Capital letters are required on named nouns (Proper Nouns). They could be a place, person or company name.

E.g. Manchester United is the name of the football club.

England is the name of a country.


Full stops go at the end of a statement. It is usually an unemotive sentence.


Full stops end a sentence. A sentence can be short (eg. “Trouble.”) or long, but the full stop lets the reader know they should pause and move on to a new concept.


Question marks end a question. Clues that the sentence is a question include ‘how,’ ‘why’, ‘when’, ‘where’ and ‘who’. A ‘?’ is required at the end.

E.g. ‘How are you feeling today?’


Exclamation marks end an emotive statement. They usually show expression of thought. A ‘!’ is required at the end.

E.g. ‘Come here, now!’ shouted Mum.


1)Separate extra information: ‘The house, tall and forbidding, stands at the end of the lonely country lane’

2)Separate items in a list: ‘I went to the shop and bought bananas, eggs and a pint of milk.

3)Parts of a sentence: ‘Although the bus was late, he still got to school on time’

4)Direct speech: “Come with us,’ she whispered quietly, “you’re safe now.”

5)Using commas for pace (to make your reader pause. ‘If you dare to walk up the path, you will find the crumbling front door, tempting you in’

6)Using commas to separate adjectives. ‘The dark, gloomy hallway with yellowing, peeling wallpaper…’


Semi colons separate two closely related clauses and long items in a list.

I loved the latest Twilight film; the special effects are great.

Look at how this sentence could be two separate sentences. Remove the full stop, take out the capital letter and place in the semi-colon.

The empty house was full of disused furniture; flowery peeling wallpaper; creaking filthy floorboards and dark memories.

Look at how the list is long. Each item has more than one word in it, so it needs a semi-colon.


Colons are used to …

1) Introduce a list

My favourite three foods are: fish, chicken and eggs.

2) For emphasis:

If I had to pick one thing to eat for ever, the choice would be easy: steak.


Why use a dash?

  1. To indicate an abrupt stop or a change in tone

“I have two pounds in my—goodness, I think I left my bag at home!”

  1. To insert a revised thought.

“I would ask—or demand—that you pay your bill immediately.”

  1. To emphasise a pause.

“His face turned bright red when he walked through the wrong door—and interrupted the meeting.”

NB. Brackets are more for factual content


•Omission: ‘we are’ to ‘we’re’

You remove the letter and replace it with the apostrophe. Other examples include: ‘couldn’t’, formed from ‘could’ and ‘not’ and ‘isn’t’, formed by ‘is’ and ‘not’.


-‘Ben + book’ to ‘Ben’s book’

-‘James + book’ to ‘James’ book’

-‘Boys + toilet’ to ‘Boys’ toilet’

Apostrophes can be complicated. Place the apostrophe after the owner and add ‘s’. However, if the name ends in ‘s’ already, you do not need to add another.

If the owner is plural, add ‘s’ and then add the apostrophe. Another example is ‘girls’ toilets.


In English, it is vital you understand who is completing the action.

I was

He was

She was

They were

We were

You were

It really makes a difference to which form of the verb you add afterwards.


There are many tenses in English but the important ones are past, present and future. When writing, you must ensure that you use the correct tense throughout. Decide beforehand which tense you wish to write in.