Grammar. Punctuation. Spelling. What feelings emote when you see those words? For me, th0se words sound like nails on a chalkboard, or the feeling you get when you have to put on wet socks. However, the NewsU course Cleaning Your Copy makes brushing up on your grammar and punctuation and anything necessary for “cleaning your copy” in writing a lot easier and fun.
What I learned from Cleaning Your Copy was when to use dashes and semicolons. These are the punctuation marks that I especially struggle with. Dashes denote an abrupt change in thought or an emphatic pause. When dashes are used in pairs, the rest of the sentence must be grammatically correct without the material between the dashes. For example: “They trudged wearily along the trail– dozens had died on it, and they knew it– until they made it to camp utterly exhausted” versus “They trudged wearily along the trail until they made it to camp utterly exhausted.” Semicolons are used to indicate a greater separation of thought and information than a comma can indicate. What surprised me was the duel use of colons. I thought colons were only used to list things, but they can actually be used between two clauses (independent thoughts).
It is amazing how punctuations can change the meaning of a sentence. The correct punctuation is very important to prove professionalism as a writer. I would love to really just continue brushing up on my grammar and punctuation skills. I would definitely recommended the Cleaning Your Copy course to future writers or those who are going to utilize writing anywhere in their careers.