Punctuation in English: Punctuation in the English language helps the reader to understand a sentence through visual means other than just the letters of the alphabet. They are not part of oral grammar, but it is essential to master written English. Punctuation forms part of practical grammar. There are 14 punctuation marks that are used in the English language. They are the period, question mark, exclamation mark, comma, colon, semicolon, dash, hyphen, brackets, braces, parentheses, apostrophe, quotation mark, and ellipsis.

What is Punctuation?

Punctuation is a system in which marks are used in writing to indicate pauses and division of sentences. The meaning of written communication is made clear to the readers by using these marks. In fact, Punctuation is the proper use of putting in marks or stops in writing.

Types of Punctuation Marks

There are 14 punctuation marks that are used in the English language. These are

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

Punctuation Marks Chart

 Punctuation Marks Chart
S.No.TypePunctuation MarkPunctuation Examples
1.Period(.)My name’s Beth and I was 18 in July.
2.Question Mark(?) “Have you a pen I can borrow?” she asked.
3.Exclamation Mark(!)What a lovely view you have here!
4.Comma(,)We purchased some cheese, and we purchased some fruit.
5.Colon(:)You have two choices: finish the work today or lose the contract.
6.Semicolon(;)My daughter is a teacher; my son is a doctor.
7.DashEn dash(–) & Em dash(—)

PrincetonNew York trains(En dash)

She gave him her answerNo! (Em-dash)

8.Hyphen(-)My eight-year-old boy loves reading.
9.Brackets[ ]Was he [the defendant] there when you arrived?
10. Braces({}) 2{1+[23-3]}=x.
11.Parentheses( )The two brothers (Richard and Sean) were learning how to play guitar.
12.Apostrophe(‘)Sallys hair was blond and curly.
13.Quotation Mark(" ") "Don't go outside," she said.
14.Ellipsis(. . . )She began to count, "One, two, three, four" until she got to 10, then went to find him.

Uses of Punctuation Marks

1. Uses of Period (Full stop)-

  • Used after Abbreviations and initials of the names. They may be omitted in current English.
  • After fractions, amount, time, and date.
  • Uses at the end of the address.
  • After complete sentences.

2. Uses of Question Mark-

  • Used after interrogative questions.

3. Uses of Exclamation Mark-

  • Used after interjections, the words and sentences express emotions such as joy, sorrow, surprise, pity, prayer, and a curse.

4. Uses of Comma-

  • Used for a short or slight pause to separate words in a list but it is avoided before 'and'.
  • Used to separate the Adverb clause when it is followed by the main clause.
  • Used to mark off non-restrictive adjective clauses. In such cases, adjective clauses act as coordinate clauses.
  • Used to write nouns in appositions.
  • Used to separate initials and Titles.
  • Used while writing the address.
  • Used while writing dates.
  • Used after solutions and complimentary close.

5. Uses of Colon-

  • Colon is used when a list, quotation, or along speech is to follow after it.
  • It is used to explain the words such as, Namely, as follows, following, for example, etc.

6. Uses of Semicolon-

  • The semicolon is used almost as a period/full stop within a sentence.
  • It is used at the end of thought in place of ‘and’, ‘but’, because, etc. to indicate the thought continues into another thought.

7. Uses of Dash-

  • Dash is used in a sentence to mark an abrupt end to indicate that the word within a dash does not belong there. They are treated as just an afterthought.

8. Uses of Hyphen-

  • Used to make indicate words or parts of words that belong together.
  • Used after prefix to separate two vowels and three consonants.
  • Used to make compound numbers.
  • Used to separate constituents of compound words.
  • Used to write prefixes.

9. Uses of Brackets-

  • Used for technical explanations or to clarify meaning.

10. Uses of Braces-

  • Used to contain two or more lines of text or list items to show that they are considered as a unit.

11. Uses of Parentheses-

  • Used to contain further thoughts or qualifying remarks.

12. Uses of Apostrophe-

  • Used with ‘s’ to indicate that a thing or a person belongs to somebody.
  • In the case of Plural Nouns and Proper Nouns ending with ‘s’.
  • The letters that are omitted are represented by an apostrophe while writing the contracted form.
  • Apostrophe with ‘s’ is used with figures and letters to make plural.
  • Apostrophe with ‘s’ is used to make abbreviations Plural. However, in some cases, Apostrophes can be omitted too.

13. Uses of Quotation Mark-

  • 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.

14. Uses of Ellipsis-

  • 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 phrase to another, omitting unnecessary words that do not interfere with the meaning.

Punctuation Examples

Some of the examples of punctuation are-

Punctuation MarkPunctuation Examples
Period
  • Jane and Jack went to the market.
  • Her son, John Jones Jr., was born on Dec. 6, 2008.
Question Mark
  • When did Jane leave for the market?
Exclamation Mark
  • "Holy cow!" screamed Jane.
  •  My mother-in-law's rants make me furious!
Comma
  • Thanks for all your help, John.
  • We went to the movies, and then we went out to lunch.
  • Suzi wanted the black, green, and blue dress.
Colon
  • He was planning to study four subjects: politics, philosophy, sociology, and economics.
  • I didn't have time to get changed: I was already late.
  • There was one thing she loved more than any other: her dog.
Semicolon
  • John was hurt; he knew she only said it to upset him.
Dash
  • Princeton-New York trains.(Endash)
  • She gave him her answer — No! (Emdash)
Hyphen
  • part-time, 
  • back-to-back, 
  • well-known.
Brackets
  • He [Mr. Jones] was the last person seen at the house.
Braces
  • 2{1+[23-3]}=x.
Parentheses
  • John and Jane (who were actually half brothers and sisters) both have red hair.
Apostrophe
  • I've seen that movie several times. She wasn't the only one who knew the answer.
  • Sara's dog bit the neighbor.
  • Six people were told to mind their p's and q's.
Quotation Mark
  • "Don't go outside," she said.
  • Marie told the teacher, "I saw Marc at the playground, and he said to me 'Bill started the fight,' and I believed him."
Ellipsis
  •  She began to count, "One, two, three, four…" until she got to 10, then went to find him.
  • When Newton stated, "An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion..." he developed the law of motion.
Punctuation- FAQs

Ans. Punctuation in the English language helps the reader to understand a sentence through visual means other than just the letters of the alphabet. They are not part of oral grammar, but it is essential to master written English.

Ans. There are 14 types of Punctuation marks, that is, Period Question Mark Exclamation Mark Comma Colon Semicolon Dash Hyphen Brackets Braces Parentheses Apostrophe Quotation Mark Ellipsis.

Ans. The uses of comma are- Used for short or slight pause to separate words in a list but it is avoided before 'and'. Used to separate Adverb clause when it is followed by main clause. Used to mark off non-restrictive adjective clause. In such cases adjective clauses acts as a co-ordinate clause. Used to write noun in appositions. Used to separate initials and Titles. Used while writing address. Used while writing dates. Used after solutions and complimentary close.

Ans. The uses of Full stop(Period) is: Used after Abbreviations and initials of the names. They may be omitted in current English. Used after fractions, amount, time and date. Uses at the end of the address. Used after complete sentences.

Ans. No, punctuation is not the part of oral grammar, rather it is part of practical grammar.

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