Punctuation

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Learn how to use commas, apostrophes and capital letters appropriately and accurately, and avoid the most common punctuation mistakes made by other candidates.

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Everybody welcome back. In today’s lecture we’re going to focus on punctuation for the first time. So in this section we’ve been focussing purely on grammar but a grammatical range and accuracy that eilts BAD descriptor category it does specifically mention punctuation as one of the important elements of achieving a band 7 and above score. It needs to be fairly accurate and effective punctuation. So in this lecture I’m going to be talking to you about some of the most common mistakes that are made with regards to punctuation. And hopefully by the end of this lecture you may recognize a couple of the things that you might be doing wrong with your punctuation and you know how to correct those things. So let’s get started again. That typical question why is this important. Why is punctuation important. A punctuation is more important than you might realize with punctuation. We can help the reader to understand how a particular sentence should be read and we can also help to clarify meaning. Now this is more important. As I said then you might realize because without punctuation or if we use incorrect punctuation. Serious problems can arise. Have a look at these three pictures to see what I mean. Compare the two sentences. Let’s eat granpa vs. Let’s see. Grandpa Of course you want the second sentence there. You really don’t want to be eating granpa so that karma before you mentioned someone’s name. That’s what that’s for. I like cooking my family and my pets. I really hope not in this case. We needed commas after cooking and my family. Was we writing a list in that place. Another two commas are essential and in this case apostrophe usage and spelling all wrong your dinner vs. your dinner one leaves you nourished the other leaves you dead. So as it says they’re correct grammar and correct punctuation saves lives. So three punctuation points that I want to talk about today. Firstly commas then apostrophe. Then capital letters. So firstly commas commas in English are notoriously difficult to use. I know a lot of people struggle with them. However there are some rules which make common usage simpler and easier to understand and apply for essay writing task to essays. The following fall rules are going to be the most relevant to us. Use a comma after a dependent clause that starts a sentence. Let’s have a look at what that looks like. To avoid overpopulation in cities the countryside must be developed so the dependent clause here is to avoid overpopulation in cities by dependent clause. We just mean that to avoid overpopulation in cities cannot exist on its own. It’s dependent on another part of the sentence. It can exist by itself it wouldn’t make sense. However notice that if we swap the sentence around then we no longer need the comma. The countryside must be developed to avoid overpopulation in cities that way round. There would be no car so you use a comma after a dependent clause that starts a sentence. Use a comma before any coordinate in conjunction that links two independent clauses. By coordinating conjunction. We’re talking about words like and but because yet and things like that so the government must give doctors a higher salary karma and they must also provide quality facilities so you can see the two independent clauses here. The government must give doctors a higher salary. That’s an independent clause can exist on its own and they must also provide quality facilities. That’s an independent clause. It can survive on its own. So if you’re combining two independent clauses with a coordinate in conjunction like and make sure you use a comma before that coordinate in conjunction. This is probably the least important rule. A lot of people miss this rule and it doesn’t really affect the sentence but it really can help to improve the fluency of your writing. Use commas to separate items in a list. This is probably the most common and easy to apply use of the comma. Teachers have to prepare classes karma Mark homework comma and attend many meetings. Notice that there are two commas here rather than one. We’re going to talk about this in a moment. Let’s have a look at the fourth use. Use a comma after introductory cohesive devices. So this is for expressions like for example to begin with. Finally as a consequence make sure that you do not use a comma after expressions like there is no doubt at all. This is because these do not need a comma. So to return to that third point the final comma in the sentence with the list. Teachers have to prepare classes Mark homework and attend many meetings. The final comma there is called an Oxford comma. It is an optional addition that it can help to avoid confusion at times. So you don’t have to have that second comma but it can really really help. So a lot of the academics use it. Lucky you though. So move on from the commas and think about apostrophes. Now there are two main instances where apostrophes are commonly used as possessives such as Mary’s pen. Mary owns the Penates Mary’s pen and contractions Mary’s here. Mary is here. So where were contracting a subject and an auxiliary verb together to create one word. However we must not use contractions in essay writing because it’s very informal so we will only focus on the former usage of apostrophes here which is possessives. So how do we use apostrophes with possessives. And one of the common mistakes that people make well for a singular now. Nice and easy. You just add an apostrophe Plus S and then you have formed the possessive. It is the government’s responsibility government apostrophe S.. Nice and simple. For singular and plural nouns which end in s only use an apostrophe not another s. So let’s have a look at some examples. Employee happiness is the boss’s responsibility. Notice here that we’re not choosing to add another s on the end of boss just the apostrophe is enough. And the behaviour of children is their parents responsibility. Same case here. No extra s. You have the s so schist apostrophe and then you move on to the noun for irregular plural nouns. Add an apostrophe Plus S at the end of the plural noun to form a possessive. So what does that look like. Children’s. So you’ve got an irregular plural noun here child not to child but to children and so in this case we do want the apostrophe plus S.. Children’s backgrounds determine their success not children’s apostrophe and Nowhere’s backgrounds. Finally do not use an apostrophe to pluralize a regular noun. We won’t use apostrophes when we’re trying to pluralized things only when we’re trying to create possessives so the world contains many different culture apostrophe S.. No the world contains many different cultures. Just an S. No apostrophe. Finally let’s talk about using capital letters. Again another area where a lot of people make mistakes but generally capital letters are always used at the beginning of a sentence and when referring to what a cooled proper nouns for example geographical places names institutions etc.. Now the latter of these usages the proper nouns tends to cause the most difficulty. Let’s see what your ability is like here. Where would you place capital letters in these sentences. Welcome to Oxford University. Many people go to Oxford to see the university there. It is the government’s responsibility. It is the responsibility of the UK government. Now before you answer this question I really want you to think about whether each noun is a proper noun or if it’s just a general noun. Okay so have a go. See if you can work out which where the capital letters go and continue the video. When you’re ready hopefully you have something that looks like this. Of course the beginning of the sentences always have capital letters. But notice the rest. Welcome to Oxford University. You can even hear it in the way that it’s said. This is a proper noun. It’s a natural place it’s an institution. Welcome to Oxford University. Capitalizing both of those nouns there. Look at the second sentence. Many people go to Oxford. Yes Oxford because it’s a geographical place to see the university there. The university is not capitalized because we are not talking about an institution. If we wanted to talk about it in terms of the institution we’d need to give it its full name which is Oxford University and then we would capitalize that next sentence. It is the government’s responsibility again capitalizing the first letter but we’re not capitalizing governments because we haven’t given it the full name. But if you contrast that with the final sentence it is the responsibility of the UK government you’ve got that nice full sounding institution. And because of that we’re going to capitalize the geeing government as well of course as the UK. Finally let’s look at this altogether. I’m going to give you a paragraph now and in the paragraph there will be 11 punctuation areas. Can you find them all. So here’s the paragraph. Now I want you to read this paragraph then pause the video. Try to find as many errors as you can. As I said there are 11 punctuation errors altogether. Then when you think you found a more Pressplay and we’ll see if you’ve got them right. OK let’s have a look then. One two three four five six seven eight nine 10 and 11. Okay. So hopefully you’ve got the same one. We want to firstly remove a comma. We want to add a comma. We want to remove an apostrophe. We want to turn an upper case letter into a lowercase letter then remove an apostrophe then add a comma then capitalize the T then add a comma after problem then use a lower case G and government then remove the comma after this then add an apostrophe after people and before s. If you got all those right you should have a paragraph which looks like this. And if you did so fantastic all of those rules that we were talking about before have been absorbed and applied to this paragraph. If you struggle with that a bit I would suggest going back to the beginning of the video checking it out again and maybe doing a little bit more research and practice with punctuation. Either way I hope this lecture has been helpful as always and I will see you in the next one.

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