Punc­tu­a­tion is prob­a­bly one of the tough ele­ments of Eng­lish one remem­bers from his/her school edu­ca­tion. But, as you are here, it is time for you know that punc­tu­a­tion is so sim­ple pro­vided you are aware of some appro­pri­ate rules per­tain­ing to the usage of for­mal Eng­lish. Punc­tu­a­tion is also very impor­tant not only in the for­mal writ­ings but also dur­ing con­ver­sa­tions and pub­lic speaking.

Punc­tu­a­tion is sim­ply that refers to the appro­pri­ate usage of putting points or stops in writ­ing. For any writ­ten thing to be under­stood, it should be punc­tu­ated prop­erly. The fol­low­ing are the prin­ci­pal stops used in punctuation.

  1. Full stop or period (.)
  2. Comma (,)
  3. Semi colon (;)
  4. Colon (:)
  5. Ques­tion mark (?)
  6. Exclam­a­tory mark (!)
  7. Hyphen (-)
  8. Apos­tro­phe (‘)

We below give the main rules or guide­lines for the usage of all stops.



Full stop:

A full stop is used

a)      At the end of the sentence.(unless a ques­tion mark or exclam­a­tory mark is used).

b)      After ini­tials in name, coun­tries, medals, degrees.



V.C. (Vice chancellor)


c) After short­ened forms of words that do not end in the last let­ter of the word.



A full stop is not used

  1. After short­ened forms of words that end with the last let­ter of the word.

Dept (Depart­ment)

Lieut (Lieu­tenant)

  1. After sym­bols of mea­sure­ment km, kmph etc.
  2. After head­ings and titles.
  3. After dates: 25 June, 1890.
  4. 5. After a sig­na­ture in a letter.


A comma rep­re­sents a short­est pause, and is used

  1. To sep­a­rate words in a list

Exam­ple: I gave him a book, a rub­ber, and a ruler.

  1. To sep­a­rate adjec­tives in a sentence.

Exam­ple:  She wore a beau­ti­ful, long new coat.

  1. To show a pause by sep­a­rat­ing a phrase.

Exam­ple: The cat yawn­ing lazily closed its eyes.

  1. To show a pause by sep­a­rat­ing sentences.

Exam­ple: His room was dirty, books were scat­tered and dirty clothes lit­tered the floor.

  1. Before ‘but’

Exam­ple: The new baby was small, but strong.

  1. Before ‘as’, ‘since’, ’because’.
  2. After par­tici­ple phrases that begin sentences.

Exam­ple: Feel­ing tired, I went to bed.

  1. Before and after the words that give more infor­ma­tion about the subject.

Exam­ple:  My friend, who is a lawyer, is a ten­nis player.

  1. After ‘how­ever’.

Exam­ple: we know how­ever, that she is going to die.

  1. To sep­a­rate two prin­ci­pal clauses joined by ‘but’, ‘so’, ‘for’, ‘or’, ‘nor’.

Exam­ple: Fin­ish your home­work, or you will be punished.

  1. After ‘yes’ and ‘no’ when these begin an answer.

Exam­ple: Yes, I’m going to town.

No, it’s not late.

Com­mas are not used in a clause that specif­i­cally iden­ti­fies the noun.

Com­mas are not used in a clause that specif­i­cally iden­ti­fies the noun.

Exam­ples: This is the book which I was given for Christmas.

The teacher spoke to the boy who had misbehaved.

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2 Responses to “punctuation”

  1. Where do you get your inspi­ra­tion? I love your writ­ing style. I just hope that I could write some­thing like this someday.

  2. Excep­tional post full of use­ful tips! My site is fairly new and I am hav­ing a baf­fling time get­ting my sub­scribers to leave com­ments. They are com­ing to the web­site but I have the impres­sion that “nobody wants to be first”.

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