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Polish Your Cover Letter with these 11 Punctuation Tips

Gallery of Best Cover LettersAfter working so hard to craft your cover letter, you might need to add a little polish, says David F. Noble, Ph.D., in his new book, Gallery of Best Cover Letters. Make sure you include punctuation in the correct places with these 11 tips.

  1. “Punctuate a compound sentence with a comma. A compound sentence is one that contains two main clauses joined by one of seven conjunctions.”
  2. “Be certain not to put a comma between compound verbs. When a sentence has two verbs joined by the conjunction “and,” these verbs are called compound verbs. Usually, they should not be separated by a comma before the conjunction.”
  3. “Avoid using ‘as well as’ for ‘and’ in a series.”
  4. “Put a comma after the year when it appears after the month. Similarly, put a comma after the state when it appears with the city.”
  5. “Put a comma after an opening dependent clause. A dependent clause is linked and related to the main clause by words such as who, that, when and if.”
  6. “Use semicolons when they are needed. Semicolons are used to separate two main clauses when the second clause starts with a conjunctive adverb such as however, moreover or therefore.”
  7. “Avoid putting a colon after a verb or preposition to introduce information. The reason is that the colon interrupts a continuing clause.”
  8. “Understand the use of colons. People often associate colons with semicolons because their names sound alike, but colons and semicolons have nothing to do with each other. Colons are the opposite of dashes. Dashes look backward, whereas colons usually look forward to information about to be delivered.”
  9. “Use slashes correctly. Information about slashes is sometimes hard to find because slash often is listed in grammar reference books under a different name. … At least know that one important meaning of a slash is ‘or.’”
  10. “Think twice about using ‘and/or.’ This stilted expression is commonly misunderstood to mean two alternatives, but it literally means three. … For better clarity, use the connectives ‘and’ or ‘or’ whenever possible.”
  11. “Use punctuation correctly with quotation marks. A common misconception is that commas and periods should be placed outside closing quotation marks, but the opposite is true. … And unlike commas and periods, colons and semicolons go outside double quotation marks.”

Source: JIST Publishing


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