We tend to be extra cautious while writing. Certainly, we dont want to make any silly mistake and become a laughing stock even worse, we could lose marks in the exams! While writing something, you can make three kinds of mistakes: spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
So, if you can avoid these mistakes, youre guaranteed to have flawless writing skills! Wouldnt that be a great thing?
Now, you should know that spelling and grammar are three completely different aspects of the English language. Your sense of English grammar will not help your spelling skills; however, its essential for punctuation marks.
Also, English grammar is a vast concept and we could hardly cover many areas in an article like this. You should stick to traditional grammar books if you want to become good. Plus, itll take years to cover all of the grammatical aspects.
Rather, well help you with spelling and punctuation in this article. Especially, the spelling and punctuation rules that you need to know for spelling tests.
Lets jump in!
Spelling and Punctuation rules go hand in hand. For a spelling test, you need to have a good sense of punctuation. In fact, most spelling tests evaluate the knowledge of punctuation too.
Even the spelling tests in SpellQuiz take punctuation mistakes into account. For your spelling and punctuation exercises at school, you need to know where and when to put them in a sentence. Otherwise, youll lose marks!
Essentially, punctuation refers to the set of rules to put punctuation marks in a written sentence as a reading guideline. These rules help the readers to decide when to stop, pause, or change the tone.
In total, there are 14 different punctuation marks in English grammar. These are
You should note that only the first seven (full-stop to apostrophe on the list above) hold importance for a spelling, punctuation, and grammar test. We dont generally see quotation marks or brackets in a spelling and punctuation test.
Now, lets turn our attention to where should we use the punctuation marks
Full-stops (.) are the most common punctuation mark. We typically use it at the end of a declarative or an imperative sentence to show that the sentence has finished.
Apart from that, we also full-stops after an abbreviation, fractions, name initials, and time. These full-stops dont indicate the end of a sentence.
**Note: Sometimes, you need to use an exclamation mark at the end of an imperative sentence. Usually, the exclamation mark in an imperative sentence denotes urgency or seriousness.
We always put a question mark (?) at the end of an integrative sentence. This is the only rule for putting a question mark.
If you write an exclamatory sentence, you must use an exclamation mark. An exclamatory sentence is used to showcase strong emotion, such as excitement, happiness, sorrow, frustration, surprise, anger, etc.
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Commas (,) are perhaps the most common type of punctuation marks. Also, commas are the most abused and misused of all of them. The sheer number of rules for putting commas make things very confusing even native users struggle with this one!
So, lets pay attention!
While writing down a list with more than two elements, use commas to separate them. This is the easiest rule to remember for the commas.
**Note: Adding a comma before and in a list is optional.
Here, both sentences are correct.
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We often start sentences with linking words. And, you need to add a comma every time after those linking words.
**Note: Dont use a comma after these introductory phrases as they function as nouns in sentences
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If two (or more) independent clauses are separated by any of the seven coordinating conjunctions, put a comma before the conjunction. The seven conjunctions are and, or, but, for, nor, so, and yet. To remember them, you could use a rhyme,
And, or, but,
Lets take a look at some examples
**Note: You CANNOT use a comma without a coordinating conjunction to separate independent clauses. In such cases, youll have to use a semicolon.
Incorrect: We were out of orange juice, I went to the store to buy some.
Correct: We were out of orange juice, so I went to the store to buy some.
Correct: We were out of orange juice; I went to the store to buy some.
You should use a comma after an adverbial phrase at the beginning of a sentence. For shorter sentences, you can omit the comma, but it might leave a chance to misread the sentence. So, you should take it is a hard and fast rule to always be on the safer side.
You can add additional information to a complete sentence using two methods: interrupters or parenthetical elements. Now, you should remember that the removal of these two elements doesnt change the meaning of the sentence. But they can help you add emotional depth, emphasis, and clarification.
Also, if the interrupters or parenthetical elements are used in the middle, you need to put two commas before and after them.
**Note: You can also offer additional information using non-restrictive clauses. These non-restrictive clauses also offer non-essential information, and often, begin with which or who.
You already have some idea about the essential and non-essential phrases from the previous rule. This rule elaborates the concept even further.
If we use a phrase or a clause that is essential or necessary to express the complete meaning of a sentence, we refer to that phrase or clause as essential or restrictive.
On the other hand, if we can comprehend the complete meaning of a sentence without those phrases or clauses, we refer to them as non-essential or non-restrictive.
Now comes the rule
ALWAYS use commas for non-essentials and NEVER use commas for essentials.
Lets check out the examples
We use question tags to ask the readers to agree with our opinions regarding obvious statements. These tags come after an assertive sentence and are separated by a comma.
If you want to address someone by name, we need to put a comma before the name.
Ron, pick up the phone.
How are you, Ashley?
When writing date in the month-date-year format or day of the week and date format, separate them using commas. The same can be said about addresses.
**Note: Other date formats, like date-month-year, dont need any comma separation.
Separate an attribute tag (he said, she claimed) and a direct quote with a comma. Also, use a comma inside the quotation marks, instead of a full stop, if the quote sits before the attribute tag.
**Note: If the direct quote before an attribute tag ends with a question or exclamation mark, dont use a comma.
Yes, the long list of rules for commas is quite intimidating. But dont worry, the rest of the spelling and punctuation rules are pretty straightforward.
Think about colons (:) for example. Colons are typically used before a list. In this case, the colon is a substitute for which is or which are.
Sometimes, people use colons for quotations too. If you use colons for quotations, you dont need to put quotation marks.
Semicolons (;) also have limited use cases. You can use a semicolon to separate closely related independent clauses. In these cases, you should put the semicolon before the linking words.
Also, you can replace the and, or, but, because with a semicolon to shift from one thought to another without ending the sentences with a full-stop.
In this rule of spelling and punctuation exercises, well look into apostrophe ('). We use an apostrophe in only two scenarios.
First, an apostrophe indicates someones possession. But remember, we use the possession apostrophe only for people. You dont need to use an apostrophe for objects.
Second, we use apostrophe contractions that denote a missing letter.
As you can see, to have an impeccable sense of punctuation, you need to have a strong grammar sense. For example, types of sentences, clauses, phrases, and conjunctions are essential for punctuation.
Thats why its important to study all three elements of writing, spelling, punctuation, and grammar, at the same time. Also, your writing skills will improve a lot if you can work on your spelling and punctuation practices.
What are you waiting for? Start practicing with SpellQuiz Spelling Test to improve your spelling and punctuation at the same time.
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