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Hi, welcome back. In this video, I'm going to talk about
the importance of checking your text for punctuation. Remembering where to put all the commas, semicolons, and colons may seem like something that's not very important. But sloppy punctuation can
confuse the reader, and actually destroy an otherwise good text. Sloppy punctuation can also
cause misunderstanding. The sentence,
"the king who said he was in love with Mrs. Simpson had to abdicate",
means that there's a group of kings. And one of the kings, the one who was in
love with Mrs. Simpson, had to abdicate. But, if we add commas to the sentence, "the
king, who said he was in love with Mrs. Simpson, had to abdicate". It means that there was no group of kings. There was only one king, and that king,
who also happened to be in love with Mrs. Simpson, had to abdicate. Whether we need commas in
this case depends entirely on what it is that we want to say. Incorrect punctuation can make us say
things that we don't really mean. The comma is the commonly used
mark of internal punctuation. There are many good sources where
the rules for using commas are explained. And it's a good idea to get
a hold of some of these and have them close by during the editing and
proofreading process. If English isn't your first language,
this is even more important because you can't use what you already
know from your own language and apply it to English and
think it's going to be all right. Comma use in connection with restrictive
and non-restrictive modifiers, which is the king in Mrs.
Simpson example I've just talked about, is one of the most common problems that
we teachers see in student essays. Another common problem is using a comma
in the place of a conjunction or in the place of a full stop. Both of these create what
we call a "comma splice". For example, "I decided to wear
my new shoes to the party, now I have blisters on my feet". A comma splice is fixed by adding a
conjunction such as and in this sentence. "I decided to wear my new shoes to the
party and now I have blisters on my feet." Another option is to slit the sentence
into two and add a full stop. "I decided to wear my
new shoes to the party. Now I have blisters on my feet." A third problem is using
only commas and full stops, but no other marks of punctuation at all. This makes the text look very monotonous
and not very easy or pleasant to read. So you should make an effort to learn how
to use at least semicolons, colons and the apostrophe correctly. Using only these three marks of
punctuation in addition to commas and full stops will improve the text
enormously and make it look more elegant. Authors of academic texts
are also expected to know how to use quotation marks correctly, as all direct quotations from other
people's work need to be inside of these. Sometimes we don't want to quote
everything that someone else has said but want to leave out something in the middle. And in those cases, it's useful to know how we can use three dots inside of square brackets to indicate this. [MUSIC]

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