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Punctuation is an important aspect of the written English language; as a result, it gives us meaning and understanding of words in sentences. It allows us to understand tones and pauses in our writing, or understand the communicative aspect intended in writing. Therefore, this essay is going to briefly discuss the importance of punctuation and sentence structure.

A semicolon is commonly used to link two independent clauses together, that are closely related; as a result, the two independent clauses are given an equal position in the sentence as a whole. This is useful when joining two or more ideas in a sentence. An equally significant aspect of semicolons is how it is commonly misused. It is important to never use a semicolon with a conjunction; this will not make sense. Here is an example of a semicolon when used correctly. ‘Some people drive cars; others ride horses’.

Full stops indicate the end of a sentence. It is also called the period. This is the most simple punctuation mark to use; it is also the most commonly used. Abbreviations typically do not require a full stop, such as the NHS or FBI. Here is an example of when a full stop is used correctly. ‘I speak German and French.

While a full stop ends a sentence, a comma indicates a minor break; thus, it is also used to separate items in a list. Commas also separate the elements in a series; typically three or more things. Commas are commonly misused when it is placed between a subject and its verb, for example. ‘Working hard and believing in yourself is essential for progression in life’. There is no reason to place a comma after ‘yourself’, despite readers automatically taking a pause. Here is an example of when a comma is used correctly in a sentence. ‘Have you eaten, Sarah?’.

Hyphens are used to join words together; as a result, notifying the reader that two or more elements in a sentence are closely related. Another, significant factor concerning hyphens is how they are used interchangeably with dashes; which are longer. Here is an example of when a hyphen is used correctly. ‘She bought me a new phone, with state-of-the-art facial recognition’.

The functions of an apostrophe are simple and consist of two functions; they indicate possession and letters used to subtract a contraction. It is most commonly used to show someone’s ownership. Here is an example of an apostrophe used correctly. ‘That is Lucy’s car!’.

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