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Ontario Tech acknowledges the lands and people of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

We are thankful to be welcome on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered by the Williams Treaties and are the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to many Indigenous nations and peoples.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we acknowledge that the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by because we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.

Learn more about Indigenous Education and Cultural Services

Punctuation Overview

Apostrophe

We use the apostrophe in two ways:

  1. To show possession; for example: This is Miguel’s car.
  2. To show missing letters when words are shortened: He’s got a really fast car.

Tip: 

The position of the apostrophe is determined by singular or plural:

Example:

  • Can you carry the girl’s bags?
  • Can you carry the girls’ bags?

Capitals

We capitalize:

  • Proper nouns
  • The first word in a sentence
  • A person’s title, when it comes before their name
  • Every word in a title, except for a, an, the, and, etc.
  • The first word in a quoted sentence: Johan said, “Make sure you see the show.”

Colon

Correct use of the colon can enrich your writing.  Its function is to introduce something that follows:

For example

A list
We need some groceries: sugar, milk and bread.

A quotation
The professor stated: “This course is the best.”

A question
The question is: Do you think it will rain?

A conclusion
The conclusion was: “It’s all over.”

An example
There is one word you cannot overuse: please.

We also use a colon:

  • For formal salutations: Prime Minister: Dear Mrs Smith: Honourable Members:
  • To separate the hour and minute/s in a time notation; for example - 10:30 p.m.
  • To separate the chapter and verse in a Biblical reference; for example -  Matthew 1:6

Comma

Mastering the comma will improve your writing.  Use it to:

  • Itemize; for example: Make sure you order some pens, binders, rulers and paper.
  • Separate persons and names: Nazia, what did you say?
  • Add an additional thought; for example: His advice was, generally speaking, encouraging.
  • Emphasize; for example: I was scared, really scared.
  • Balance comparisons; for example: The more I looked, the more I saw.

Dash and hyphen

A dash is used in the construction of sentences.  A hyphen is used in the construction of words. The dash can be used to:

Link
The colours of the flag are very vibrant – orange, black and green.

Pause
She apologized with a smile – as usual.

Interrupt
“I have to tell you – and I apologize in advance – that she will not see you.”

Extend a sentence
He walked in the room, looked around – and quietly left.

Separate a list
She threw the lot at me – plates, cups, sausages – and stormed out.

Exclamation mark

Wise use of the exclamation mark can improve your writing.  Overuse can kill it!  We use it to:

  • Command; for example: “Get out!”
  • Convey irony or emphasize insults; for example: “That’ll be right!” or “You idiot!”
  • Convey great surprise, anger or disgust; for example: “I won!” or “It’s filthy!”

Quotation marks

Double or single?  The choice is yours, but having made your choice, stick with it: be consistent.

  • Quotation marks indicate direct speech: they show the exact words someone has spoken.
    • Example: The professor said, “If your paper is late, it will be ungraded.”
  • Do not use quotation marks if you are paraphrasing what someone has said.
    • Example: The professor said that if our papers are late, they will not get a grade.
  • Capitalize the first letter of the word that begins a quotation.

Semicolon

Some of the main uses of the semicolon include to:

  • Join independent clauses that are closely related; for example: “I am not going to help him; he never offers to help me.”
  • Separate word groups that already contain commas; for example: The Student Council was composed of Abbas Mohammed, President; Sri Hartini, Vice President; James Taylor, Treasurer and Carolyn Johnson, Secretary.
  • Emphasize opposite statements and contrast; for example: I loved the car; pity about the colour.”

Semicolons are often founds in phrases that use transitional words, such as: after all, as a result of, for example, however, in addition, in fact, therefore, and thus.

The first sentence above could be improved to read:

I am not going to help him; after all, he never offers to help me.