National Punctuation Day is September 24!

“Comma” Down to the Party!

Did you know that September 24 is National Punctuation Day in the United States? Even if you hail from outside of the US, feel free to whip out your party hats and help us celebrate the ever faithful (and ever tricky) punctuation mark.

More than likely, you’ve come in contact with the more common guests of honor at least once before:

  • The exclamation point
  • The period
  • The apostrophe
  • The comma
  • The colon
  • The semicolon
  • The quotation marks
  • The parentheses
  • The hyphen
  • The dash

Even the best writers get mixed up on what to use and when from time to time; that’s why proofreading is so important! After all, we’ve all seen “punctuation fails” like the ones on the right. Mistakes like these can be funny, but they can also result in bad publicity, lost clients, or a decline in trust for your business.

So, in honor of National Punctuation Day, we’ve prepared a short quiz to test your punctuation knowledge. (Don’t peek at the answers!)

1. What are the punctuation marks between the words in the phrase “out-of-tune” called?

a. Hyphens
b. Dashes

2. An ellipsis is a series of three:

a. Hyphens
b. Periods

3. Which sentence shows an Oxford comma in use?

a. I enjoy cashews, peanut butter and fish.
b. I enjoy cashews, peanut butter, and fish.

4. Which sentence uses the correct punctuation?

a. My cat likes one thing: fish.
b. My cat likes one thing; fish.

5. Which is the correct way to use an apostrophe when a noun ends with an “s”?

a. This is the Jone’s soccer ball.
b. This is the Jones’ soccer ball.

6. Periods always belong inside quotation marks.

a. True
b. False

7. What is a comma splice?

a. When you join two complete sentences with a comma simply because they are related, for example “I went to the movies, I saw Jaws.”
b. When you use a comma where an apostrophe should go, for example “I went to Mike,s house yesterday.”

8. The question mark goes inside of the quotation marks when the quote is a question, for example: “Are you talking to me?”

a. True
b. False

Ready to tally your score?

Question 1: A
Question 2: B
Question 3: B
Question 4: A
Question 5: B
Question 6: A
Question 7: A
Question 8: A

OK, let’s see how you did!

7-8 Correct – Master of Punctuation

You should be very pleased with your grammar aptitude! Way to go! Even though you scored very high in our quiz, that doesn’t mean you don’t need a refresher from time to time. Keep up the great work!

4-6 Correct – Punctuation Apprentice

You have a pretty good handle on punctuation usage. Nice work! You may want to refresh yourself on the more advanced concepts by reviewing our previous blog posts on grammar rules.

Less Than 4 Correct – Punctuation Cadet

Don’t worry; we can help! Even though you may have struggled with our quiz, you can easily rise up in the ranks by reading some of our previous blog posts and training materials on grammar and punctuation.

We’d love to hear your results! Did you do better or worse than you thought you would on the quiz? What is your biggest punctuation obstacle? Share your punctuation advice with other authors that might be struggling in the comments section!

Do you need to brush up on your punctuation knowledge? No problem! Start out by getting a FREE download of our Top Punctuation Howlers guide here.

20 Comments »


1
Dee writes:

Thank you so much for some truly great information. I am writing a series of children’s book and I am struggling with this issue.

Comment provided September 23, 2014 at 10:06 AM

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2

Forgive me if I am wrong, but in your penultimate paragraph you write the following:

“We’d love to hear your results! Did you do better or worse than you thought you would on the quiz? What is your biggest punctuation obstacle? Share your punctuation advice with other authors that might be struggling in the comments section!”

And I guess my question to you is do you need an exclamation mark both at the end of the first sentence and at the end of the last sentence of this paragraph. Whatever about the merit of making the first sentence an exclamation, surely it’s incorrect to put an exclamation mark at the end of the last sentence?

But hey, I’m Irish and I’m writing from Ireland. Maybe in America it’s different. Is it?

Comment provided September 23, 2014 at 10:27 AM

[Reply]

Hi Robert –

There’s no set rule about how many exclamation marks you can use and when you should use them. Generally, you just use them when you want to communicate an excited (or urgent) tone. While you don’t want to overuse them, it is up to the author’s discretion :)

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3
Hung Pham writes:

Up to now, I still confuse using these. Using right punctuation is always a difficulty for big writers.

Writing by free style is so easy for writers, however, it is hardly to understand to readers.

Comment provided September 23, 2014 at 10:46 AM

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4
emmy writes:

I used to be terrific in English. Now, not so. Although I thought I had most correct I was 3 down. I commend you on teaching all of us budding writers what is correct. You also do it in a way that is not offensive.

The truth is, I am more than a little shocked over my inability to get all of these right the first round.

Comment provided September 23, 2014 at 11:13 AM

[Reply]

Don’t worry, Emmy! Some of the questions are on the tough side, but all of the content is covered in the Punctuation Howlers PDF that I link to in the post. I recommend downloading it and giving it a read! It’s a fun guide with amusing pictures and examples, so you’ll have fun with it.

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5

Thanks for advice

Comment provided September 23, 2014 at 1:47 PM

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6
StevetotheH writes:

How are you going to leave out the best of the best, the interrobang?!

Comment provided September 23, 2014 at 1:59 PM

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Touche, Steve! I love the interrobang! Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a lot of applications in normal writing ;)

[Reply]

7

Thank you for this article/quiz, I did not know there was an actual National Puntuation Day.
In regards to my score I got a 7 which I personally believe should be an 8.
The question I answered in opposite of what is the “correct” answer is question #6: Periods always belong inside quotation marks. True or False. I answered False because I believe it depends on what is actually being quoted. In some cases a quote could be a few words versus an entire sentence, thereby in my humble opinion the period would not be included in that instance, if my opinion is correct, I would have scored a Perfect 8!
Thank you again.

Comment provided September 23, 2014 at 8:21 PM

[Reply]

Hi Maria –

You are correct, if you’re quoting a few words and not a sentence that requires punctuation, then a period wouldn’t be necessary in the quotes. For example:

Today is a “bizarre holiday” that is fun to celebrate.

You would not need a period inside of the quotation marks in this example since it’s not a sentence. We should have been more clear on this. Consider your score an 8!

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8
Paddy writes:

Question 6, “Periods always belong inside quotation marks.”

This is true in America, but not necessarily true in the UK. Here, although it’s never wrong to put the period (we call it the “full stop”) inside the quotation marks, it is sometimes valid to put it outside.

Comment provided September 24, 2014 at 5:52 AM

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9

I scored all 8 answers correctly. I am happy, thank you for the quiz.

Comment provided September 25, 2014 at 11:55 PM

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Antonio,
You’re very welcome! Great job!

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10
Aaron writes:

Thanks a lot for the punctuation guide.

Comment provided September 28, 2014 at 12:39 PM

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11
Dipak Kumar writes:

Oh great, i was really unknown to this fact. Punctuation is the heart in forming a sentence. We all must pay special attention to this. Thanks for sharing. Nice click.

Comment provided September 30, 2014 at 7:38 AM

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12
Lizsara writes:

I love your approach. It was indeed very helpful for me, is indeed super helpful.
Thank you!

Comment provided October 9, 2014 at 1:03 AM

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13
Allerxme writes:

It’s a really superb information. Thanks for sharing..!!
Keep sharing useful information..!! I’m waiting for other information..!!

Comment provided October 9, 2014 at 1:04 AM

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14
danny fang writes:

so cool

Comment provided October 17, 2014 at 5:05 AM

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15

First of all I never hear about the of National Punctuation Day…!
Whatever, but I think like me the most people think about a coma and a period and maybe a apostrophe and a question mark when we talk about Punctuation…and I see there are 10 different signs..!
Is for me it is great information.

Comment provided October 29, 2014 at 1:29 AM

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