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This vidcast provides a quick overview of several common elements of punctuation, including commas and semi-colons. Punctuation is not just a matter of correctness; it also contributes to meaning by helping readers understand how pieces of information within a sentence relate to one another. The accompanying handouts discuss in further detail how punctuation contributes to meaning and emphasis in sentences and share strategies for taming comma usage. 

Note:  Closed-captioning and a full  transcript  are available for this vidcast. 


The Meaning of Punctuation (PDF)

Proper punctuation plays an important role in well-constructed sentences, be it a dash to add emphasis to an idea or a semi-colon to signal the closeness of two independent thoughts. This handout explains the purpose and use of the semi-colon, colon, dash, and hyphen, as well as offers suggestions to practice proper punctuation. 

Taming Commas (PDF)

The comma is a common punctuation mark that occupies an important place in well-constructed sentences. This handout outlines the proper use of commas and explains the role of the commas in connecting such things as coordinating conjunctions, independent and dependent clauses.


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  1. What Is the Purdue OWL?

    Purdue OWL is an acronym for Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab. Purdue OWL offers a variety of writing resources to the public for free. The online lab contains resources for many different styles of writing, from academic papers to jo...

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    In recent years, semicolon tattoos have become increasingly popular. The semicolon tattoo is a small, simple design that consists of a semicolon symbol (;) inked onto the skin. While it may seem like just another trendy tattoo, the semicolo...

  3. What Are Some Simple Examples of Report Writing?

    Depending on what style is used to write the report, a variety of samples can be found online to assist the writing process. The Purdue OWL gives extensive information about writing in MLA or APA style.

  4. Commas vs. Semicolons in Compound Sentences

    Semicolon (;). Use a semicolon when you link two independent clauses with no connecting words. For example: I am going home; I intend to stay there. It rained

  5. Punctuation—Semicolons, Colons, and Parentheses

    Colons (:) are used at the beginning of lists of several or more items, or as a substitute for “it is, “they are,” or similar expressions:.

  6. Exercise : Commas vs. Semicolons

    Each of the following sentences needs either a comma or a semicolon. Put in the necessary punctuation. 1. Many companies make sugar-

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  8. Brief Overview of Punctuation

    Use a semicolon to join two independent clauses when the second clause restates the first or when the two clauses are of equal emphasis. Road construction in

  9. Purdue OWL: The Semicolon (Parts 1, 2, and 3)

    This vidcast is the full-length version of the three-part semicolon series. For more information on semicolons, please visit these resources

  10. Punctuation

    This vidcast provides a quick overview of several common elements of punctuation, including commas and semi-colons. Punctuation is not just a matter of

  11. Purdue OWL: 90-Second Semicolon Part 1

    This video contains information about semicolon use. Please see the OWL's semicolon resource at this link:

  12. Purdue OWL

    You can also use a semicolon when you join two independent clauses together with one of the following conjunctive adverbs (adverbs that join

  13. Semicolon and Colon Handout

    Further reference: The Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL): http://

  14. How to use Semicolons in Academic Writing

    • https://www.grammarly.com/blog/semicolon/. Page 3. More Resources. • https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/punctuation/independent_and_dependent_clauses.