Grammar usage and Mechanics of writing

Some of the aspects of grammar in which many people tend to commit mistakes are dealt below.


The use of capitals makes a written message easy to read and understand. Generally, capitals are used in the following cases:

1) The first word of a sentence, an expression and a quoted sentence.
2) The first word of each item in a list.
3) For words that are part of a complete propernoun
4) Titles that precede a proper name.
5) Personified words.
Example: MA, BA.
6) Only the first word in the complimentary close of a letter
Examples: Sincerely yours
7) Exact titles of courses
Example: Cost Accounting
8) Capitalize each line in a poem.

Using Punctuation Marks:

The sole purpose of punctuation is to make the meaning clear to the reader. It helps the reader in understanding the message easily and clearly. Omitting punctuation marks can cause ambiguity and sometimes leads to a completely different meaning.

Quotation Marks or inverted commas:

Quotation Marks are used to enclose the exact words of a speaker, or a quotation; as Mr Rao said, the stores manager is 30 minutes late. If a quotation occurs within a quotation, it is marked by single inverted commas; as, he said, Ramesh’s exact words were ‘The facts lead to some other conclusions and not what we were told by Thomas’.


Comma represents the shortest pause and denotes a close connection it should be used in the following situations.

a) To separate two words or figures that might otherwise be misunderstood. Example – February 8, 1979. Instead of hundreds, thousands turned up in the function
b) It should be placed after every item in a series except the last one. Example – a jug, glasses, cups, kettle, plates and spoons were kept on the table.
c) To punctuate certain conventional expressions. Example – it must, however, be accepted that he was not guilty. We know, of course, that he will win the election next month.
d) Commas should be used when an abbreviation follows the name of a person or an organization. Example – Sunder, MA.
e) To mark off an absolute construction. Examples – The work having been completed, everyone relaxed.
f) Use a comma after a surname when a person’s last name is written first. Example – Einstein, Albert
g) To separate titles, chapters and page numbers in a document, book or journal references.
h) To separate geographical names, dates, and other elements in address. Example – His house is in Ranigunj, Secunderabad. He will meet you on Thursday, November 9, 1993. Deliver the study material to Shri A K Srivastav, 44 Banjara Hills, Hyderabad – 500001.
i) To mark off a word when repeated for the emphasis. Example – Study, study so that you may come out in flying colors.
j) To separate a direct quotation following an introductory clause. Example – Ramnan said, This problem should be solved today.
k) To set the question tag from the main clause. Example – He will write the article won’t he?
l) A comma is generally not placed before the word preceded by and.
m) To mark off several adjectives occurring before a noun.
n) Example – A short, formal, well written, summary.


The semi-colon represents a pause of greater importance than that shown by the comma. It is used:

1) To separate a series of loosely related clauses; as,
Example – health means happiness; illness means misery.
2) To separate the clause of compound sentence, when they contain a comma as,
Example – Sardar Patel was a brave, large hearted man; and we all honored him.


The colon marks a more complete pause than that expressed by the semicolon. It is used (often with a dash after it).

1) To introduce a quotation; as,
Example – Shakespeare says:- Frailty, thy name is woman.

2) Before enumeration, examples, etc; as
Example – The principal parts of a verb in English are:- the present tense, the past tense, and the past participle

3) To indicate certain conventional constructions
Example – Sub title of a book
– Introduction to Business: A contemporary view
– Citation to a journal
– Journal of English literature 7: 362-368
– Proportions
– 6 : 4 : 1
– Bibliographical details
– Allahabad: Gita Press 1988.

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