Everything You Should Know About Using Punctuation Marks Correctly


In English grammar, there are 14 different punctuation marks. They include comma, dash, hyphen, colon, semicolon, period, question mark, exclamation point, brackets, braces, apostrophe, quotation marks, parentheses, and ellipsis. Your writing will be considerably simpler to read if you utilize them properly.

Period, question mark, and exclamation point

Every essay or message must have sentences. A period, question mark, or exclamation point can be used to end a sentence. Simple declarative statements are often concluded with a period (.). Most of the time, they finish sentences with no unique emotional connotations and don’t imply an inquiry.

Example: I love playing football.

A question mark (?) is often used after a sentence and denotes a direct inquiry.

Example: Do you enjoy playing football?

The exclamation mark (!) is used to emphasize a point or demonstrate excitement.

Example: Wow, he enjoys playing football!

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Semicolon, comma, and colon

Several punctuation marks may be used within a sentence. The colon, semicolon, and comma are the three most typical ones. They are frequently used interchangeably since they all signify a halt in the speech. How to utilize each symbol correctly is explained here:

Commas separate logic-based components of a statement. It contains concepts or components that are contained inside the framework of a phrase. Additionally, recurring components of a phrase, such as numbers, dates, or items that are similar to one another, can be broken up using commas. A comma is used before and after stating someone’s name, after a letter, and after a greeting.

To divide a statement into logical parts

Example: When Sarah got home, the soup was cooking.

To divide repetitive parts

Example: I enjoy sports like baseball, basketball, and football.

When joining separate clauses, the semicolon (;) is typically used. How will you know whether to use semicolons or commas? A semicolon connects an extra independent clause in a sentence. The statement will still make sense if you omit the period. This won’t be the case with a comma where clauses depend on one another.

Example: Damian was dejected; he knew he would lose the contest.

As you can see, it is simple to divide these two statements.

Colons (:), on the other hand, can be used in three different situations. Whenever you begin a series, an explanation, an example, or a quotation.

Example: It was up to Sarah to do the following:graduate with good grades, get a job, and rise to the top position in the company.

A colon can be used to separate distinct clauses. Similar to when there is a semicolon, except in this instance, the second half of the phrase clarifies the first.

Example: I had burgers from Mac Donald’s yesterday: I didn’t want burgers today.

When you wish to highlight a certain section of your statement, you may also use the colon:

Example: Sarah never lost sight of one thing: her God.

Other situations in which a colon may be used include time, ratio, business correspondence, and references.

Hyphen and dash

Other often-used punctuation signs include the dash and hyphen. They are significantly distinct even though they appear to be identical.

A dash is used to denote range or connections and divide sentences into assertions.

Example: Damina firmly responded — Yes!

To combine two or more words into one thought, use a hyphen. We obtain a compound word in this way.

Example: She is a well-known con artist.

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Parentheses, Braces, and Brackets

Words that serve as a group or an explanation for the next section of a phrase are included using symbols like brackets, braces, and parentheses. Most often, brackets ([]) are used as notations for technical explanations or to clarify meaning. The crucial aspect of brackets is that the statement will still make sense even if the material inside them is removed.

Example: She [Sarah] was the first member of the family to earn a degree.

Braces ({}) have a similar appearance but are mostly used to represent math and computer programming units.

Example: 10{5+[6-9]}=x.

Curved notations called parenthesis (()) emphasize ideas or qualifiers. One crucial aspect of parenthesis is that, in most circumstances, commas may be used in their place without altering the meaning.

Example: Sarah Ike (a business woman) was responsible for the positive changes in the organization.

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Ellipsis and apostrophe

The final and least often used three types of punctuation are the apostrophe, quote marks, and ellipsis. When a letter or letters are missing from a word, when a word is in the possessive case, or when lowercase characters are plural, an apostrophe (‘) is typically used.

Omitted letter

Example: I’ve always liked fish.

Possessive case

Example: Sarah’s cat is aggressive.

Plural for lower case letters

Example: The word “lollipop” has 3 l’s.

In writing or printing, the ellipsis, which consists of three periods (…), is used to denote an omission or halt in the author’s ideas. Ellipses can also be used to eliminate words that are superfluous but do not alter the sense of the statement as a whole.

Example: He was counting one, two, and three…

Use of Quotation Marks Quotation marks (” “) are most frequently used to paraphrase another person’s remarks.

Example: She said, “I know God will not fail.”

You can use quotation marks in a variety of situations. They can be used in conjunction with direct quotations to paraphrase someone’s words, with the names of certain works, to deviate from the literal sense of what was said, and when writing words as words.

The important rule to remember is: “Quotation marks are used only with direct quotes”. You can quote not only a person, but also a written source.


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