Get to grips with English grammar and punctuation

Is your grammar knowledge in a grave state? Do you find punctuation perplexing? Can you use correct contractions? Does the possessive apostrophe give you grief?

Before I go any further, do you know that there are fourteen punctuation marks commonly used in English grammar? Try to list them then check your answers at the end.

The misuse (or sometimes complete omission) of punctuation generally results in a sentence with a completely different meaning to that intended.

For instance, take the title of one of my favourite non-fiction books: Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss. It suggests a panda eats a meal, shoots someone and then leaves the room. Take the comma away and, of course, a panda eats a diet of shoots and leaves. This book is described as intended for ‘people who love punctuation and get upset about it’. Whether this describes you or not, it’s amusing and definitely a worthy addition to any bookshelf.


Another book that illuminates the catastrophic effect a misplaced comma can have is Karina Law’s recent release: Let’s Eat Grandma. Here the omission of one little comma is all it takes to spell disaster for an elderly female relative. This humorous, illustrated book is described as ‘a lifesaving guide to grammar and punctuation’, and is perfect for readers aged 9 and over.


Finally, if contractions leave you confused (are you guilty of using ‘your’ where you should use ‘you’re’?), have a read of   ‘Know Your Shit or Know You’re Shit’  by Joanne Adams. She’ll set you straight with her grammar do’s and don’ts. But pay attention or you’ll fail the quiz she sets at the end of the book.

Here’s to improving the nation’s grammar and punctuation!

Love from INeedStuff.

Ps. If you attempted to list those 14 punctuation marks they are: period (or full stop), comma, semicolon, colon, question mark, exclamation mark, dash, hyphen, brackets [], parentheses (), braces {}, ellipsis (these are three dots … ), quotation mark and apostrophe. How did you do?

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