In my previous life, as a tortured teacher, I prided myself on knowing all the punctuation marks in the English language and when to use them.

I still do.

I notice too that apostrophe misuse seems to be on the rise – so I thought I’d get my chalk out and teach anyone listening a lesson on punctuation.

I was playing Trivial Pursuit on Christmas Day and I was a bit taken aback to find there was a punctuation mark I’d never heard of: a tittle.

Yes a tittle.

Do you know what one is? Without googling? If you do, you know more than me.

A tittle is the dot above an i or j – see there’s two tittles there (does that make them a tittle tattle?)

You learn something new about punctuation every day.

I also read an amusing tweet (well it amused me as a grammar and spelling pedant) about Star Wars – apparently the closing credits had an omission of a dot in an ellipsis – just tw0 (..) instead of the normal three …

And this ruined the fellow pedant’s enjoyment of the film!

So tittle and ellipsis covered now on to some real basics:

  1. The comma – used in lists, and to splice sentences, to give the reader a breather if you like.
  2. The full stop – ends a sentence obviously and makes the letter followng it a capital.
  3. The question mark – used for questions I think?
  4. The exclamation mark – used for ahem exclamations!
  5. The colon: introduces a list usually.
  6. The semi-colon – the seesaw punctuation mark – not as definite as a full stop or as weedy as a comma. It balances sentence clauses; neatly juxtaposing ideas.
  7. The hyphen – the quickest punctuation mark as it’s a dash.
  8. Inverted commas – used in “speech.”

And finally the apostrophe, which will occupy a whole blog post on its own as it is needs a longer lesson and I think your attention spans simply won’t cope.

So, watch Get Pro Copy’s blog posts for one on apostrophes – I won’t let you down.