Search Content

Business English Tip of the Week

business-english-tipsEvery week we publish a business English tip concerning different aspects of business English. Topic areas include writing, speaking, listening, grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, exams as well as general English. Many tips include audio clips. To receive 'Business English Tip of the Week' by email, just subscribe to the newsletter from the link above. 

Three Common Punctuation Problems

09 Jun 2024

Punctuation is important because those little marks are like signs along a roadway, helping your reader navigate your document. When you put punctuation in the wrong place, it can change the intended meaning of your sentence and send your reader in the wrong direction.

Here are three common punctuation problems.

1) Putting a Comma Before 'and' in a Series (or Omitting the Comma)

The company makes pocket calculators, electronic keypads, and pocket translators.
or
The company makes pocket calculators, electronic keypads and pocket translators.
 

Which is correct? Both are. Whether you use the serial comma is entirely up to you. The key is to be consistent. Make a decision and stick to it throughout your document. Inconsistency is the grammar mistake.

2) Using Two Spaces after a Period or Colon

The two-space rule is a hold-over from the days when printing presses and typewriters used letters that were all the same width. Today, computers compensate for the varying widths of letters and only one space after end punctuation is the preference.

3) Putting a Comma Between the Subject and the Verb

incorrect I suggest that Billy, Pete and Mary, attend the conference.
 
In this sentence, a comma splits the clause's subject Billy, Peter and Mary, from the verb attend.
 
tick1 I suggest that Billy, Peter and Mary attend the conference.
 
A comma after Peter would also be OK in the above sentence.
 

How to give a speech in English

A Little vs Little & A Few vs Few

Telephone Answering Tips

General Grammar and Writing Tips

Making Polite Requests

Punctuation – The Dash (-) and Brackets ()

Participating in Business Meetings

Should vs Ought to vs Must vs Have to

Tips for Effective Negotiations

Include One Idea per Sentence

Explaining Procedures – Sequence words and phrases

Open Punctuation /Full Blocked Layout Style

Speaking English on the Telephone

Using Prepositions with Times & Dates

Improving Intonation in English

Increasing Specific Vocabulary

Telephone Courtesy

Using Question Tags

Leaving Telephone Messages

Menu