Website Writing Guide

Punctuation

Basic punctuation rules

Below are the basic punctuation tips to improve the readability of your content:

  • Use a minimum of commas. If a sentence requires more than one or two commas, it is a sign to the writer that it may contain too many ideas or is too long.
  • Be careful not to discard commas that are essential to the meaning of the sentence.
    • Search engines, like Google, index Web pages not websites.
    • Search engines like Google, index Web pages not websites.
  • Avoid using semi-colons. Semi-colons are used when a sentence requires a stronger break than a comma. If you arrive at the point where a semi-colon is needed it may be time to split a sentence in two or break it into a list of dot points.
  • Use punctuation to help establish the style and tone of the content. Using apostrophes and shortened forms of words conveys a casual tone. For example, writing don't is friendlier and less bureaucratic than do not.
  • Be sure to hyphenate compound adjectives and verbs. These are two words which, when put together, form an adjective or verb.
    For example: end-to-end, over-use, across-government, left-hand, colour-blind, well-known.

 

Other topics in this section

Home Guide | Basic punctuation rules | Lists - bullets, numbers, hyperlinks | Capitals |
Hyphens
| Abbreviations | Web page addresses | Italics | Quotations | Numbers |
Dates and times
| Citing references |

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