How many of us can’t seem to use punctuation marks correctly? How many believe they won’t ever get it right?
Now, how many have passed their driver’s test?
Punctuation is a lot easier if you think of the different marks as different road signs. Of course, there are rules to go along with these signs, rules we ignore at our peril. On the other hand, sometimes we don’t always strictly follow the rules. (Take it from a “lead foot.”)
Periods [.]are like stop signs. They bring the reader to a complete stop.
Exclamation points [!] are like caution signs.
Question marks [?] are like crossroads signs.
Commas [,] are like yield signs.
Semicolons [;] and colons [:] are like four-way stops.
Parentheses [()] are like detour signs.
Dashes [–] are like lane shifts.
Okay, so you get the basic idea. It’s not a perfect system, but it’ a good way for me to remember proper punctuation.