For students whose native language is written in a different direction than English (top to bottom, right to left, etc), proper punctuation and spacing can be easy to overlook. Take a look at the following rules to help you know where your punctuation belongs and how the spaces nearby should be used.
Most punctuation* goes immediately after a letter or a number, and then is immediately followed by a space.
Today I am going skydiving. Tomorrow I will go bungee jumping.
(Note that there is a period [ . ] immediately after the "g" in skydiving, then a space [ ] before the "T" in Tomorrow.)
- I ate a fried cockroach, then I got sick.
(In this case there is a comma [ , ] immediately after the "h" in cockroach, then a space [ ] before the "t" in then.)
- We are having a sweater party; all the coolest grandmas will be there.
(In this case there is a semicolon [ ; ] immediately after the "y" in party, then a space [ ] before the "a" in all.)
Some students have problems remembering this rule, or often simply forget to check. This creates problems like the examples below, where the punctuation and the spacing are incorrect:
- I like camping in the woods .My wife enjoys fancy hotels.
(Note that there is a space [ ] after the "s" in woods and before the period [ . ]. Additionally, there is no space after the period and before the "M" in My.)
- Professor Wilson always plays video games online , but he never shares his screen name.
(In this case, there is a space [ ] both after the "e" in online and again after the comma [ , ]. This is too many spaces!)
- Professor Beck went snowboarding in Mammoth.She only fell down ten times.
(In this case, there are no spaces [ ] anywhere. The period [ . ] doesn't have any room to breathe!)
*These rules are most common with punctuation that lies at the "bottom" of the line. These punctuation marks include the period [ . ], the comma [ , ], the colon [ : ], and the semi-colon [ ; ].