English FAL Matric Revision: Punctuation

Punctuation and Spelling for CAPS Grade 12 Mathematical Literacy


Punctuation and spelling are essential components of written communication. Mastering these elements can enhance the clarity and effectiveness of your writing, both in academic and professional contexts. This guide covers the fundamental rules and common pitfalls to help you achieve better scores in your assignments and exams.

Key Points


  1. Full Stops (.): Used to indicate the end of a sentence.
  2. Example: Sindiwe can run very fast【4:11†source】.

  3. Exclamation Marks (!): Used for emphasis, often to express strong emotions such as surprise, anger, or excitement.

  4. Example: That is a fantastic goal!

  5. Question Marks (?): Used at the end of a question.

  6. Example: What is the time?

  7. Commas (,): Used to separate items in a list, divide clauses, or provide a pause in a sentence.

  8. Example: I invited Lesedi, Maria, and Michael to my party【4:19†source】.

  9. Colons (:): Used to introduce a list, a quote, or further explanation.

  10. Example: The following types of food are available: rice, mealie meal, meat, cabbage, potatoes, and tomatoes【4:11†source】.

  11. Semi-Colons (;): Used to join closely related independent clauses or items in a detailed list.

  12. Example: Maria could not believe that Johanna had betrayed her; after all, they were supposed to be best friends【4:19†source】.

  13. Quotation Marks (‘‘ or “”): Used to enclose direct speech or quotations.

  14. Example: Johan asked, ‘What happened?’【4:15†source】.

  15. Apostrophes (’): Used to show possession or in contractions.

  16. Example: Thuli’s mother (possession) or don’t (contraction of do not)【4:11†source】.

  17. Ellipsis (…): Indicates trailing off or that part of the text has been omitted.

  18. Example: I heard that you broke up with your boyfriend a while ago…【4:11†source】.


  1. ‘ie’ or ‘ei’: ‘i’ before ‘e’ except after ‘c’, or when sounding like ‘ay’.
  2. Examples: believe, receive, eight.

  3. Doubling Final Consonants: When adding a suffix to a word ending in a vowel and a consonant, double the consonant if the syllable is stressed.

  4. Examples: beginning (begin), controlled (control)【4:1†source】.

  5. Final ‘e’: Drop the final ‘e’ when adding a suffix starting with a vowel.

  6. Example: make to making, but add an e when adding a suffix starting with a consonant.
  7. Example: hope to hopeful.

  8. ‘y’ endings: Change ‘y’ to ‘i’ when adding a suffix, unless the suffix begins with ‘i’.

  9. Examples: happy to happiness, but crying from cry【4:1†source】.

Real-World Applications

  1. Punctuation in Academic Writing: Proper punctuation ensures that your academic essays and research papers are clear and professionally presented. Incorrect punctuation can change the meaning of a sentence entirely.

  2. Spelling in Professional Communication: Spelling errors in resumes, cover letters, or business emails can present a negative impression and imply a lack of attention to detail.

Common Misconceptions and Errors

  1. Misplacing Commas: Incorrect placement can create confusion.
  2. Incorrect: Let’s eat, Grandpa. (meaning: We should eat Grandpa).
  3. Correct: Let’s eat, Grandpa. (meaning: Inviting Grandpa to eat)【4:16†source】.

  4. It’s vs Its:

  5. It’s: contraction for ‘it is’ or ‘it has’.
    • Example: It’s raining outside.
  6. Its: possessive form of ‘it’.

    • Example: The dog wagged its tail【4:6†source】.
  7. There, Their, and They’re:

  8. There: refers to a place.
    • Example: The book is over there.
  9. Their: possessive form of they.
    • Example: Their car is red.
  10. They’re: contraction of they are.
    • Example: They’re coming over today【4:10†source】.

Practice and Review

Practice Questions:

  1. Insert the correct punctuation in the following sentences:
    a) What is your name
    b) Stop right there you thief
    c) I see you aren’t eating the rest of your chocolate pudding【4:19†source】.

  2. Correct the following sentences:
    a) i will go to the store later【4:16†source】.
    b) the cats toys are all over the floor.


  1. a) What is your name?
    b) Stop right there, you thief!
    c) I see you aren’t eating the rest of your chocolate pudding.

  2. a) I will go to the store later.
    b) The cat’s toys are all over the floor【4:6†source】.

Exam Tips:
– Pay attention to keywords like ‘explain’, ‘compare’, ‘analyze’ in questions.
– Allocate time for proofreading your answers to correct punctuation and spelling errors.

Connections and Extensions

  • Interdisciplinary links: Proper punctuation and spelling are crucial in subjects like History, Geography, and Life Sciences for writing essays and reports.
  • Real-world implications: Effective communication in emails, reports, and presentations in various career fields such as law, medicine, and education.

Summary and Quick Review

  1. Punctuation marks include full stops, commas, colons, semi-colons, question marks, exclamation marks, quotation marks, apostrophes, and ellipses.
  2. Key spelling rules to remember: ‘ie’ or ‘ei’, doubling final consonants, handling final ‘e’, and ‘y’ endings.

Additional Resources

  1. Grammarly Blog
  2. Purdue OWL
  3. BBC Skillswise

These resources provide additional explanation, examples, and exercises to help refine your understanding of punctuation and spelling.

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