Writing academically

Punctuation Guide



Full Stop .

At the end of a sentence | He left home to study at university.

To signify an abbreviation | Etc.  e.g. et al.



Comma ,

To mark a pause in a long sentence, such as where you would take a breath when speaking. | He explained to all his tutors that he couldn’t attend lectures on a regular basis, but little could be done to accommodate him.

To separate items in a list. | He had problems with punctuation, referencing, time-management and writing effectively.

After words like however, nevertheless and surprisingly. | However, the Academic Skills Learning Zone proved very helpful.

To signify ‘extra’, information is being given | His wife, who he had met on holiday in Italy, had been married twice.  

After words like states, argues and says. | As Todd (1998) argues, education is the key.



Question Mark ?

At the end of a sentence that asks a question. | What can be done?



Colon :

To introduce a list. | Students are expected to: Attend lectures, write in an academic style, meet deadlines and study independently.

Semi-Colon ;

To introduce the second half of a sentence which expands the first half | At the end of the day you are responsible for your work; that means no one else can take the blame if you fail.



Apostrophe '

To show something belongs to someone | The student’s notes (one student) - The students’ notes (more than one student) - The children’s toys (plural that doesn’t end in s)



Double Quotation Marks "

To show you are quoting someone’s words. | As Baker (2012) states, “learning is fun”.

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