I have had an interesting couple of weeks running, two workshops one on business Writing and one covering Report Writing. this was to intelligent and articulate students with first degrees. However it soon became clear how little grammar and punctuation was taught when they were in school. Or how little sunk in.
It was surprising how many of my participants admit to still struggling with punctuation and when to use it. Commas seem to cause some problems with one person confessing to adding them almost as an after thought so the reader could draw breath. If this is the case it tells me your sentences may be too long.
Commas can be used like brackets such as ‘Some teachers, who had been trained abroad, expected higher standards’. We use them in lists – ‘Mary, John and Peter worked together’ to separate nouns and between adjectives that come before a noun as in ‘John had a smart, new, black briefcase. And again when two nouns follow each other we ensure clarity using a comma as in ‘the manager, Peter Brown, presented the findings’.
This splendid piece of video is currently doing the rounds and I thought it an excellent reminder of the importance of punctuation even on an autocue.
Though I think a full-stop might have been more helpful for this poor newsreader.
If you want more help with punctuation or grammar we run fun, refresher workshops in house. contact me firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.