Punctuation in English

A lot of the punctuation is the same for various languages, but a lot of the uses my be different. Even if you feel like you have a grasp on English punctuation, you might want to skim through this to make sure. I’m going to cover the main punctuation marks which serve a grammatical purpose.

Period . – This is used at the end of a sentence. It’s also used if you are abbreviating a word.
My name is Yvonne.
Mr. Crawford is my husband. (Please note in the UK, they do not put a period after the abbreviation of personal titles.)

Comma ,– This is used when you have 2 or more adjectives, when listing, separating a city and state, writing dates, breaking into a sentence with information that adds information, after an introductionary phrase, separating 2 independent clauses (with a conjunction like ‘and’), when you are addressing someone, or when writing dialog.
The big, brown cat is happy.
I have apples, oranges and grapes in my fruit salad.
I live in Charleston, South Carolina.
Today’s date is March 22, 2010.
Brian Crawford, my husband, is Canadian.
During my nap, I was startled by the doorbell.
My daughter slipped and fell, but she was okay.

Nicole, can you take out the trash?
Lucy said, “That’s my car, not yours!”

Question mark ? – This is used at the end of a sentence which is interrogative in nature.
Will you please bring me a glass of water?

Quotation marks “” – This is used when quoting an article/person or when writing dialog.
According to a book by Powers, life is “what you make it.”
Susan said, “Hello, how are you?”

Semi-colon ; – This is used to separate 2 related but completely independent clauses (without a conjunction like ‘and’). It’s used before a conjunctive adverb like however. Also, it is used in a list where commas are already there.
I went to the supermarket; I bought some milk.
I’m very poor; however, I just bought a new BMW. (make sure to put a comma after ‘however’)
I have visited many cities: London, England; Dublin, Ireland; and Paris, France.

Colon : – This is used to introduce a list. It should be used after a complete sentence only.
I have lots of children: Amelia, Lachlan and Callum.

Exclamation mark (exclamation point) ! – This is used at the end of a sentence and shows that the writer is excited or wants to add emphasis to a sentence.
I just won 100 dollars!

Apostrophe (single quotation marks) ‘ – This is used to show possession, make contractions, or writing a quotation within a quotation
This is Sally’s shirt that I am wearing.
Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.
Peter said, “Donny said, ‘How about those Cowboys?'”

Hyphen – – This is used for adding a prefix, compound words and with numbers.
He did a re-creation of the last huge party (You can use it if it might be unclear if you did not use it.) (re-creation, not recreation.)
I want to opt-out of the party.

Dash – – This is used when you want to make a interruption in your sentence.
I was really surprised – as you assumed when you saw my face – that my mother gave me a new car.

2 thoughts on “Punctuation in English”

  1. Yeah! This is what I was talking about! Thank you for this post, teacher! As always, a HUGE help for me! 😀

    I’m sleepy now, thinking clearly is out of the question at the moment LOL, but maybe tomorrow or something I’ll come up with more questions about this and other stuff.

  2. I’m glad you like it. I wrote it just for you! If you have any other things you want me to write about, just let me know!

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