10 punctuation tips for every writer

These tips will help you avoid run-on sentences, the overuse of exclamation points, and missing or misplaced commas.

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1. Introductory words, phrases and clauses are followed by a comma.

Incorrect: Moreover students are expected to read at least one English classic every six weeks.
Correct: Moreover, students are expected to read at least one English classic every six weeks.

Moreover is an introductory word and should be followed by a comma.

Incorrect: To become fluent readers students must read outside school hours.
Correct: To become fluent readers, students must read outside school hours.

“To become fluent readers” is an introductory infinitive phrase and should be followed by a comma.

Incorrect: If you want to write well you must be prepared to practice the craft.
Correct: If you want to write well, you must be prepared to practice the craft.

“If you want to write well” is an introductory clause and should be followed by a comma.

2. Nonessential information is set off with commas.

Incorrect: Joseph Conrad who was born in Poland began to learn English in his twenties.
Correct: Joseph Conrad, who was born in Poland, began to learn English in his twenties.

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