Punctuation Marks Part 1

Punctuation Marks Part 1


     When we talk, we naturally pause, add emphasis to what we are saying and organise our ideas so that the person listening is able to understand what we are saying without difficulty. But when we write, this is perhaps less intuitive, and one way of shaping our written language is through using punctuation.


                                                                            Full stop (.)

   - A full stop, also known as a period (.) in American English, is one of the most commonly used punctuation marks in the English language We use full stop at the end of a sentence when we finish a complete idea.

  • John grew up in Birmingham in the 1980s.

   - We also use full stops for abbreviations (in lower case) - for instance, when we talk about time.

  • "See you at 5 p.m. tomorrow, David."

(Note: The full stop comes before the speech marks in direct speech)


                                                                                  Comma (,)

     Comma is thought of as taking a breath, because it is like a pause in a sentence. The most common uses are:

   - To separate clauses (a sentence part containing a subject and a verb), especially when they are joined by and, but, so or, nor, yet or for.

  • I hadn't finished my homework, but I decided to go out anyway.

   - We also use commas to separate clauses that add extra information to a sentence.

  • On Tuesday, which is my birthday, we are going to an Indian restaurant.

(Note: "which is my birthday" is extra information, because the sentence makes sense without it.)

   - We use a comma to separate items when we are listing more than two of them.

  • For dinner last night I had soup, risotto, salad, and a chocolate cake.

   -  After introductory phrases we also use commas.

  • Grabbing his bag, Harry rushed out of the room.

   - When we address someone, we also use commas before names.

  • Let's eat, Marcus.

(Note: Without a comma in this sentence, something would be very wrong, and Marcus would not be very happy)

     When you are not sure about using commas, try using one and then omitting it. Does the meaning of the sentence change? Does it make your writing easier to understand?

                                                                 Question Mark (?)

     Question marks always come at the end of questions in English, unless it is an indirect question that doesn't begin with a question form.

  • Direct question:
    Where is the bank?
  • Indirect question:
    I'd like to know where the bank is.


                                                 Exclamation Mark ( ! )

   - We put exclamation marks at the end of exclamatory sentences. An exclamatory sentence expresses a strong or forceful emotion, such as anger, surprise, or joy.

  • I got a perfect score on the SAT!


   - Occasionally, you might see one at the end of a sentence that is phrased as a question.

  • How could I have forgotten to pack hats!

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