Punctuation is used are used to regulate texts, clarify their meanings and separate words into sentences. It provides a structure to and organizes the sentence. There are different kinds of punctuation marks that are used in English.

The various punctuation marks are

period (or full stop in British English)


exclamation mark

question mark



inverted commas

capital letter


hyphen and brackets


A. FULL STOP OR PERIOD (.) is used:

1. At the end of every sentence.

2. To mark the end of a declarative or an imperative sentence.

3. After abbreviations.

B. COMMA (,) is used:

1. With numbers to separate off the thousands, millions and billions.

2. Between items in a series or list.

3. With salutations.

4. With affirmatives, negatives and question tags.

C. QUESTION MARK (?) is used: at the end of interrogative sentences.

D. EXCLAMATION MARK (!) is used:

1. To indicate strong feelings with a raised pitch in a speech.

2. In the case of interjections.

3. In a non-interrogative sentence beginning with "what" or "how".


1. At the beginning of sentences.

2. At the beginning of proper nouns. Proper nouns include personal names (including titles before names), nationalities and languages, days of the week and months of the year, public holidays as well as geographical places.

F. SEMI COLON (;) is used to indicate a greater pause than a comma and is used in the following situations:

1. To separate larger clauses from one another.

2. To give greater emphasis to different clauses.

3. To divide certain coordinate clauses.

4. To separate pairs of words.

G. COLON (:) is used:

1. To introduce a quotation or a speech.

2. To introduce an enumeration (list) or examples.

3. To separate two contrasted sentences.

4. Sometimes the colon is followed by a dash.

H. INVERTED COMMAS (“___”) are used to indicate the beginning and the end of a quotation, or of the actual words used by a speaker.

I. APOSTROPHE (‘) is used to show that some letter or letters has or have been omitted.

J. HYPHEN (-) is used to join the parts of a compound word.

K. BRACKETS (...), {...}, [...] are used to enclose a parenthesis.

L. DASH (-) is used:

1. To indicate a break or sudden turn of thought.

2. To introduce a parenthetical expression in a sentence.

3. Before a word when it is repeated for the sake of emphasis.

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