How to use Punctuation Marks — Part 2

I hope you put to prac­tice the rules stated in the pre­vi­ous post where I talked about punc­tu­a­tion marks. Extend­ing for­ward in this post we would look into the most oft used punc­tu­a­tion marks– com­mas, semi colons etc.

Excla­ma­tion Mark

Excla­ma­tion marks are used to show the inten­sity of emo­tions. It is often used in direct speech and infor­mal notes, mes­sages and let­ters. The excla­ma­tion mark is used to express gasps, aston­ish­ment or sur­prise or to empha­size a com­ment or short, sharp phrase. It is less com­mon in for­mal writing.


  • Great work! Congratulations!
  • “Leave me alone!” she screamed


The com­mas are undoubt­edly the most used excla­ma­tion marks. They help in mak­ing the sen­tence more con­cise.
There are a num­ber of dif­fer­ent uses for com­mas in Eng­lish. Com­mas are used to:

  1. Sep­a­rate a list of items. This is one of the most com­mon uses of a comma. Notice that a comma is included before the con­junc­tion ‘and’ which comes before the final ele­ment of a list.

    • I like read­ing, lis­ten­ing to music, tak­ing long walks, and vis­it­ing with my friends.
    • They would like books, mag­a­zines, DVDs, video cas­settes, and other learn­ing mate­ri­als for their library.
  2. Sep­a­rate phrases (clauses). This is espe­cially true after a begin­ning depen­dent clause or a long prepo­si­tional phrase.

    • In order to qual­ify for your cer­tifi­cate, you will need to take the TOEFL exam.
    • Although he wanted to come, he wasn’t able to attend the course.
  3. Sep­a­rate two inde­pen­dent clauses that are con­nected by a con­junc­tion such as ‘but’.

    • They wanted to pur­chase a new car, but their finan­cial sit­u­a­tion would not allow it.
    • I’d really enjoy see­ing a film this evening, and I’d like to go out for a drink.
  4. Intro­duce a direct quote (as opposed to indi­rect speech i.e. He said he wanted to come …).

    • The boy said, “My father is often away dur­ing the week on busi­ness trips.
    • “His doc­tor replied, “If you don’t stop smok­ing, you run the risk of a heart attack.”
  5. Sep­a­rate appos­i­tives (a noun, or noun phrase) or non-defining rel­a­tive clauses.

    • Bill Gates, the rich­est man in the world, comes from Seattle.
    • My only sis­ter, who is a fan­tas­tic ten­nis player, is in great shape.

    Importance of Colon

    Impor­tance of Colon

Semi Colons

The semi­colon is placed some­where between a weak full stop and a strong comma. To dis­tin­guish between the weak full stop and strong comma you need to apply all the rules stated above in the comma header. Once you are sure about the need of a punc­tu­a­tion mark but none of the comma rules fit into it, then you are look­ing into semi colons. Semi­colons are used to join phrases and sen­tences with­out hav­ing to use con­junc­tion where the join­ing parts are inde­pen­dent by themselves.


He loves study­ing; He can’t get enough of school.
What an incred­i­ble sit­u­a­tion; it must make you nervous.


Colons pre­cede a list, an expla­na­tion or an exam­ple. You do not put a space before a colon, but you do need a space after one. A colon can be used for two purposes:

1. To pro­vide addi­tional details and explanation.


  • He had many rea­sons for join­ing the club: to get in shape, to make new friends, to lose some weight, and to get out of the house.
  • She gave notice for the fol­low­ing rea­sons: bad pay, hor­ri­ble hours, poor rela­tions with col­leagues, and her boss.

2. To intro­duce a direct quote (a comma can also be used in this situation).


  • He announced to his friends: “I’m get­ting married!”
  • She cried out: “I never want to see you again!”
Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “How to use Punctuation Marks — Part 2”

  1. Everett Lary says:

    I hope you will keep updat­ing your con­tent con­stantly as you have one ded­i­cated reader here.

  2. Lyda Chant says:

    i know i’m a lit­tle off topic, but i just wanted to say i love the lay­out of your blog. i’m new to the blo­gegine plat­form, so any sug­ges­tions on get­ting my blog look­ing nice would be appreciated.

Free Sprint Phones with Plans | Thanks to CD Rates, Conveyancing and Registry Software