Click on the Play button to hear a message from Anne.
Punctuation marks can be thought of like traffic signs. They act as warnings, signposts as to when to pause, and for how long.
- When to stop
- When to slow down
- When to take notice
So, punctuation, well placed, can aid the reader to pause at the correct places, and to read at an appropriate pace.
Also, if you follow this counting/breathing system while reading aloud, your message should be easily understood by your audience.
Notice that politicians don’t pause for breath at the end of a sentence – that’s because they don’t want any interruptions from their audience.
If you are not sure how to punctuate, keep it simple. Best to leave out a comma, rather than put it in the wrong place.
Choose a piece of your own writing, about 250 words.
- Read it aloud, applying the breathing guidance.
- Fix any punctuation that seems to need attention.
- Ask someone else to read the same piece, applying the guidance and listen to their delivery.
- Fix some more, if necessary.
Repeat for more sections of text …