Punctuation Marks

Spread the love

Punctuation Marks

There are 14 Punctuation Marks in English Grammar.

They are: 

  1. Full stop
  2. Question mark
  3. Exclamation point
  4. Comma
  5. Semicolon
  6. Colon
  7. Dash
  8. Hyphen
  9. Parentheses
  10. Brackets
  11. Braces
  12. Apostrophe
  13. Quotation marks
  14. Ellipsis.

Using punctuations correctly while reading and writing will make it easier to understand and more appealing.

Why Punctuation Mark?

Answer is simple. Just think, when we speak we make our meaning clear by a pause, word stressing, rising and lowering voice etc.. In written English, these changes are indicated by punctuation marks. An accurately punctuated sentence will enable the reader to understand the meaning with a minimum effort. 

Sentence Endings

of the fourteen punctuation marks are appropriate for use as sentence endings. They are:

Period or full stop (.) 
Question mark (?) 
and Exclamation point.

  1. The full stop (.)

It is placed at the end of,

  1. Complete sentences.
  2.  A declarative sentence (states the facts or an opinion and conveying something specific)
  3. Statements thought to be complete.
  4. After many abbreviations.


As a sentence ender: Jack and Jill went to the school.

After an abbreviation: He is Dr. Smith.

Her son’s name is Jack Jones Jr.

  1. Question mark (?)

A question mark (?) when placed at the end of a sentence indicates a direct question.

When did Peter leave for the shopping?

  1. Exclamation point (!)

The exclamation point (!) is used to express a strong feelings or add emphasis.

Within dialogue: “Oh My God!” screamed Brad.

To emphasize a point: My mother-in-law’s rants make me furious!

To make a pause

Comma ( , )
Semicolon ( ; )
and Colon ( : )

The comma, semicolon, and colon are often misused because they all can indicate a pause in a series.

  1. The comma


  1. To show a separation of ideas or elements within the structure of a sentence. Separating lists or elements within sentences: Suzi wanted the black, green, and blue dress.
  2. Separation of two complete sentences: We went to the movies, and then we went out to lunch.
  3. Direct address: Thanks for all your help, John.

Additionally, it is used in numbers, dates, and letter writing after the salutation and closing.

Serial comma
Whether to add a final comma before the conjunction in a list is optional. This final comma, known as an Oxford or serial comma, is useful in a complex series of elements or phrases but is often considered unnecessary in a simple series. It usually comes to a style choice by the writer.

  1. The semicolon (;)

It is used to connect independent clauses. It shows a closer relationship between the clauses than a period would show.

Mike was hurt; he knew she only said it to upset him.

It was raining; the game was cancelled.

  1. A colon (:) has three main uses.
  1. The first is after a word introducing a quotation, an explanation, an example, or a series.
    Eg: He was planning to study four subjects: politics, philosophy, sociology, and economics.
  2. The second is between independent clauses when the second explains the first, similar to a semicolon:

Eg: I didn’t have time to get changed: I was already late.

  1. The third use of a colon is for emphasis:

Eg: There was one thing she loved more than any other: her dog.

Note: A colon also has non-grammatical uses in time, ratio, business correspondence, and references.

Dash (-) and the Hyphen (-)

Two other common punctuation marks are the dash and hyphen. These marks are often confused with each other due to their appearance but they are very different.

  1. A dash (-) is longer. It is used to separate words into statements. There are two common types of dashes: en dash and em dash.

En dash: Twice as long as a hyphen, the en dash is a symbol (–) that is used in writing or printing to indicate a range, connections, or differentiation, such as 1880-1945 or Princeton-New York trains.

Em dash: Longer than the en dash, the em dash can be used in place of a comma, parenthesis, or colon to enhance readability or emphasize the conclusion of a sentence. For example, She gave him her answer — No!

Whether you put spaces around the em dash or not is a style choice. Just be consistent.

  1. A hyphen (-) is smaller. It used to join two or more words together into a compound term and is not separated by spaces.

For example, part-time, back-to-back, well-known.

Brackets [ ]
Braces { }
and Parentheses ( )

Brackets, braces, and parentheses are symbols used to contain words that are a further explanation or are considered a group.

  1. Brackets are the squared-off notations ‘[ ]’ used for technical explanations or to clarify meaning. If you remove the information in the brackets, the sentence will still make sense.

He [Mr. Jones] was the last person seen at the house.

  1. Braces ‘{ }’ are used to contain two or more lines of text or list items to show that they are considered as a unit. They are not commonplace in most writing but can be seen in computer programming to show what should be contained within the same lines. They can also be used in mathematical expressions. For 7example, 2{1+[23-3]}=x.
  1. Parentheses  ‘( )’ are curved notations used to contain further thoughts or qualifying remarks. However, parentheses can be replaced by commas without changing the meaning in most cases.

John and Jane (who were actually half-brother and sister) both have red hair.

Apostrophe ( ‘ )
Quotation Marks ( ”  ” )
and Ellipsis ( … ) ( *** )

The final three punctuation forms in English grammar are the apostrophe, quotation marks, and ellipsis. Unlike previously mentioned grammatical marks, they are not related to one another in any form.

  1. An apostrophe ( ‘ ) is used to indicate the omission of a letter or letters from a word, the possessive case, or the plurals of lowercase letters. Examples of the apostrophe in use include:

Omission of letters from a word: I’ve seen that movie several times. She wasn’t the only one who knew the answer.

Possessive case: Sara’s dog bit the neighbor.

  1. Quotation marks ( ” ” ) are a pair of punctuation marks used primarily to mark the beginning and end of a passage attributed to another and repeated word for word. They are also used to indicate meanings and to indicate the unusual or dubious status of a word.

“Don’t go outside,” she said.

Single quotation marks ( ‘ ‘ ) are used most frequently for quotes within quotes.

Marie told the teacher, “I saw Marc at the playground, and he said to me ‘Bill started the fight,’ and I believed him.”

  1. The ellipsis is most commonly represented by three periods (. . . ) although it is occasionally demonstrated with three asterisks (***). The ellipsis is used in writing or printing to indicate an omission, especially of letters or words. Ellipses are frequently used within quotations to jump from one phase to another, omitting unnecessary words that do not interfere with the meaning. Students writing research papers or newspapers quoting parts of speeches will often employ ellipsis to avoid copying lengthy text that is not needed.

Omission of words: She began to count, “One, two, three, four…” until she got to 10, then went to find him.

Within a quotation: When Newton stated, “An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion…” he developed the law of motion.

error: Content is protected !!