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Grammar and Punctuation: A Guide to Proofreading

Do you HATE proofreading? Is your focus completely exhausted by the time you get to this point? You can almost hear the people talking as you read the same words for the umpteenth time, convinced there’s an error somewhere. It’s driving you MAD!

There’s a better way. Set it aside and step away. If you have time, come back to it the next day. A big part of knowing what to look for means you must have a strong foundation for grammar and punctuation. So if you’re DONE with spending hours spinning your wheels proofreading your transcripts, you’ve come to the right place.

Below are the building blocks for forming a strong grammar and punctuation foundation. This will save you hours of looking up information and falling down the rabbit hole that is punctuation of the English language.

The first step is conjunctions. There are three types of conjunctions, but for now we’ll just focus on the first:¬†coordinate conjunctions. There are two types of coordinate conjunctions:¬†simple and correlative.

Simple Coordinate

There are five simple coordinate conjunctions:

  • and
  • for*
  • but
  • nor
  • or

A simple coordinate conjunction links two or more grammatically equal elements. This just means the elements being connected have the same function.

Correlative Coordinate

There are four pairs of correlative coordinate conjunctions:

  • both/and
  • not only/but also
  • neither/nor
  • either/or

There are a few rules to point out when using these word pairs.

  • both/and

Unlike the other three pairs, this pair can’t be used to link independent sentences.

not only/but also

Also can be moved around the sentence or be taken out. If it is kept in the sentence and isn’t right next to but, it becomes an adverb and is no longer part of the conjunction.

When not only/but also connects independent sentences, the subject and verb are reversed in the first sentence.

  • neither/nor

When neither/nor connects two independent sentences, the subject and verb are reversed in both sentences.

It’s important to remember that the correlative conjunctions should always be immediately in front of the elements they link.

*For is mostly used as a preposition. As a conjunction, for can only link independent clauses. When used as a coordinate conjunction, for means “because,” which tends to sound too formal.