Here’s a story for you: A woman who traveled abroad without her husband got to Paris and found a fabulous bracelet she’d been looking for. So she sent a wire back home saying, “I have found this beautiful bracelet, one I’ve been looking for all my life. It only costs $7,500. Do you think I can buy it?”
Her husband wired back a short but firm reply, “No, price too high!” And he signed his name. But in the transmission, the comma was left out and the message read, “No price too high.” Oh, she was thrilled!
Omitting that comma almost put that guy in a coma.
While this is just one of those funny stories in life, it does show how valuable punctation is. It is also one of the things a journalist must have in his or her toolbox, because journalists can’t make these sort of mistakes. They must know how and when to use a comma, a period and a semicolon.
To help, here are two sites that offer instruction on how to use the various marks of punctuation. Read them closely, because they will supplement the exercises you do on punctuation with the NewsU tutorials: