4 Helpful Books that Explain Punctuation

Punctuation may be a pain to figure out and remember, but it’d be hard to read without it.

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We all know that punctuation is important. A common example is the difference between “Let’s eat Grandma” and “Let’s eat, Grandma.” But punctuation can be tricky to understand, and even trickier to use. Luckily, there are lots of helpful guides to make understanding it even a little easier.

The Best Punctuation Book, Period

'The best punctuation book, period' book cover by June Casagrande orange background with a white circle around the word period.

This book is helpful for writing in different styles, such as MLA, Chicago, and AP styles. Each style has its own rules for punctuation, and it can be quite difficult to remember all the rules (especially when it comes to commas or periods.) June Casagrande answers common questions about punctuation, from exclamation marks to apostrophes, including how the rules differ for academics, news, books, magazines, and other styles. In the second half of the book, there is an alphabetical master list that includes punctuated terms and explains more closely how they differ depending on the styles used.

Visual Guide to Grammar and Punctuation

'Visual Guide to Grammar and Punctuation' book cover by DK with various forms of punctuations, grammar and punctuation examples, a parrot, donkey, trumpet, and kite

This book is intended for children, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t useful for adults or anyone learning English, since children’s books tend to use simpler and clearer language. Not to mention, the pictures included in the examples are helpful for visual learners. This book covers everything from prepositions to pronouns to colons and other important punctuation. The lessons are repeated to help them stick better in readers’ minds, and they’re broken down in a way that’s easy to understand. This is a guide that one can easily refer to again and again for easier understanding.

How to Write for Class: A Student’s Guide to Grammar, Punctuation, and Style

'How to Write for Class: A Student's Guide to Grammar, Punctuation, and Style' book cover by Erica L. Meltzer with blue, white, and red background

This book is intended mostly for high school and college students, including the most important points they must know to write academic papers well. Unlike a lot of other punctuation and grammar books, this one teaches the logic behind the language rather than laying out a bunch of inconsistent rules to memorize. Examples pulled from real-life academic papers and other sources are included to guide readers to construct sentences that will improve their academic writing, rather than rely on simplified examples for complex problems. This includes examples from other guides Meltzer has written, but she goes into more detail in this book.

The Punctuation Handbook

'The Punctuation Handbook' by Joan I. Miller and Bruce J. Taylor book cover with a sticky note and brown background

Punctuation helps express meaning in written language, like what facial expressions do for spoken language. It clarifies what we mean to say in order to prevent miscommunication, and someone can only write well if they know how to properly punctuate. Understanding the basics of punctuation is important, and this book shows how to punctuate by using examples. The terms are ordered alphabetically and divided into their most common uses with example sentences. With this book, you can use punctuation effectively and with confidence.

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