Punctuation stumbling blocks

Punctuation in English is easier than in our mother language as you will have seen in many issues of English@ work (e.g. 8/2006, 8/2008). But some cases are still tricky. Do you know the answers to our little quiz?

Let’s start with the apostrophe, which is used quite often, much more than in German.

The apostrophe

Please put the apostrophe in the right place in the underlined words:

1. Peter said, “Its too late to say goodbye.”
2. Peters dog put its head under the table.
3. Its the cat that licks its feet.

Which version is correct?

4. The boss’s car broke down.
5. The boss’ car broke down.

The colon

The colon between two complete sentences in German is always followed by a capital letter. And in British and American English? Do you know which spelling is correct?

6. The boss went home early: It was her wedding day.
7. The boss went home early: it was her wedding day.

Which is the American version of the following opening salutations?

8. Dear Ms. Paulsen:
9. Dear Ms Paulsen, 

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