Writing is more important than ever these days. While many schools have forgotten the art of a well-written sentence, it could mean the difference between a yes or a no from a prospective college.
College essays must be written with poise, precision, and skill. Without understanding the basics of grammar, your message can be muddled, or, even worse, misheard!
Think about the comma. A comma can mean life or death:
“Let’s eat, Grandma”
“Let’s eat grandma!”
When writing your college essays (or any essays for that matter), punctuation can win you points just as easily as lose them for you. A colon is one of the most misused punctuation marks by students. When asked, many often say it is used before a list. Did you know that what comes before the colon must be able to stand alone as a sentence? A silly mistake regarding a colon can be a costly one in your college essay.
Changing up your punctuation throughout your essay demonstrates a certain skill that many students are not taught these days.
Many students shy away from varying their punctuation, but a well-placed semicolon can help you shine. Why should you use a semicolon? If your thought isn’t quite finished and you want people to continue reading, use a semicolon. The semicolon, however, must join two sentences that can stand alone; if they cannot stand alone, you cannot use one. This is one easy way to catch the eye of college admissions.
While punctuation may seem like something minor and a “silly” mistake, those mistakes add up and can end up costing you your dream school! When typing on a computer and proofreading from your screen, you may find you are reading what you think is there, not what is actually there. Print out your essays; view them with a fresh set of eyes.
Be a hero and proofread!
Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss
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