Last updated 4/19/2016
Visual: Walden logo at bottom of screen along with notepad and pencil background.
Audio: Guitar music.
Visual: “Walden University Writing Center. Your writing, grammar, and APA experts” appears in the center of the screen. Background changes to another notebook on a table, with a person sitting behind it, and a bright orange box. “Engaging Writing Tool 3— Punctuation” text appears in the center of the screen in a orange box
Slide changes a mostly gray slide with a blue box in the center. In the blue box is the following:
“Punctuation: Commas, periods, colons and semicolons
Below are four green, small, boxes that read:
“Managers are responsible for accurate and effective communication: this includes telling employees about organizational changes.
Managers are responsible for accurate and effective communication, and this includes telling employees about organizational changes.
Managers, responsible for accurate and effective communication, must tell employees about organizational changes.
Communication from managers about organizational changes needs to have two characteristics; accuracy and effectiveness.”
Audio: Punctuation can be used, really, to just, again, give some difference in sentence structure and help you use those other two tools, the syntax and the sentence structure, and then still show different relationships between the ideas. So whether you use a semicolon or a period or a comma, they show different things.
So a semicolon is going to show two related ideas that are complete sentences. A comma is going to, you know, maybe separate items in a list or maybe separate, if it’s used with an and, maybe separate two complete sentences. If you have two commas, you’re making that phrase kind of like a “by the way” side note. So for example, the third one down here, we have, “Managers, responsible for accurate and effective communication, must tell employees about organizational changes.” That internal part—“responsible for accurate and effective communication”—that’s sort of like a side note, so it’s set off with those commas. And the last example uses a colon to kind of set off a list or an important or emphatic part of the sentence. These can definitely help you to vary the structure and to engage your reader in a different way.
I think you probably are familiar with, you know, the use of an exclamation point versus a period. If you get an e-mail from your boss that says, “Great job!” with an exclamation point, that makes you feel pretty good. If you get an e-mail from someone that just says, “Great job, period,” you don’t know whether they are enthusiastic or sarcastic…. it’s difficult to know, right. So punctuation makes a big difference in how you engage your readers.
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