Words

Punctuation

The definition of 'small but mighty,' punctuation is everywhere.

But the thing about punctuation is that it can have a huge effect on your writing and essentially change the tone but how do you know what to use where and when is a piece of punctuation right or wrong is there even a right and wrong because sometimes in writing theres only good and bad not right and wrong but if youre still reading this paragraph youre probably very aware of just how bad a lack of punctuation can be

Then. there’s the issue of - using punctuation, where it just doesn’t belong? And that can sometimes & have a worse effect, on the writing because you’re: interrupting the. reader’s flow and essentially making! the whole thing even harder to read like harder: than if there was? no punctuation - at all.

So we put together guidelines covering the most common pieces to help you determine what goes where.

Periods

The period gives your thought a hard stop before beginning a brand new, self-sustaining sentence. Think of it as an extended pause between the two.

A period is a period—period.

It should be used at the end of just about every sentence that’s not a question. It has every right to appear in body copy, subheads, captions and tooltips.

Bad

We help teams and athletes win. With the tools to review and improve performance.

Good

We help teams and athletes win with the tools to review and improve performance.

  • Don’t put one between phrases that can and should live together.
  • Do add a period to finalize the thought.

Make sure the string preceding your period is a complete sentence. There should be a subject and a verb, maybe even an object.

Bad

New this season.

Good

Check our tutorials for a closer look at what’s new.

  • Don’t put it on a fragment in an effort to emphasize.
  • Do use periods to clearly separate complete sentences.

If what you’re punctuating is actually a fragment, try editing or attaching it to something else to form the complete thought.

For more on where periods often appear, check our non-label guidelines.

Exclamation Points

By definition, the exclamation point is used to indicate force or strong feeling. That’s why we use them sparingly—too many and we risk yelling at the user and/or feigning excitement. Neither is a good look.

There are two clear-cut moments where the exclamation is a no-brainer:

  • What we’re telling them is really, truly, without a doubt going to change their life. Not in the marketing “this product is pretty awesome” sense, but in the “this could be our biggest release of all time” sense.
  • The message preceding the exclamation is beyond important. They’re about to delete something forever, make an irreversible change or spend $1 million. Make sure they realize the significance.

If you have to use an exclamation, use one and only one. Should you ever try putting multiple on the end of a single sentence, your keyboard will catch fire. Them’s the rules.

Bad

Best day ever! Your upload is complete. Visit your video page to see it in action.

Good

Invites sent! Your coaches and athletes will receive an email with additional instructions.

  • Don’t tack it on just to seem cute and fun. Words can do that.
  • Do use an exclamation point to convey the importance of a given message.

You’re allowed one exclamation point for an entire workflow or interface. That’s not to say one is required, just that its time and place should be carefully considered.

Bad

Best day ever! Your upload is complete! Visit your video page to see it in action!

Good

Invites sent. Don’t forget to add vital stats for all incoming freshmen!

  • Don’t put an exclamation on the end of every sentence.
  • Do save the exclamation for the most exciting or important piece of content.

If you’re still concerned about conveying the right tone, these guidelines might help.

Question Marks

Questions marks are for questions.

If you put a question mark at the end of a sentence, make sure we’re really asking a question and the answer is easy—either as a button or input, or in the form of a link to “learn more.”

Like exclamation points, they should be used sparingly, otherwise our whole product becomes one big Q&A. And that’s weird.

Bad

We might’ve just added a new special teams playbook? Log in and see for yourself.

Good

Ready to share another playlist? Check your video page to see what’s available.

  • Don’t add a question mark for the sake of inflection.
  • Do use a question to give your content a natural flow.

Questions work well in headlines and confirmations, where the product or user can provide an answer. Avoid putting them where interaction is harder to come by, like an empty state or tooltip.

Bad

Time and place are set. Video’s shared. Uniforms washed.

But are you really ready for game day?

Good

Delete Athlete?

Deleting an athlete will also remove all highlights under their name.

  • Don’t provide a question with no real answer.
  • Do keep the question relevant to the current workflow.

The main reason every answer should be obvious? A question they can’t answer could come off as condescending, and that’s not our style.

Commas

The comma indicates a pause in the sentence. If you read a piece of content and realize it rambled with very few opportunities to breathe, you’re probably missing a few commas.

Commas are also used to separate items in a list, and this is where things get tricky. Hudl follows AP Style, therefore we do not use the Oxford comma. This means we don’t put a comma before the conjunction in a simple list.

We do, however, add it to complex lists that wouldn’t make much sense without the comma.

Bad

Coaches and athletes can edit, study, and share film on Hudl.

Good

Coaches can upload full games and practices, exchange with their conference or a single opponent, and create highlights for the whole team.

  • Don’t add it to just any list. The pause/separation of those items isn’t necessary.
  • Do include it with longer items that could blur together.

In any non-list situation, your best “test” in determining the necessity of a comma is to read the thing out loud. Anytime you pause for effect or the separation of two clauses, the comma is a safe bet.

Bad

You can share any full game or custom playlist, with the entire team or individual athletes, just by selecting the intended recipients from a list of team members.

Good

When it comes to sharing custom playlists with coaches and athletes, all existing comments and drawings will be visible.

  • Don’t add them just because the sentence looks long and breathless. Try trimming instead.
  • Do rely on commas for natural pauses and increased clarity.

Apostrophes

Perhaps the most important thing about apostrophes is what they don’t do.

Apostrophes do not make singular words plural.

“Saturday’s” are not for football. Saturdays, on the other hand, can be.

Adding an apostrophe should do one of two things:

  • Indicate a contraction (it’s, we’re, he’ll, etc.)
  • Indicate ownership (Michael’s, the president’s, our neighbors’)

And for what it’s worth, we love contractions.

Bad

You’d see a critical message if the upload had failed. It’d be bright red with a giant exclamation.

Good

Your order is being processed as we speak. We’ll email the download as soon as it’s ready.

  • Don’t use the contraction if it actually sounds better without.
  • Do make things more conversational with natural contractions.

Ownership is where things get tricky. Most of our teams are named according to the participating gender (who the team "belongs" to). But the genders are plural—boys and girls—so where does the apostrophe go?

When mentioning sports teams, the apostrophe will almost always go on the very end.

Bad

Boy’s varsity football highlights are ready to share! Log in to check them out.

Good

We just received your payment order for girls’ volleyball and boys’ soccer.

  • Don’t assume the S alone keeps things plural.
  • Do put the apostrophe on the end for a plural possessive.

If you’re still not convinced, swap in men/women for a quick test:

  • boys’ soccer = men’s soccer
  • girl’s volleyball = woman’s volleyball