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14 Punctuation Marks In English Language

In simple words, The right use of stops in writing is known as punctuation.

Punctuation is to words as cartilage is to bone. Their significance compels us to sayNot To Ignore Punctuation Marks.

There are 14 Punctuation Marks In English Language, which are as follows,

  1. The Period (.)
  2. Question mark (?)
  3. The exclamation point (!)
  4. The comma (,)
  5. Semicolon (;)
  6. Colon (:)
  7. Dash (­­­—)’
  8. The hyphen (-) *Hyphen is shorter than a dash.
  9. Parentheses ()
  10. Brackets [] *Brackets are used for all types of Brackets, Parentheses also comes into this category
  11. Braces {}
  12. The apostrophe (‘)
  13. Quotation marks (“)
  14. Ellipsis (…) *An Omission

Let us discuss these 14 punctuation marks of English briefly.

The Period (.)

The period or Full Stop represents separation and pause. It is used to end the imperative or declarative sentences. Below is the example to understand Full stop,

The most gentle, pious, noble John died last day.

Periods are also used in abbreviations, but, nowadays they are omitted.

Below is the example to see the period or Full Stop in abbreviations,

U.N.O. or UNO (Modern Style)

Question mark (?)

When there is a stop but with a question, the sentence will take the Question mark here. We will use a Full stop here. Examples may be,

Have you completed your task?

Are you with John today?

What is the price of this masterpiece?

Note: While making an indirect question, there is no need to use question marks, Example may be,

He asked me whether I had finished my work.

The exclamation point (!)

Whenever there is a sudden emotion or wish in a clause or sentence, there comes the exclamation point. It is also used after interjections. Examples may be,

What a terrible scene this is!

Oh, Sam!


Long Live Pakistan!

The comma (,)

It is known as the shortest pause and is used to separate a series of words examples may be,

He lost property, money, grace, and everything he made.

He performed the activity quickly, confidently, and within time.

Forget not the words of Chloe Thurlow, “Choosing whether or not to insert a comma is the same as choosing whether or not to buy a house.” 

Semicolon (;)

The semicolon is used for the pause, but the pause here is of much importance in contrast to the pause of a comma. Here is the example of a compound sentence; the example below shows the use of semicolons aptly.

He was a clever, brave man; honest; so everyone respected him a lot.

If there is some loose clause, the semicolon will also be used there. For example,

Her character was great; her life was remembered after her death.

Colon (:)

The colon is also for the pause but greater than the pause shown by a semicolon. Often it is used with a dash.

We can add here the example of the quotation,

Shakespeare says:- “Life … is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.

When someone has to mention several things one by one, Colon will be used there. This is, in short, is known as Enumeration example may be,

The parts of the verb in English are: present tense, past tense, and past participle.

Dash (­­­—)

The dash is used abrupt stop or change of thought process an example may be,

If my friend were alive—but it is better not to lament our past.

If someone wants to resume a scattered subject, the dash will work the best. Like,

Relatives, wife, sons—all left him suddenly.

The hyphen (-) *Hyphen is shorter than a dash.

It is also a line but shorter than the dash, and the purpose of the hyphen is to connect parts of a compound word. Below is the example,

Long-winded, Jack-of-all-trades.

Parentheses ()

Parentheses are used to separate a clause or phrase from the sentence, which does not belong to the sentence grammatically. Below is the example,

He got what he wished for from God (it was his much-awaited wish) within a few months after, a short span of struggle.

Brackets [] *Brackets are used for all types of Brackets Parentheses also comes into this category

Brackets are used in a sentence for the information. This information is not essentially connected to the main subject of the topic discussed in the sentence. It will not change the meaning if removed from the sentence. Here is the example,

These stories are used [in classrooms] to show morals, but if you want to tell your own stories, you can add.

Braces {}

Braces indicate a series of equal choices. An example can be:

Choose your pizza extra topping from {pepper, onion, sausage, tomato, feta, anchovies, bacon, sun-dried tomatoes, chicken, broccoli} and from much much more.

The apostrophe (‘)

The apostrophe is used to show if there is some omission. We often see these omissions in short forms.

Examples are:

Don’t, I’ve, We’ll

Whenever someone wants to make plurals of the letters, such as,

I always forget to dot my i’s to cross my t’s.

Quotation marks (“)

Whenever there are exact words of an author, writer, or any speaker, we use these quotation marks.

And if there is a quotation within a quotation, single commas will be used. The following example may explain it well.

“You may say,” Smith added, “that ‘I like what is get’ is the same thing as ‘I get what I like.’”

Ellipsis (…) *An Omission

These are three dots(…) used to show an omitted phrase, word, or paragraph from a quoted passage. Ellipsis saves space, which is not relevant.

Thoreau believes that “if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined,he will live with the license of a higher order of beings.”

The 14 punctuation marks in the English language are like the foundation stones. Color-up your language by practicing these all. The wrong usage of these all can change the meaning of your language altogether.

Finally, remember the words of Russell Baker, he said,
“When speaking aloud, you punctuate constantly — with body language. Your listener hears commas, dashes, question marks, exclamation points, quotation marks as you shout, whisper, pause, wave your arms, roll your eyes, wrinkle your brow. In writing, punctuation plays the role of body language. It helps readers hear the way you want to be heard.”

Let me conclude our discussion with the wonderful words of John Lennard, “Punctuation is to words as cartilage is to bone, permitting articulation and bearing stress.”



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