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Spellzone's Guide to Punctuation

Punctuation marks have a variety of functions which help make writing as clear as possible. Among other things they are used to indicate when sentences begin and end, when the reader should pause, and what part of the sentence is the most important.

While you might feel like using some punctuation marks comes instinctively, others may feel a mystery. In this article we'll look at the correct punctuation to use in specific situations.

Should you capitalise an abbreviation? Does it need an apostrophe? What about full stop after it? The appropriate punctuation mark will change depending on the type of abbreviation ñ click here to learn more.

Apostrophes are used either to indicate missing letters in contractions or to show that someone is in possession of something. Click here for ten tips for using apostrophes and here for some common apostrophe errors and how to fix them.

Brackets are used to add extra information to a sentence. Learn how to use them here.

Bullet Points
Bullet points are a type of list used to emphasise important information in a piece of writing. They are more visually attractive than a block of text and help draw the reader's eye to the key points the writer is trying to make. Click here to learn how to use them.

Capital Letters
While you can sometimes get away without using capital letters in informal writing (like emails or text messages), it's important to learn how to use them correctly for formal writing (like essays and business correspondence). Click here to learn more.

Colons have three main uses - learn about them here.

The main purpose of a comma is to clarify meaning by grouping together specific parts of the sentence. Each group within the sentence is separated by a comma which marks a slight break. Learn more here.

Direct Speech
When you are quoting people or writing dialogue, it's important you use the correct punctuation so that you don't accidentally end up confusing your reader. Learn how to format direct speech here.

Em dash
Em dashes are usually used in informal writing to add extra information to a sentence. Learn how to use them here.

Exclamation Mark
This punctuation mark is used to indicate that something is being exclaimed. Click here for tips on how to use exclamation marks.

Full Stop
A full stop is the most common way to end a sentence. Learn about its four main uses here.

Not to be confused with em dashes, hyphens are short dashes used to link words together. Click here to learn how to use them.

Question Mark
This punctuation mark is used at the end of a sentence that is a question. Read more about how to use question marks here.

A semicolon is used to mark a break that has more emphasis than a comma but is less final than a full stop. There are two common circumstances in which it's appropriate to use a semicolon - click here to learn about them.

Do you have any punctuation questions that we haven't covered? Let us know and we'll cover them in future blog posts.

Have a good week!

30 Nov 2018
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I have just finalised the progress of the year groups and am delighted to see that from December to June 53% of the 98 students using Spellzone have raised their standardised scores to 100 and above.

One of the students has put in a huge amount of effort in completing Spellzone at least 3 times a week since his arrival with us in January. Looking at his scores after the latest GL testing, his standardised score has risen from 99 to 131. This is a truly phenomenal result. I just wanted to share the best result I have ever seen.

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