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  1.  Use full stops only at the end of a sentence. 

e.g. "River pollution has worsened in the city."

  1.  Begin sentences with a capital letter. 

e.g. "River pollution has worsened in the city."

  1.  Proper nouns also require capital letters.

e.g. "Masjid al Haraam", "Paris", "Abbas".

  1.   Use commas (,) to separate parts of a sentence. Additional information is enclosed within commas.

e.g. “The pollution of rivers, which is often caused by chemical waste and fertiliser, is causing enormous problems for oyster farmers, especially in NSW”.

A comma is used after most connectives (linking words), and usually before and after a connective in mid-sentence. Commas separate clauses in most conditional sentences.

e.g. Therefore, chemical use on farms should be more controlled. However, even if laws were passed tomorrow, most rivers would take years to recover”.

e.g. "Pollution has not improved in the larger river systems, whereas there have been remarkable improvements in the lower tributaries." 

  1.   Semi-colons (;) are used to separate subgroups within lists, but more often to join two independent clauses that are grammatically complete but closely related.

e.g. “Chemical waste from factories is still drained into river systems; it is hard to believe that this practice is still allowed by law in most States”.

  1. You may use a colon (:) if you need to draw attention to what is to follow.

e.g. "The environment is important for the following reasons:
a. fresh oxygen to breathe
b. fresh supply of drinking water
c. a natural habitat for native animals."

  1.  Use quotation marks ("") for quotes and titles. 

e.g. The man said to the audience, "Ladies and gentlemen, can I please have your attention?"

  1. Apostrophes (') show possession or contraction.

 e.g. Hussayn's martyrdom.

  1.  Do not use contractions in formal writing. Use the full form instead.

 e.g. “dont” (do not), “shouldnt” (should not), “cant” (cannot), “its” (it is) etc.

  1.  Do not use exclamation marks (!) in formal academic writing. Instead these can be used in informal letters and writing revealing forms of emotion. 

e.g. "It was great!"

  1.   Brackets ( ( ) ) are useful, especially for quoting statistics.

e.g. Victory News Magazine (VNM) is updating it's website.

Recommended ESL texts:

The following are learning series available from Elementary to Advanced
* Face2Face, Cambridge University Press.
* International Express, Oxford University Press.
* Cutting Edge, Longman.

The must have grammar reference book:
* Michael Swan's Practical English Usage, Oxford University Press (2002).

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Last Updated Friday, 29 January 2010