The grammar and punctuation of sentences are inextricably linked in written language. The grammar of English determines the way we put words together to create meaningful sentences: spoken sentences and written sentences. Punctuation conveys grammatical structure and meaning in written language: a role normally carried out by the intonation patterns of the voice in spoken language.
Grammar tells us how to create meaningful messages out of strings of
Knowing the grammar of English means we are able to reorder the words
in this meaningless string into a meaningful sentence, like:
It also means that we know the sentence
is not quite right: that the verb 'are' is the wrong form of the verb to choose for this sentence.
Punctuation conveys grammatical information, so it is able to disambiguate
meaning in strings of words. Listen to the way the following sentences
are spoken and notice how the punctuation reflects the totally different
structures and meanings conveyed by the voice.
Given the importance of meaning in academic writing, the grammar and punctuation choices you make in your writing are critical. Punctuation can greatly alter the meaning of a sentence; therefore, it is useful to be aware of the grammar and punctuation errors that commonly occur in academic writing. Many of these errors are punctuation errors that create ungrammatical sentences; some of them are punctuation errors that create ambiguity or an unintended meaning; and a few of them are solely grammatical errors.
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