Welcome to Correct Punctuation.
This web site is intended as a brief guide to English punctuation. The site isn’t meant to be a comprehensive discussion of the history and future of punctuation marks or even a detailed study of correct punctuation as it’s used (and abused) today. It’s only here to offer a quick guide to the basics.
For more detailed information about English punctuation, how to use it and where it came from, take a look at the recommended books.
Please Note The webmaster regrets that she cannot answer specific punctuation questions via email. If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for on this site, please take a look at the recommended books.
Punctuation refers to the full stop, dash, semicolon, comma and every other little squiggle and flick that combine to make our sentences readable. Correct use of them is vital in making our writing understood.
Consider the following sentence supposedly said by Jesus Christ to a thief:
“I tell you this day you shall be with me in paradise”
if we put a comma after day, like so:
“I tell you this day, you shall be with me in paradise”
then Jesus is saying that the thief will join him in paradise at some unspecified time in the future. If we move the comma forward two words:
“I tell you, this day you shall be with me in paradise”
now Jesus is saying that the thief will join him on the same day in paradise! This is the perfect example to show how powerful a comma can be. So powerful, and so important, that some religions put the comma after you, others put it after day, according to their interpretation of when the thief will enter Heaven. Entire religious denominations argue about where to place a tiny little comma