You should read this, too; it’s useful.

Today on Facebook, author Nat Russo shared a link to an infographic showing the uses of various punctuation marks, ranked in order of difficulty based on how many uses each mark has (and thus how difficult it is to learn all those uses, I suppose).  Unsurprisingly, the comma is listed in that infographic as the most difficult.  I don’t quite understand why (yes, commas have many uses, but they’re straightforward), but I have done enough proofreading of others’ writing to know that this is the punctuation mark that gives most people trouble.  (On the other hand, when reading an article about why Ann Coulter hates soccer, I saw some serious semicolon misuse.  Those are only for separating items in a list if some of the items themselves contain commas; otherwise, stick with commas.  *shakes head, mutters something about journalists*)

Anyway.  Infographic.  Uses of 15 punctuation marks.  Plus a link to a printable download of the infographic to hang over the desk for quick reference.  Good stuff for warding off the Red Pen of Doom.



About Thomas Weaver

I’m a writer and editor who got into professional editing almost by accident years ago when a friend from university needed someone to copyedit his screenplay about giant stompy robots (mecha). Having discovered that I greatly enjoy this kind of work, I’ve been putting my uncanny knack for grammar and punctuation, along with an eclectic mental collection of facts, to good use ever since as a Wielder of the Red Pen of Doom. I'm physically disabled, and for the past several years, I’ve lived with my smugly good-looking twin Paul, who writes military science fiction and refuses to talk about his military service because he can’t. Sometimes Paul and I collaborate on stories, and sometimes I just edit whatever he writes. It's worked out rather well so far. My list of non-writing-related jobs from the past includes librarian, art model, high school teacher, science lab gofer… Although I have no spouse or offspring to tell you about, I do have six cats. (The preferred term is "Insane Cat Gentleman.") I currently spend my time blogging, reading, editing, and fending off cats who like my desk better than my twin’s.
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2 Responses to You should read this, too; it’s useful.

  1. Alex Hurst says:

    I had an author who refused to use semicolons because he said everyone’s rules for them were always changing… so he used commas instead! It was a nightmare to edit, especially since he rejected all of the changes in the end, haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I HATE working with people like that. I do make it clear which parts of the feedback are my own opinions as a reader and what parts are the for-real, this-is-how-it-needs-to-be-done rules of grammar and punctuation and spelling. If I say, “I think this character’s dialogue would sound more natural if you used contractions sometimes,” hey, I’m not going to get upset if the writer disagrees. It’s even possible that the slightly awkward speech is a deliberate choice on the writer’s part because the character IS slightly awkward. But if I say, “You really DO have to use end punctuation of some sort on your sentences,” and THAT is also ignored — ‘lol u cant write so u want to tel me wat I have to do lol ur stoopid!!!!! lol!’ — I’m not going to attempt helping that writer again. (And yes, I have had people respond to my suggestions — which they ASKED for — in pretty much that way, bad spelling and all. This is why I no longer frequent peer review sites, even though I met Loyal Reader on one such site. It’s not worth the hassle.)


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