10 Common Punctuation Mistakes Everyone Should Avoid

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10 Common Punctuation Mistakes Everyone Should Avoid April 7, 2023

Writing quality content is a challenging task that requires excellent grammar knowledge, a vast vocabulary, and remarkable research skills. It’s not like writers wake up, open their laptops and start typing, and an impressive article is ready. Creating content that can impress the readers demands perfection from the writer to maintain quality throughout the article. 

The appropriate use of punctuation in writing is highly useful to enhance the readability of content and make it more engaging for the readers. You might have experienced that a single comma changes the meaning of the entire sentence. Good punctuation supports readers’ understanding and enables them to learn the essence of information smoothly. 

However, the wrong or inadequate use of punctuation can play a disastrous role in damaging the quality of the text. Using commas, periods, or semicolons often annoys the readers and drives them away from your articles, damaging your efforts. 

Hence, it is essential to check for punctuation mistakes before posting your content. Additionally, it will prevent your readers from becoming alienated.

In this blog post, we will discuss the 10 most common punctuation mistakes people usually make while writing content and how to avoid them. So, keep reading this blog post to learn about these punctuation errors.

Most Common Punctuation Mistakes

Whether you are writing a blog post, book, presentation, or any professionally written document, the appropriate use of punctuation marks will surely uplift the quality of your content. 

Below are a few of the most common punctuation mistakes and suggestions to avoid them effectively. 

1. No Use of Commas

We all used to write content just like speaking with friends or others. Therefore, lengthy sentences are quite common in a lengthy article. However, if your content is lengthy, it is essential to use commas to divide phrases properly. Missing commas will surely create run-on sentences that can disturb your readers.  


I went to his room yesterday but he wasn’t there. 


I went to his room yesterday, but he wasn’t there. 

A comma doesn’t need to be used only when you take a breath. There are many other instances where using a comma is essential, for example, after introductory clauses or words before the main clause.

Moreover, commas are also used to separate two, three, or more phrases or clauses. It is also advised to read the comma rules to learn about the correct use of commas in writing.

2. Excessive Use of Commas

Using commas often is equally injurious, just like forgetting to use them. The unnecessary use of commas can affect the flow of information in your content.

Many writers often make the mistake of adding too many commas to separate different phrases. However, ending the sentence and starting a new one is a better approach in this scenario.  


It was extremely hot yesterday, so I decided not to go outside, but my teacher called me, and then I had to go to his office, so it was a busy day.

Here, you can easily find out that this sentence is hard to read and quite confusing. Breaking the sentence into small sentences can increase its readability. 


It was extremely hot yesterday, so I decided not to go outside. But my teacher called me; I had to go to his office. So it was a busy day. 

3. Its Vs. It’s 

English is a tricky language where similar-looking words often have completely different meanings. Its and Its are quite similar but have different meanings. 

For example, “it’s” is a verb contraction for it is or has. Alternatively, “its” is a possessive pronoun used to refer to something with someone. Using them inaccurately is a common mistake many writers often make. 


It’s almost three, o’clock.               


It’s almost three o’clock. 

4. Commas in Compound Predicates

A compound predicate combines two verbs associated with the same subject. Many writers often confuse compound predicates with compound sentences, and therefore, they use commas in them. However, it is essential to know that compound predicates don’t need a comma like compound sentences. 


Jack refused to play soccer, but was interested in hockey.


Jack refused to play soccer but was interested in hockey.

5. Dash or Hyphen

The dash and hyphen seem like two similar lines (both are horizontal). But a dash is bigger than a hyphen and functions differently.  

Hyphens are used to combine two words to create a single idea, convert two words into an adjective, or mention compound numbers like thirty-four. 

On the other hand, a dash is used when a person has a different idea or thought. Instead of using many commas, or replacing a colon, using a dash is a better approach. 

The correct use of hyphens and dash is essential to avoid any errors.

Hyphen Example:

She was the writer of the post-war novel. 

Dash Example:

She was the writer of the post–World War II novel.

6. Use Apostrophes to Form the Plural of a Noun

Apostrophes are mainly used to show possession and to indicate contractions and errors. However, you cannot use apostrophes to form the plural of nouns.


My brother’s go swimming every Sunday.


My brothers go swimming every Sunday. 

7. Overusing Quotation Marks 

Many writers often have a habit of using quotation marks every time they want to emphasize any point or word; that is completely an inappropriate approach.

Instead of using quotation marks repeatedly to highlight a word, it is suggested to make it in Italic or Bold. 


Our seafood is the ‘best’ in town


Our seafood is the ‘best’ in town

8. Unnecessary Exclamation Points

Using exclamation points at the end of each phrase or sentence may lose its basic purpose. Writing your content in an engaging tone by reducing exclamation points is a better way to enhance its quality. Therefore, it is advised to use exclamation points wisely and only emphasize any crucial point.

9. Semicolon or Colon

Using semicolons instead of the colon is another common punctuation mistake most writers make. Many prefer using a semicolon to replace a comma to specify a pause. 

Instead, it’s better to use a period instead of making a mistake. Moreover, semicolons should be used to separate two related but separate thoughts. Similarly, a colon is used when you list items in a phrase or sentence.


I have visited different cities: Berkeley, California; Detroit, Michigan; and Miami, Florida.

In the above example, the colons are used to introduce the cities. Similarly, semicolons are used to separate each city and state from the next city and state.

10. Capitalizing Too Many Words

Are you one of those writers who prefer capitalizing words to make them prominent? It is important to learn that only some words can be capitalized. You can only capitalize: 

  • The first word of any phrase or sentence.
  • The letter that comes at the start of a proper noun, for instance, name, day of the week, month, or holiday. 
  • Most words in a title.

Moreover, you can also read our detailed article on capitalization rules to gain a better understanding of the rules and use them effectively.

Final Words:

Crafting a unique and flawless article is a difficult task, especially for those who need a firm grip on grammar. However, good punctuation is inevitable to enhance the readability of your content. This brings clarity to your writing and helps you maintain the flow of information. The above information would have helped you learn the most common punctuation mistakes. Additionally, the suggestions we shared above will help to avoid these mistakes and create content that is appealing, easy to understand, and flawless.