Posts Tagged ‘using punctuation marks’

How to use punctuation marks?

In pre­vi­ous post we learn about some of the punc­tu­a­tion marks. We also learned how to use them and where to use them. Here are some more punc­tu­a­tion marks that we use gen­er­ally when we are writ­ing in English.

punctuation symbols

punc­tu­a­tion symbols

Semi colon:

a)      A semi colon is used to join sen­tences with prin­ci­pal clauses not con­nected by a conjunction.

Exam­ple: The rocket rose; it sud­den burst into a ball of flame.

We were con­fi­dent; the game was about to start; I felt nervous.

b)      It is used to sep­a­rate clauses which already con­tain commas.


Last year, my brother won every match; there was no one who could defeat him.


a)      Before enu­mer­a­tion of examples.

Exam­ple: This year I’m study­ing these sub­jects: geog­ra­phy, Eng­lish, his­tory, maths and biology.

b)      To intro­duce a quotation.

Exam­ple: Fran­cis says: “Read­ing makes a full man, writ­ing an exact man, speak­ing a ready man”.

c)       To intro­duce state­ment which tells more about the one that comes before it.

Exam­ple: My mother taught me two golden rules: I was to do my best and never tell lies.

Ques­tion marks:

Ques­tion marks are used at the end of a sen­tence that asks a direct question.


Did your sis­ter do her homework?

Is the vehi­cle repaired?

Ques­tion marks are not used

a)      When using indi­rect or reported speech.

Exam­ple: He was asked if he wanted more salary.

b)      When the sen­tence is a request.

Exam­ple: Would you please pass the sauce.

Excla­ma­tion marks:

Excla­ma­tion marks are used after words or a group of words which express sud­den feel­ing: Alas! , Hur­rah!, etc.

Excla­ma­tion marks are not used along with a full stop.


If the excla­ma­tion mark comes after one or two words, start the next words with a cap­i­tal letter.

Exam­ple: Help! Fetch me a glass of water!


Hyphens are used

a)      Hyphens are used to con­nect parts of some com­pound words.

Exam­ples: well-written, mother-in-law.

b)      Hyphens are used in num­bers and fractions.

Exam­ples: Thirty-five



Apos­tro­phes are used

a)      With nouns to show own­er­ship and possession.

Exam­ple: dog’s paw, men’s room etc.

b)      To write plu­rals of num­bers and let­ters of an alphabet.

Exam­ple: There are two S’s in this word.

c)       In expres­sions using time.

Exam­ple: a minute’s rest

A five year’s plan.

Two year’s time

d)      In names of churches

Exam­ple: St.Joseph’s School.

e)      In names of churches end­ing in ‘S’.

Exam­ple: St.Nicholas’

f)       In place of num­bers in dates.

Exam­ple: ’85 (instead of 1985)

g)      To show own­er­ship in a phrase.

Exam­ple: The king of Bhutan’s palace.

h)      To show joint possession.

Tom and Mary’s cat.(otherwise Tom’s and Mary’s cats)


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.

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