periods or change of settings and, in longer chapters, gives the reader a chance to rest. On the other hand, a section break gives the reader a convenient chance to put your book down. If a section break is necessary at the point, make sure you end it with a hook good enough to bring your reader eagerly back into the fold.
Recommended Reading: A plethora of books on grammar and punctuation rests on my bookshelves. Without their guidance, this series of writing tips on punctuation would not exist. The three books listed below were of particular use. From Lukeman’s New York pizzazz to Davidson’s restrained English phlegm, I found these the most useful in providing clarity and understanding of complex points of punctuation. I’d highly recommend you add them to your library.
Art of Punctuation by Noah Lukeman Click here to buy
Punctuation by Graham King Click here to buy
How to Punctuate by George Davidson Click here to buy