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Mini-Quiz: Punctuate Properly

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Punctuation seems easy. Use a period at the end of a declarative sentence; use a question mark at the end of a question. But where do you put a comma? What’s the difference between a colon and semi-colon? As for the apostrophe, is its or it’s correct? Test your knowledge of the most common types of punctuation used in customer service e-mails: period, comma, apostrophe, semicolon, colon.


Write C next to the sentences that are punctuated correctly. Write I next to the sentences that are punctuated incorrectly. Then check your answers below.

From Clear, Correct, Concise E-Mail: A Writing Workbook for Customer Service Agents, by Marilynne Rudick and Leslie O’Flahavan, E-WRITE

 
  1. Each of the products registered on our system has a $5, shipping and handling charge.
 
  1. Also, if you have a problem with another purchase (and we would hope you would not), please let the store manager know.
 
  1. You should go to our website: www.paulbfoods.com and click on the Products menu. 
 
  1. I’m giving you two price quotes for the 16-night cruise you inquired about, Lorri; and I hope you’ll contact me soon to reserve a stateroom.
 
  1. Home improvement loans are not subsidized by the federal government;  therefore, applicants do not have to fill out the HL619 Form. 
 
  1. Take a steam locomotive trip in Maryland’s scenic Allegheny Mountains and enjoy a bit of our region’s past.
 
  1. A total of $26.84 will be charged to your credit card (please note that this charge will appear on your credit card statement from LITTLE IVAN ENTERPRISES).
 
  1. To sell an item, access it’s detail page on our web site and click on the Sell button at the upper right corner of the screen.
 
  1. All our woodworking tools are backed by our Product Promise: if you are not entirely satisfied with a tool, return it to us at any time for an exchange or refund of its purchase price.
 
  1. This message is being sent by the Confidence.com autoresponder, so no live person will see your reply.


ANSWERS to Mini-Quiz: Punctuate Properly

Sentences with the correct punctuation are marked with a C. Incorrectly punctuated sentences are marked with an I. We’ve provided the correct punctuation for each of the incorrect items.

Any wrong answers? Chapter 6: Punctuate Correctly, in Clear, Correct, Concise E-Mail: A Writing Workbook for Customer Service Agents provides a refresher on punctuation, so that all your e-mails will be punctuation perfect.

I
  1. Each of the products registered on our system has a $5, shipping and handling charge.
Corrected punctuation Each of the products registered on our system has a $5 shipping and handling charge.
C 2.      Also, if you have a problem with another purchase (and we would hope you would not), please let the store manager know.
I
  1. You should go to our website: www.paulbfoods.com and click on the Products menu. 
Corrected punctuation You should go to our website, www.paulbfoods.com, and click on the Products menu. 
I
  1. I’m giving you two price quotes for the 16-night cruise you inquired about, Lorri; and I hope you’ll contact me soon to reserve a stateroom.
Corrected punctuation I’m giving you two price quotes for the 16-night cruise you inquired about, Lorri, and I hope you’ll contact me soon to reserve a stateroom.
C
  1. Home improvement loans are f not subsidized by the federal government;  therefore, applicants do not have to fill out the HL619 Form. 
C
  1. Take a steam locomotive trip in Maryland’s scenic Allegheny Mountains and enjoy a bit of our region’s past.
I
  1. A total of $26.84 will be charged to your credit card (please note that this charge will appear on your credit card statement from LITTLE IVAN ENTERPRISES).
Corrected punctuation A total of $26.84 will be charged to your credit card. (Please note that this charge will appear on your credit card statement from LITTLE IVAN ENTERPRISES.)
I
  1. To sell an item, access it’s detail page on our web site and click on the Sell button at the upper right corner of the screen.
Corrected punctuation To sell an item, access its detail page on our web site and click on the Sell button at the upper right corner of the screen.
C
  1. All our woodworking tools are backed by our Product Promise: if you are not entirely satisfied with a tool, return it to us at any time for an exchange or refund of its purchase price.
C
  1. This message is being sent by the Confidence.com autoresponder, so no live person will see your reply.

Marilynne Rudick and Leslie O’Flahavan are partners in E-WRITE — http://www.ewriteonline.com, a training and consulting company in the Washington, D.C. area that specializes in online writing. Rudick and O’Flahavan are authors of the book Clear, Correct, Concise E-Mail: A Writing Workbook for Customer Service Agents.

Marilynne Rudick and Leslie O’Flahavan Answer Online Writing Questions: Click Here For Free Answers

Mini-Quiz: Punctuate Properly
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