Punctuation is used to create sense, clarity and stress in sentences. It is used to structure and organise the writing. Different punctuation marks are used to give a complete meaning to the sentence.

The various punctuation marks are

the period (or full stop in British English) the comma the exclamation mark the question mark the colon the semicolon the quotation mark the capital letters

THE FULL STOP OR PERIOD (.) is used at the end of sentences. It is used in abbreviations or after initials. It is also used as a decimal point. For example: The students were overjoyed as Christmas was approaching.

A comma is used after each item in a series. It is used to separate words or phrases where the voice would pause slightly. It is used before the year if the date is given as follows - month, day and year (June 12, 2015). It is used to separate two coordinate clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction (and, or, but, for, nor).

For example: I like pineapples, grapes, strawberries and kiwis.

We use question marks to make clear that what is said is a question. When we use a question mark, we do not use a full stop. For example: Why are you late? We use an exclamation mark to indicate strong feelings with a raised pitch in a speech. For example: Listen! I am not going to the market. We use colons to introduce lists, to indicate a subtitle or to indicate a subdivision of a topic, to introduce direct speech. Commonly, a colon is used between sentences when the second sentence explains or justifies the first sentence: For example: Try to keep your flat clean and tidy: it will sell at a better price. We use semi-colons instead of full stops to separate two main clauses. Semi-colons are not commonly used in contemporary English. Quotation marks are used to quote direct speech. For example: The mother asked the son, “Have you completed the homework?”

Capital letters are used to mark the beginning of a sentence. They are used 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.

For example: I have learnt Spanish. Kevin is going to London. The titles of books, magazines and newspapers, plays and music also start with a capital letter.

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