Punctuation in English

A lot of the punctuation is the same for various languages, but a lot of the uses my be different. Even if you feel like you have a grasp on English punctuation, you might want to skim through this to make sure. I’m going to cover the main punctuation marks which serve a grammatical purpose.

Period . – This is used at the end of a sentence. It’s also used if you are abbreviating a word.
My name is Yvonne.
Mr. Crawford is my husband. (Please note in the UK, they do not put a period after the abbreviation of personal titles.)

Comma ,– This is used when you have 2 or more adjectives, when listing, separating a city and state, writing dates, breaking into a sentence with information that adds information, after an introductionary phrase, separating 2 independent clauses (with a conjunction like ‘and’), when you are addressing someone, or when writing dialog.
The big, brown cat is happy.
I have apples, oranges and grapes in my fruit salad.
I live in Charleston, South Carolina.
Today’s date is March 22, 2010.
Brian Crawford, my husband, is Canadian.
During my nap, I was startled by the doorbell.
My daughter slipped and fell, but she was okay.

Nicole, can you take out the trash?
Lucy said, “That’s my car, not yours!”

Question mark ? – This is used at the end of a sentence which is interrogative in nature.
Will you please bring me a glass of water?

Quotation marks “” – This is used when quoting an article/person or when writing dialog.
According to a book by Powers, life is “what you make it.”
Susan said, “Hello, how are you?”

Semi-colon ; – This is used to separate 2 related but completely independent clauses (without a conjunction like ‘and’). It’s used before a conjunctive adverb like however. Also, it is used in a list where commas are already there.
I went to the supermarket; I bought some milk.
I’m very poor; however, I just bought a new BMW. (make sure to put a comma after ‘however’)
I have visited many cities: London, England; Dublin, Ireland; and Paris, France.

Colon : – This is used to introduce a list. It should be used after a complete sentence only.
I have lots of children: Amelia, Lachlan and Callum.

Exclamation mark (exclamation point) ! – This is used at the end of a sentence and shows that the writer is excited or wants to add emphasis to a sentence.
I just won 100 dollars!

Apostrophe (single quotation marks) ‘ – This is used to show possession, make contractions, or writing a quotation within a quotation
This is Sally’s shirt that I am wearing.
Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.
Peter said, “Donny said, ‘How about those Cowboys?'”

Hyphen – – This is used for adding a prefix, compound words and with numbers.
He did a re-creation of the last huge party (You can use it if it might be unclear if you did not use it.) (re-creation, not recreation.)
I want to opt-out of the party.

Dash – – This is used when you want to make a interruption in your sentence.
I was really surprised – as you assumed when you saw my face – that my mother gave me a new car.

Personal Titles in English

There are 4 personal titles that are used a lot in the English language. Mr. Mrs. Miss and Ms. In the UK, you do not use periods after the abbreviations of personal titles, but in the USA and Canada you do use periods.

You use titles with people who are older than you or who you respect. Depending on your work environment you may or may not call your boss by their personal title and last name. At my job we call everyone by their first names, even the CEO of the company. However, if you work at a school, even the teachers call each other using their personal titles because they want the students to do the same.

Here in the South, they also have a new use of personal titles. My children’s friends call me, “Ms. Yvonne.” In many other states (like Texas) they would call me, “Mrs. Crawford.” So, some of this is regional.

Mr. is used for married and unmarried males. Mr. is followed by the last name of the person. In mailings you can either put both the first and last name or just the last name depending on how formal you would like to be. For young boys you can use “Master,” but this is not the norm in the USA.
Mr. Brian Crawford (on a formal letter)
Mr. Crawford (in conversation)

Miss is used for young unmarried women.
Miss Amelia Crabtree (on a formal letter)
Miss Crabtree (in conversation)

Mrs. is used for married women or women who are old enough to be married.
Mrs. Yvonne Crawford (on a formal letter)
Mrs. Crawford (in conversation)

Ms. is a newer title for women. It’s used for when you aren’t quite sure whether or not the person is married or not, so you can just say Ms.
Ms. Culpepper
Ms. Alexandra Culpepper
Ms. Yvonne (Like stated above, in the South, kids will call their friend’s parents by their first name but add Ms. in front of it.)

Different ways to say you are sad in English

There are lots of different ways to say you are sad in English. Here are a few of the more common ways to say it. As always, leave a comment if you have any questions!

I’m sad.
I’m disappointed.
I’m tired. – some people say they are tired, when they are really sad.
I’m bummed. – slang
I’m down.
I’m down in the dumps.
I’m miserable. (This is pretty sad.)
I’m unhappy.
I’m blue.
I’m gloomy.
I’m glum.
I’m depressed. (This is very sad.)
I’m troubled.
I’m tearful.
I’m disheartened.

It’s vs. Its

Many native English speakers, as well as English learners, have trouble knowing when to use which – it’s or its.

“It’s” means “it has” or “it is”
It’s been a great day! (It has)
It’s been good talking to you. (It has)
It’s 11:26pm. (It is)
It’s Saturday, March 20th. (It is)
It’s wonderful to see you. (It is)

“Its” is the possessive of it.
The Honda is known for its reliability.
I ate some gumbo yesterday. I found its taste to be quite good!

Basically, if you are not sure which to use, see if you can substitute “it is” or “it has” in place of “it’s/its” and if it works, then it should be “it’s”. If it doesn’t, then it should be “its”.

Being Sick

Here are some expressions to use when you aren’t feeling so well. It’s important to learn these in case you are traveling abroad and you need someone to help you.

I’m under the weather.
I’m feeling run down.
I’m sick. or I’m ill.
I’m coming down with something.
I caught a cold.
I have a cold. or I have a virus. or I have the flu. (Notice you use ‘the’ with flu and ‘a’ with cold and virus.)
I have a headache.
My head is throbbing.
I have a stomach ache.
I’m nauseated.
I just vomited. or I just threw up.
I can’t keep any food down.
I have a runny nose.
My nose is running.
I’m congested. or I’m stopped up.
I have fever. or I have a temperature.
My temperature is 104 degrees F.
I have chills.
I have aches and pains.
I’m dizzy.
I feel faint.

Please leave me a comment if you have any questions about any of these expressions.

Lie or Lay???

Do you know what the difference is between ‘lie’ and ‘lay’?

Lie means “to recline”. It’s an intransitive verb which means it does not take a direct object.

I am lying on the bed.

Lay means “to put” or “to place”. It’s a transitive verb which means it takes a direct object.

I am laying the shirt on the table.

There is one tricky part, the past tense of ‘lie’ is ‘lay’. Also, the past tense of ‘lay’ is ‘laid’. So, you have to be careful which you use.

Also, remember that ‘lie’ also has another meaning and that meaning is “to not tell the truth”.

I’m pooped – ways to say I’m Tired in English

It’s important to expand you vocabulary and learn new ways to say thing same thing. Instead of saying, “I’m tired” all of the time when you feel tired try:

I’m beat.
I’m exhausted.
I’m pooped.
I’m worn out.
I’m done.
I’m sleepy.
I’m spent.
I’m flat out tired.
I’m dead on my feet.
I’m running on empty.
I’m running on fumes.
I’m fatigued.
I’m tired out.
I’m weary.
I’m dog tired.
I’m tired to the bone.
I’m knackered.
I’m dragging.