Learn Effective Ways to Use Your Punctuations

Punctuations add silent intonation to your work. By observing a comma, a full stop, an exclamation mark, or a question mark, your reader can pause, stop, stress, or ask a question. Punctuations make your writing more precise and clear, especially when used properly.

More so, while we use sentences as the basic building components, punctuations clarify the idea and indicate how the sentences should be read. For this reason, all sentences must start with a capital letter and end with a full stop, an exclamation, or a question sign, depending on the context.

Nevertheless, here are some punctuation marks and the correct way to use them in your writing:

Full Stop (.)

  • Used at the conclusion of sentences.
  • Used with acronyms: St., Govt., etc.
  • Used in punctuated abbreviation in a sentence. For example, work begins at 9 a.m.
  • Additionally, when quoting from an author’s work without including the entire statement, you can use an ellipsis (…) to indicate that some words are missing from the quote.

Semicolon (;)

  • Used to divide two closely connected independent clauses without a conjunction.
  • Used to break up two clauses connected by transition words like although, nevertheless, and therefore.

Colon (:)

  • Used to clarify or demonstrate what comes after a sentence.

How to cook Afang soup is as follows: Slice your water leaf.

  • Used to introduce a list or series of examples.

Three directives are given:    1. Pull up the gear.

2. Reverse the car.

3. Drive out of the premises.

  • Used to set titles apart from subtitles.

Sabiwriters: The Story of Africa’s Award-Winning Writing Agency

  • Used to start quotations that are four lines or longer (block quotes).
  • Used in formal correspondence following a salutation

Dash (–)

  • Used to replace colon.

It is available in four colours –  red, white, blue, and yellow.

  • Used to introduce a notion into a sentence.

Chizim – my favourite writer – won best in writing

  • Used to add more details or information to some word, phrase, or clause in a sentence.

The things Chidimma excels in, like writing, speaking, and teaching – seem out of my league.

Parentheses ( )

  • You use parentheses to provide clarification or explain.

The possibility (he might be sacked) never gets to Olumide.

  • Used to encapsulate acronyms or abbreviations of spelt-out forms or the other way around.

Kehinde frequently provides advice to Nigeria Football Association (NFA).

  • Used to cite content within a text.

Kunle’s articles have been published in several journals (Journal of Humanities, 2022).

Hyphen (-)

  • Used to link compound nouns.

My brothers-in-law are coming to visit.

  • Used to join complex verbs.

Ensure you double-space that letter.

  • Used to fuse compound adjectives when they come before the noun.

The up-to-date copy is in the drive.

  • Used to show that a hyphenated compound’s first and subsequent words are suspended.

The low- and high-performance lever differed from one another.

  • Used to divide spelt-out fractions into their numerator and denominator.


  • Used to separate a word with more than two syllables at the end of a line.

Comma (,)

  • A comma is used to break out two phrases linked by a conjunction.

Olaitun likes to play golf, but she has other hobbies as well.

  • Used to distinguish opening clauses and phrases from the body of a sentence.
  • Used to divide items in a sequence.

Adedamola is an excellent dancer, poet, singer, and orator.

  • Used to break out clauses and phrases that don’t belong in the main clause.
  • Used to break apart a succession of adjectives.

This is a straightforward, uncomplicated technique.

  • Used to distinguish transitional words from the body of the sentence.

In addition, she is consistently productive.

  • Used to emphasise the names of those being spoken to in a sentence.

Well, Uduak, you’ve made it.

  • Used to distinguish items in dates, addresses, and places.

On June 30th, 2022, Onyinye released her debut book.

In conclusion, knowing how to use the correct punctuation in the right place is a cardinal rule for good writing. Therefore, you must learn to use these punctuation marks effectively if you want to build a sustainable writing career.

Click HERE for more insightful writing tips.

5 Things to Look Out for When You Self-Edit Your Work

Grammar, punctuation, and sentence construction are issues that many authors struggle with, and although these issues are significant, the editing process should not typically begin with them. Why? Because expressing your thoughts as clearly as possible is the fundamental goal of editing. Therefore, it is better to start by concentrating on the overall order and clarity of your writing.

Nevertheless, it is important you ask yourself some of these questions as you embark on your self-editing process: Can my reader follow the logical progression of my ideas? Am I using the best points to express my ideas?

This is because the overall effectiveness of your writing is more dependent on the strength of your argument. So, here are five major things to look out for when you self-edit your work:

  • Punctuation and Grammar

Reading through your original draft a few times to check for spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors is the first step in self-editing.

Without proper grammar, your sentences will lack structure. Grammar entails how you arrange words to create meaning in your sentences and paragraphs. Homophones (it’s/its, they’re/there, here/hear), verb forms, or the subject-object-verb arrangement are a few examples of the many grammar rules.

In addition, paying attention to punctuation is very important when self-editing your work. Knowing where to insert basic punctuation marks like full-stop or period, commas, and question marks is crucial as they make your sentences more comprehensive.

  • Remove Filter Words

Filler words are extraneous or superfluous words used to lengthen sentences without providing new information. Realised, so as to, actually, basically, just, well, you know, and in order to, are some examples of filler words you use.

When self-editing your work, you should pay attention to terms and phrases that don’t improve your writing because they frequently take the reader’s focus away from the point you’re trying to make.

For instance, instead of ‘I was actually thinking if you can help me with my morning chores.’ say, ‘Can you help me with my morning chores?’ The second question implies that the situation calls for an urgent reaction.

  • Replace Complex Words

Making sure your language is easily comprehensible to your reader is the next step when self-editing. Always remember that your writing is not to wow your audience but to deliver a message. Therefore, when there are simpler word options available, there’s no need to complicate your writing by stuffing each sentence with flowery language, which can addle your reader.

  • Recurring Words

Another thing to watch out for is repeating terms inside a single sentence or paragraph. It is more intriguing and engaging when you vary the word choices in your sentences.

For example, if you are writing on the importance of education, instead of:

Education is important because it is important in boosting your confidence and also important in giving you access to greater opportunities.


Education is important because it boosts your confidence in public and gives you access to greater opportunities.

Ensure you substitute weaker terms for repeated ones to create a stronger argument.

  • Avoid Passive Voice

Lastly, be mindful of the passive voice. When a statement uses the passive voice, the action is received by the subject rather than being done by them. On the contrary, active voice concentrates on the person performing an activity, making sentences written in them more straightforward, precise, and engaging.

The passive voice adds ambiguity and vagueness to your work. For example:

The strike was called off because our demands were met by the government. (Passive voice)

We called off the strike because the government met our demands. (Active voice)

However, click on what-type-of-editing-is-most-suitable-for-you/ to read more on editing. Or, if you need quality editors to handle your editing processes, visit www.sabiwriters.com.

3 Tips to Avoid Filter Words in Your Writing

Filter words are extraneous words that separate readers from a character’s perspective. They are typically explanatory words that take the reader out of the action by explaining a character’s thoughts or behaviour. Filter words appear in third- and first-person narratives, and they take away the power and immediacy that first-person narration gives an author.

If you’re trying your hand at first-person writing, you’ll find that when you trim the filter words down to the bare minimum, your writing gains more energy and urgency. While using a few filter words here and there won’t ruin the rest of your work, moving towards more economical prose and dynamic first-person narration will enhance your writing.

For example, instead of writing, I heard the baby cry, you can write the baby cried. Some useful tips to help you avoid word filters in your writing are listed below:

  • Remove Filter Words From Your Initial Draft

Any project’s first draft can be written with the freedom to include filter terms. This is because you will simply stifle your originality if you try to cut them out before they even appear on the first page. So, just write. Filter words can be addressed later in the editing process.

In addition, practice makes perfect, as is true for many skills. The next time you write, you’ll have fewer filter words because you’ll have spent more time refining your sentences to eliminate filter terms.

  • Your Sentences Should Be Brief

Avoid using superfluous words that don’t change the argument your character is making. Filter words are frequently redundant and unneeded justifications for the thoughts and deeds of your character. Therefore, trust your reader to understand your write-up without these extra words.

  • Put Yourself in the Character’s Role

Readers can access a character’s thoughts and experience their point of view thanks to the first-person narrative. Try to limit the time you spend narrating your character in the first person to what is necessary for exposition and backstory. You’d be astonished at how much a reader can infer about you without you stating it loudly.

However, there are times when using filter words is acceptable and even required. One instance is when the central idea of the sentence is the character’s perspective, experience, or response. In addition, utilising filter words can occasionally give your writing more flow and break up repetitive sentence structures. Nevertheless, it is important to use them sparingly. For more insightful tips to scale your writing craft, visit www.sabiwriters.com

5 Tips For Writing A Successful Series

Every writer desires to remain in his reader’s mind for as long as possible. Knowing how to break your stories or ideas into a series can be a very good way of achieving it. Once your reader is captivated by the first piece and is aware of two and three being underway, you are already on your way to becoming their preferred author. Nevertheless, if you desire to secure a place of pride in your reader’s heart with an interesting series, here are tips you can explore to write a successful series.


  1. Select the kind of series that best fits your narrative.

The first step is finding a series that fits your proposed tale. Next is considering the authors whose series you enjoy reading. They almost all fit into one of these categories:

Serial: a series of interconnected stories presented in an orderly chapter periodically.

Episodic: An episodic series are books one can read out of order. However, it always has the same main character.

Interconnected: A series with a cast of characters from the same world.

  • Prepare a series plan in advance

An outline in advance is essential for writing a novel series because it helps you avoid losing perspective. When writing a series, it is important to understand how each book in the series binds with the overall plot arc and how they fare independently. A pre-planned structure will help you monitor what happens when handling different subplots across many volumes. In addition, your outline will act as a guide throughout the writing process.

  • Introduce the main characters early, but expose their backstories systematically

If you desire to quickly pique the interest of your readers in the character arcs of your series, it’s essential to introduce them early. Establishing your characters on time gives your readers a quick understanding of your characters’ traits. Your characters determine the purpose of your story. However, the reason behind their goals can manifest gradually.

Also, explain the reason your characters have goals by adopting primary events (for instance, meetings between your lead character and an antagonist) and subplots. Your characters will develop, and readers will easily uncover some secrets and unknowns when you adopt this method of revelation. This means sequels will naturally be more engaging since there is more to learn.

  • Introduce new characters to keep your series in motion

In the first series, readers should be able to know the key people to exhibit love and hate. However, the sequels should feature new major characters, emotions, significant to insignificant villains, mentors, and reunited relatives. This is because they form a crucial component of a successful series. Make the minor characters matter but know that including a walk-on character is not a wise decision to take when indecisive about the proceeding scene. Also, show how each new supporting character helps or hinders your primary character.

  • Each book in your series should have a compelling primary event

Keep in mind that each book in the series should be capable of being independent. When a reader starts with a later book in the series, they should be able to dive into the plot without getting lost. However, for each book in your series to succeed as an independent piece, they should all have a compelling central theme and image. To write a successful series, create a primary and a secondary conflict and (at least a partial) resolution for each book in the series.

Ensure the last book in your series ends on a good note and settle every major conflict and plot arc. Use language that is emotional and suggests a conclusion. You can also summarise the first book story at the beginning of the series if you want to relate to earlier events. Properly engaging these tips will certainly help you write a successful series.

Differences Between A Memoir And An Autobiography

Many people fail to identify the difference between a memoir and an autobiography. They struggle to recognise the thin line that separates one from the other. Interestingly, a lot of writers fall into this ditch as well. They use the words interchangeably. They think of a memoir as a written history of someone’s life, which in the real sense is an autobiography.

A memoir and an autobiography are almost the same types of writing because they document a person’s life. In both forms, a writer uses a first-person account of his life. This means the writer will be describing his or her life using personal pronouns like ‘I’ and ‘ME’ (‘I was admitted to’,  ‘my mother gave me’). However, there is an exception to this rule, as the author of an autobiography can sometimes choose to write with the third person pronoun (i.e., The writer refers to him or herself as ‘he’ or ‘she’). Nonetheless, both genres are about authors sharing their life with readers in their voices.

A memoir is an abridged history of one’s life because it relays experiences and happenings within the person’s life. The timeline of a memoir is specific. On the other hand, an autobiography chronicles the totality of a lifetime. An autobiography captures phases like childhood, adolescence, adulthood, retirement, etc.

Typically, memoirs are less encompassing, less formal, and less factual in recording events. It buttresses an emotional intimacy with a particular segment of one’s life and the nostalgia it evokes.

 On the other hand, an autobiography is usually written by the main character or in collaboration with another writer. It focuses on facts and has a more detailed chronology of happenings, places, movements, reactions and other vital information that formed the life of the subject in view.


  1. Autobiographies are written in chronological order, while memoirs tend to drift back and forth with time: readers of autobiographies typically expect the book to begin with the writer’s childhood or perhaps where the parents lived. From there, they expect the writer to proceed to adolescence, youth, and the time of writing sequentially. In a memoir, however, the writer can be casual in handling time as the focus is more on the book’s theme, not the writer’s lifetime.
  2. Autobiographies emphasise facts and how the writer is captured in history, whereas a memoir emphasises personal interiority and experience: autobiographies are usually viewed from the prism of history and can be very relevant for historical purposes. This makes it more grievous to misrepresent facts in an autobiography when compared to a memoir. The author of a memoir can select and shape certain facts to explore the book’s central idea.
  3. Autobiographies document the life of a famous person whereas a memoir can be written about anyone, famous or not: autobiography mirrors the life of someone whose accomplishments shaped humanity or a group of people, thus bringing the person to national or international prominence. A typical example of this type of book is ‘Long Walk to Freedom’, Nelson Mandela’s autobiography. A memoir, on the other hand, is written to document an interesting aspect of one’s life journey, not basically because the person is famous. However, some memoirists become famous after releasing their piece.

However, it is pertinent to note that auto-biographers and memoirists contract out their writing to a reputable author who has proven their mettle in the craft. Therefore, if you are on the lookout for competent writers for your autobiography or memoir, click on www.sabiwriters.com/contact or send a mail to hello@sabiwriters.com