Most editors will tell you that they continually see glaring punctuation errors that could easily be avoided. These mistakes can prove costly for students because they adversely affect the quality of their written work and lose them important marks when they really merit a much better grade. Irrespective of whether it is a standard essay or a high-level dissertation, good grammar and correct essay punctuation is the most effective way to improve the quality of an essay and get the best possible grades. Students will welcome this news, on top of which help is available. The following list sets out some of the most common essay punctuation mistakes as well as tips for correcting them.
While commas serve the purpose of creating pauses in lengthy sentences, there are times when their use is inappropriate. The most common error in this genre is placing a comma prior to the conjunction ‘and.’ In itself, the word naturally joins two portions of a sentence or phrase so it is rarely necessary to place a comma ahead of it. This is something of a fuzzy area because some experts think a comma is completely wrong while others believe it is acceptable. The best option is to avoid it if possible in your essay writing.
Helpful Tip: When you use the word ‘and,’ avoid putting a comma before it.
On the other hand, if you use the word ‘which,’ you should generally put a comma before it. Editors will tell you that this is one place where writers commonly neglect to use punctuation; this is something they find all the time during essay editing. The word: ‘which’ tends to be used where a sentence needs breaking up – often because the second portion of the sentence contains a different thought or idea. Where a sentence runs on, the writer should use the word ‘that.’ Because ‘which’ signals a new idea or thought, it is necessary to pause. Hence, a comma should be used.
Helpful Tip: Remember to insert a comma before the word ‘which,’ if you feel a natural pause is needed when you read or re-read a sentence.
A lot of students miss out on vital marks through the incorrect use of the apostrophe, which is a single mark (‘), and quotation marks, which are double marks (“ ”). If you want to learn how to write a good essay, it is important to know how to use quotation marks correctly. Try and remember this simple rule – use double quotation marks for speech or dialogue and singe quotation marks when citing from some source or other.
Helpful Tip: Use “ for speech and dialogue and ‘ when quoting from a source. Alternatively, if you find this distinction difficult, you could ask a professional essay writing service to help you write your essays.
Neglecting to place a punctuation mark at the end of speech is another hugely common error in college essay writing. Remember this simple rule: always use punctuation at the end of a speech mark.
Helpful Tip: Always use punctuation at the end of speech marks.
Always bear in mind that good grammar and correct punctuation are vital if you are to produce high-quality essays. Feel free to use these simple tips to ensure your written work is free of error so that you get the best possible marks. Most of the mistakes described above are easy to make but they can be corrected if you do a thorough essay check at the end.