Analyze the function of three types of punctuation

The goal of this activity is that you review punctuation as a set of “signals” that support the meaning of your sentences and paragraphs. We’ll use The Punctuation Guide (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. to study three punctuation marks that may be new to you–the em dash, the colon, and the semicolon.

If you’re familiar with another punctuation guide, for example, one of Diana Hacker’s classic texts or the Tongue & Quill USAF, please feel free to use it rather than The Punctuation Guide. Former students have recommended a variety of online guides, for example, (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. There are many others–find one that you like and can use in the future.

Please see our course calendar for due dates and our grading rubric for criteria for success.  Here’s a Plain Language Step 4  sample layout Preview the documentfor your main post. 

A five-step process that you may find useful:

  • Step 1: Review rules for use of:
    • the em dash [ ] Please note that the length of this dash matches the length of the letter m. Type the em dash with two keyboard hyphens or use an Insert Symbol menu.
    • the colon [ : ]
    • the semicolon [ ; ]
  • Step 2: Find effective samples of these three kinds of punctuation in your personal reading of newspapers or news websites, novels, magazines, blogs, etc.. (but not in punctuation textbooks).
  • Step 3: Analyze one effective use of each kind of punctuation. (See the sample layout linkied above.)
  • Step 4: Copy and paste your analysis into a text box in this discussion. 
    • Please note that italics are available to distinguish the titles/names of “long” works–websites, books, newspapers, magazines, blogs, etc.
    • Use quotation marks around titles/names of “short” works such as articles within websites, chapters within books, and articles within newspapers, magazines, and blogs, etc. 

If after participating in our conversation about punctuation you feel that you’d like to use an online editing tool, here’s a website that describes seven good ones: (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.