Accurate punctuation makes your meaning clear to the reader, and is essential to good writing. The Academic Skills team do not teach English language skills, but this libguide offers hints and tips to help you to feel more confident in this area.
1. Don't be afraid of the rules. If you're not confident in this area you can certainly improve. The main purpose of punctuation is to ensure that your sentences are clear and that your writing says what you want it to say. It is therefore worth taking the time to get it right.
2. There are many resources available to help you if you feel this is an area of your writing that needs improvement. See our factsheet on this topic for advice around the most commonly used punctuation marks, as well as the resources listed under the 'Online' and 'Books' sections.
3. Not sure if you need to improve? Working with new punctuation marks in order to enhance your academic work? Try a punctuation quiz from a credible source to check your understanding.
4. When checking the punctuation in your work, read your draft aloud at a steady speed (don't race). This should help you to identify any errors in your punctuation or sentence construction. For example, incomplete or overly long sentences are often more obvious when read aloud. You may also wish to use an online text read or other digital tools so that you can listen to your work.
5. You may find our Friendly guide to punctuation helpful. This was produced by a student on a project placement with Academic Skills, and can be found here.