Writing: Perfecting your Punctuation

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Writing: Perfecting your Punctuation Revision

Perfecting your Punctuation


You need to be comfortable with using basic punctuation such as…

  • Capital letters
  • Full stops
  • Question marks
  • Exclamation marks
  • Commas
  • Apostrophes
  • Quotation marks
  • Colons

Make sure you are happy with the following topics before continuing:

Pass your level 2 English exam on the first attempt!

Understanding what topics you need to revise is essential. Our pre-assessment tests your knowledge on key topic areas and suggests what you need to revise.

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Starting a Sentence


Every sentence needs to start with a capital letter.

 

However, there are certain words which can have a capital letter in the middle of sentences.

This includes:

 

Names of people and places

Days of the week

Months of the year

The pronoun ‘I

 


 

 

For Example:

 

The swimming pool is closed in winter’

 

‘I would like to go to Spain in the summer’

 


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Ending a Sentence


Sentences can end with a:

Full stop – to show the sentence has ended

Exclamation mark – used to emphasise the sentence

Question mark used when asking a question.

 


 

For Example:

 

The boy was hungry. He ate his lunch.

The full stops show that both of the sentences are finished.

 

I saw that film. It was incredible!

The exclamation mark add more emphasis to show how ‘incredible’ the film was.

 

Where is it from?

The question mark shows that a question has been asked.

 


 

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Commas


Commas help to split up the information in a sentence so that it is easier to follow.

 

For Example:

I went to the shopping centre and bought a book, a coat and a bottle of water.

 

In the above sentence, notice the use of commas to split the items up.

A simple ‘and‘ will do before introducing the last item!

 


 

Commas can also join two sentences together with the use of a connective.

The most common connectives are ‘and’, ‘but’ and ‘so’.

 

For Example:

I wanted to go to the park, but it was raining.

 

The comma and connective are added to join the phrases together to make a bigger sentence.

 


 

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Notes:


Remember the perfect sentence length – don’t go over the top with commas!

Extra information can be contained within commas.

However, this extra information is not necessary for the sentence to make sense.

 


For Example:

The man, who was bald, complained to the manager.

 

If ‘who was bald’ is taken out, the sentence is still grammatical and makes perfect sense.

Apostrophes


Apostrophes are used in contractions to highlight missing letters.

 

For Example:

I don’t like mushrooms.

 

The apostrophe in ‘don’t’ is a placeholder for the missing letter ‘o’ for ‘not’.

 


Apostrophes are also used to express possession.

 

For Example:

It was Jack’s ball.

The apostrophe is used to show that the ball belonged to Jack.

 


For plurals, when the noun ends in a ‘s’, just add an apostrophe to the end of the word such as:

 

For Example:

No, it was Lucas’ ball.

Here, the apostrophe just means ‘it is’, referring to who possesses the ball.

 


 

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See what level 2 English topics you need support with.

The pre-assessment tests your skills on a number of topics that will come up in the actual exam. You then get feedback on what you need to revise. 

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Quotation Marks


Quotation marks go around direct speech.

 

For Example:

If you wanted to ask someone if they wanted to play football later, the example on the right is how you would ask.

 

This is in quotation marks because every word is recorded.


Things to Remember:

 

  • Speech which is inside quotation marks always starts with a capital letter.

 

  • If the sentence ends once the quoted speech is finished, remember to put either a full stop, an exclamation mark or a question mark within the last quotation mark.

 

  • If the sentence carries on after the the quoted speech is finished, remember to put a comma after the last quotation mark.

 


 

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Colons


Colons are used to introduce more information, normally when listing, or to explain the main sentence.

 

For Example:

 

We’ve got two options: we can either go out or stay at home.

 

 The use of the colon explains the two options available.

 

The information that comes after the colon is normally always a more specific explanation of the information that comes before the colon.

 


 

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Additional Resources

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Exam Tips Cheat Sheet

FS Level 2

Writing: Perfecting your Punctuation Worksheet and Example Questions

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Writing: Perfecting Your Punctuation L2

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Writing: Perfecting your Punctuation L1

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