Here at Forever Endeavour, we believe everyone and anyone can write. We all have the ability to tap into our imagination, and with practice, can craft and create whole new worlds, characters and plots to plunge our readers into. We also know, however, that grammar can be a big deterrent for people to pursue their creative calling, and that’s why we’re here to help. Forever Grammar is a new series on Forever Endeavour which will iron out all of your grammar woes. It will ensure your writing is spick and span, to match the brilliant ideas you have, and boost your confidence. We will cover everything from the basics of punctuation to the common errors in spelling. If you have any questions, be sure to leave a comment, and we will always get back to you.
End of sentence punctuation
You need to punctuate the end of your sentence when you have made your point, before moving onto your next. There are 3 options to punctuate the end of your sentence, and each will set a different tone for what you are trying to say. These include a full stop (period), a question mark and an exclamation mark.
A full stop indicates the end of your sentence without adding any kind of emotion or intent. This is the most common type of end of sentence punctuation and one you will most likely use the most in your writing. The full stop should be used for statements, facts and commands. For example:
Walk along the road and turn right at the end.
There is a duck in the canal.
As indicted by the name, the question mark is used at the end of a question. Occasionally, you can use a question mark in prose to indicate surprise to another statement, or disbelief. For example:
Do you know how to get to the cinema from here?
You don’t know who Beyonce is?
An exclamation mark changes the tone of the sentence, by adding emotion such as excitement, anger and fear. Using an exclamation mark in speech can ensure you avoid clunky adjectives and adverbs, as well as add emphasis.
Shark! Get out the water now!
How dare you speak to me like that!
We would recommend thinking before you use an exclamation mark in the main body of your narrative, as this can sometimes look amateurish – think about what words you can use to emphasise, rather than punctuation. With this being said, if it matches your style or point of view, then they can be used throughout. Another word of warning with exclamation marks is the amount you use. Typically, one is enough as again, it can look unprofessional, however the rules can be bent for children’s fiction, for example, or again to match your style, point of view or genre.
The punctuation you use can add a whole new meaning to a sentence, for example if we take the statement ‘I’m getting a dog’.
I’m getting a dog! This shows excitement and anticipation for the action. It gives a positive, happy emotion.
I’m getting a dog? This shows confusion and as though the narrator is unsure of how or why this has happened.
There are various instances when you need to use capital letters in your writing.
Start of a sentence
After any end of sentence punctuation, the first word of the next sentence must have a capital letter. For example:
It was a sunny day. There were no clouds in the sky.
Names and titles
All names of people and places must start with a capital letter. If a person has a title in front of their name, this also must have a capital letter. For example:
Miss Claire Brookes adventured to Antarctica.
All books, films, programmes, plays and names of businesses/brands must also have a capital letter. For example:
I enjoyed reading The Testaments by Margaret Atwood, which was published by Penguin Random House .
When using the word ‘I’ to describe yourself, or in the first person in fiction, this must also be capitalised. This is the only personal pronoun that is written with a capital. For example:
My name is Mary and I like horses.
Dates and Addresses
All the days of the week and months of year need to start with a capital letter in your writing. If you wrote the date in full it would look like this:
Tuesday 11th November
Similarly to places needing names, when writing an address out, all details including the street name, city, county and postcode need to be capitalised, in the latter case, the whole thing should be written in capitals. For example:
21 Writing Lane
These basics in punctuation are vital to ensure your ideas come across in the right way, and your work looks professional and comprehensible. This is particularly important if you are sending it off to a literary agent or magazine. Let us know if you have any questions below, and we’ll see you for Part 2 very soon!