My name is Bradley Hall. I teach 4th grade. I live in Wilmington, Delaware. I have taught for seven years. I now desire to go to law school. I hope to enroll in the Blue Bonnet University. I have no money for tuition. I offer many great things. I am creative. I am passionate. I am transparent. I am willing to work hard.
Have you died of boredom yet, or are you like any review board, ready to reject this letter of intent with no questions asked? There are no grammatical mistakes here, no spelling errors, no botched homophones; however, there is no life or style in the text. There is nothing that would suggest that Bradley is passionate about this endeavor. Now, let’s take the same sentences and add life to them by simply adding punctuation.
My name is Bradley Hall—a fourth-grade teacher from Wilmington, Delaware. I have taught for seven years, but now I desire to go to law school. I hope to enroll in the Blue Bonnet University; however, I have no money for tuition. I offer many great things such as: creativity, passion, transparency, and a willingness to work hard.
Let’s examine the punctuation added to our simple paragraph to make it more stylistic.
- Em Dash: It allows for a break in tone, or in thought.
- Comma: In the paragraph above it was used to separate a clause and it was used to list.
- Semicolon: It is used to separate two independent clauses. Be careful though, both clauses must be able to stand alone as separate sentences if the semicolon were absent.
- Colon: In this case, it was used before a list of ideas or concepts.