Punctuation Marks: Whenever you are writing something, you cannot write it without using punctuation. Without punctuation, the sentence that you will form will become meaningless. In the case of some instances, it has also been observed that the sentence’s meaning often gets changed because of not using punctuation or due to the improper use of punctuation marks. It is better to know the correct use of punctuation; so that your writing makes sense to the person who will read it. In short, it can be said that punctuation helps in structuring a sentence.
Remember one thing that punctuations are as crucial as the choice of word and syntax is. Instead of writing gibberish without using punctuation, it is better to use punctuation properly. This article will offer you a well-detailed guide on all the punctuation and the rules of using them in the English language. So, without any more delays, let us get straight into it.
Punctuation Marks in English
- What is a Punctuation Mark?
- What are the Basic Punctuation Marks That You Should Know
- Rules of Using Punctuation Marks in English
- Final Words on Punctuation Marks
The basic thing that you should have knowledge about is what punctuation marks are? Well, to answer your question, it can be said that they are specific symbols and signs that help in expressing the meaning of the sentence to make it easy to read. While reading, punctuation marks help a reader to understand where to take a pause and for how long. Along with that, you will also be able to know what type of sentence you are saying. If these punctuation marks do not exist in English grammar, you will not be able to differentiate where a sentence is starting and ending. Punctuation makes it easier for both the reader and the writer.
There are several punctuation marks in the English language, but 14 are primarily used while writing anything in the English language among these punctuation marks. In this section, we will make a list of all these punctuation marks, and after that, we will discuss them in detail.
- Full Stop, which is also known as Period (.)
- The comma (,)
- Colon (:)
- Semicolon (;)
- Apostrophe (‘)
- Quotation Marks which is also known as Speech Marks (“)
- Question Mark (?)
- Exclamation Mark (!)
- The hyphen (-)
- Dash (– or —)
- Slash (/)
- Brackets 
- Ellipsis (…)
- Parentheses ()
Full Stop or Period (.)
This punctuation mark is the one that is mainly used in the English language. It is used to conclude a sentence or after an abbreviated form. So, it can be said that you can’t write a meaningful sentence without using a complete stop. Following are the examples of using full stop or period.
We played football every single day.
Mrs. Roy teaches us English.
In most cases, a comma is used to differentiate two ideas in a single sentence. Other than this use of the comma, you also need to remember several different applications of a comma. Let’s discuss all the usefulness of this particular punctuation mark.
Instead of using a full stop or a period, you can use a comma to avoid a lengthy pause which you have to take if a period is there in a sentence.
Jason finished the homework but did not eat his lunch.
- To separate things in a single sentence.
You need to look over everything from singing, dancing, reciting, and acting in the cultural function.
- A comma is often used at the beginning of a sentence after an introductory word such as nevertheless, well, however, et cetera.
You have to find the solution to the problem on your own.
- If you want to formulate a question at the end of a sentence, you also need to use a comma before the start of the question.
You are coming with us, aren’t you?
- While addressing a person, after using their name, you need to use a comma.
Adam, why are you roaming outside of your house?
While writing a sentence, a colon introduces a new thing such as a list, quotation, and a few other things. Other than that, to emphasize a particular item in a sentence, you can put a colon before that part.
We have a few things to do: first, we need to go there, and second, we need to make him do what we want.
There is only one player who can win the match from here: Christiano Ronaldo.
If you want to pause more than a comma but less than a complete stop, you should use a semicolon. If two independent clauses exist in a sentence, you need to pause before reading those two ones after another. That is where a semicolon comes into play.
David fought with Jack for a long time valiantly; at last, he ended up losing the fight.
Apostrophe holds an important place in the English language. Using an apostrophe in the middle of a word indicates possession or the abbreviated form of a phrase.
Rohini didn’t commit the crime.
It was Sonia’s party.
Quotation Marks which is also known as Speech Marks (“)
You can guess the meaning of the quotation mark in a sentence by reading the name of the punctuation. Whenever you are quoting a person directly in a text, you need to use a question mark or speech mark. Other than that, quotation marks are often used to make a word or phrase more ironic. Moreover, you can use them while writing a title for an article or while writing the name of a chapter.
Jeremy said, “I don’t know who this man is.”
You are not dead ” yet.”
It is the title of the article “How to succeed in life.”
Question Mark (?)
Whenever you write an interrogative sentence, you need to use the question mark instead of a full stop at the end of the sentence.
Where do you live?
Exclamation Mark (!)
In the case of emphasizing a sentence, an exclamation mark is added at the end of a sentence. Any kind of emotion such as anger, sorrow, happiness, or any other can be expressed with this sign depending on the meaning of the sentence that you are going to write,
Yeah! We have won the game.
Leave me alone!
Hyphen and dash are very similar-looking punctuations but have different uses. Dash is used to create a compound word.
Johan self-isolated himself from his family.
Dash (– or —)
This punctuation mark dash can be divided into two subclasses: en dash and em dash, respectively. En dash is slightly shorter looking in comparison to the Em dash.
In most cases, En dash is used to join two words that are present in a sentence. The words can describe places, numbers, years et cetera.
Do all the sums present in between 46–70 within a week.
The London–New York flight had taken off.
To emphasize a word while writing a sentence, you can use an Em dash, and they are also used to replace other punctuation marks such as comma, colon.
She screamed at the top of her voice — Yes.
Amanda has visited countries such as — Poland, Austria, and others.
To suggest an alternative for what you mention in a sentence, you can use a slash between the words or phrases. Moreover, you can also use the slash mark to write a fraction of a measurement.
You need to choose a red/green light.
3/4th of the total land is covered by water.
Sam is driving the car at 100 km/hour.
The uses of brackets are very similar to the use of parentheses. Commonly brackets are not used while writing anything in the English language. They are used if the writer wants to correct the mistakes in writing or if the person writing the text wants to add extra information other than the primary text material. Brackets don’t affect the main essence of the sentence that you are going to write,
The policeman said (to the woman), “Did you commit the crime?”
The ellipsis is used if a specific part of a sentence or a few letters are removed from a word. Whenever ellipsis is used in a sentence, it creates a sense of mystery.
You are pretty, but…
Additional information is added inside the parentheses. They are not necessary for a sentence as you can write the information with the main text. It will make no difference at all.
Mr. Jackson has two daughters (one is seven years old and the other is ten years old) who love dancing.
I hope this article has proven to be useful for you and you have learned how to use punctuation in a sentence and when to use which one. Now you can write freely in English without worrying about the fact that the text will be meaningless.