Punctuation for Professionals

Boost your punctuation skills and confidence.

Nearly every professional—from sales rep to scientist, from admin to accountant—writes regularly on the job. But punctuation doubts often slow down writing and complicate editing and proofreading. Writers lose time debating with themselves and others about punctuation—time they could focus on their all-important content. Are you one of them?

Do you rewrite sentences because you worry that your punctuation is wrong? Do you insert commas in other people’s work, then fret over whether they belong?

Worry no more! Punctuation for Professionals will answer your persistent questions about punctuation clearly and conclusively. This self-paced, interactive course on punctuation will increase your knowledge, confidence, and professionalism.

Most punctuation dilemmas have straightforward, quick solutions, which you will learn in Punctuation for Professionals. Mastering the basic rules and using a backup quick-reference guide, you will be able to punctuate documents quickly and easily. You will save time in the writing, editing, and proofreading steps.

In Punctuation for Professionals you will learn to:

  • Apply the punctuation rules that are standard in the United States and Canada. 
  • Insert commas where they support and clarify your message.
  • Add apostrophes to create possessive forms, but keep them out of simple plurals. Recognize whether you need clients, client’s, or clients.
  • Insert hyphens where your readers need them. Know whether to choose follow-up or follow up, one-week or one week.
  • Use semicolons the right way: to connect closely related sentences and link complex elements in series.
  • Use colons to punctuate greetings, present content forcefully, and introduce lists.
  • Use a dash for style and emphasis—and recognize the difference between dashes and hyphens.
  • Set off certain titles with quotation marks and italics, but leave other titles alone.
  • Place commas, periods, and other punctuation marks correctly inside or outside closing quotation marks and parentheses.
  • Punctuate bullet points correctly and consistently.

First you will take a pre-assessment to find out what you know. Then you will learn through short interactive presentations in which you will hear and see a concept illustrated, then apply it yourself. You will test your knowledge in written and online exercises, mini-tests, and comprehensive reviews—all with answers revealed instantly. After completing the lessons, you will strengthen your skills with editing challenges and review exercises. You will recognize how much you learned when you compare your pre- and post-assessment results.

To complete the course, you will need to score 85 percent or better on the post-assessment, and you can retake the test until you are successful. 

Your learning materials in Punctuation for Professionals include 40-item pre- and post-assessments, a 46-page course notebook, a 2-page quick-reference guide, 15 online practice quizzes, and 10 learning reinforcement sheets. You will also be able to download a PDF of the 240+ slides featured in the course.

Once you register, you will have 90 days to complete the course. 

Enroll in Punctuation for Professionals if you want to: 

  • Refresh your knowledge of punctuation to write, edit, and proofread faster.
  • Gain confidence that the business documents you create or approve are flawlessly professional.
  • Follow the latest rules of punctuation, with up-to-date information at hand to support your punctuation choices.
  • Help others by giving them accurate, clear explanations to correct their punctuation errors.
  • Know when to follow your grammar and spelling checker and when you can safely ignore it.

What Students Are Saying

“Punctuation for Professionals was a very helpful class. From pre-test to post-test, my knowledge increased dramatically, and the resources provided will continue to be useful references.”
—Angelia Cook, Office Manager, Horizon Hydraulic Sales & Service

Course Curriculum

What's Included?

18 Quizzes
1 Survey
15 Downloads
24 Presentations
Lynn Gaertner-Johnston
Lynn Gaertner-Johnston
Writing Expert, Founder of Syntax Training

About the Instructor

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston is a gifted teacher.

She has helped thousands of professionals improve their business communications. In her corporate teaching career of more than 25 years, Lynn has worked with executives, engineers, administrative professionals, scientists, sales staff, managers, public employees, and others, helping them get their messages across clearly, concisely, and correctly.

Her 100+ clients include REI, MasterCard, Microsoft, Ledcor, Boeing, Tennessee Valley Authority, PACCAR, Precor, Puget Sound Energy, Port of Seattle, and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. She also taught managerial communications in the MBA programs at the University of Washington and UW Bothell.


She knows her subject well. 

Lynn is the author of the award-winning book Business Writing With Heart: How to Build Great Work Relationships One Message at a Time. Her blog, Business Writing, attracts more than 6 million annual visitors from six continents. She has been quoted on business writing etiquette in The Wall Street Journal, Vanity Fair, Atlantic, and other media.

She earned her M.A. in communication from the University of Notre Dame and her B.A. in English from Bradley University. She studied proofreading and editing at New York University.

Lynn teaches with a love of her subject and a pleasure in sharing its practical value. She is dedicated to helping people communicate more effectively.


What Students Are Saying

“My work in policy development requires extensive writing and editing. Because of the courses I've taken from Syntax Training, I am more confident in my ability to write clearly and concisely, apply correct grammar and punctuation, and edit documents."

—Linda Harris-Proctor, Business Analyst, Bonneville Power Administration


“Your teaching is absolutely superb.”

—Mary Russell, Systems Analyst–Integration, ZirMed