Punctuation marks are integral part of sentences. When we talk, we use both short and long pauses to make our meaning clear. Similarly, while writing English language we use different kinds of punctuation marks as pauses to convey the intended meaning to the reader. Use of correct punctuation mark is very important as their inappropriate use can totally change the meaning.
- Sera said I can play piano. (Incorrect)
Sera said, “I can play piano.” (Correct)
- Hello can you keep quiet I am working (Incorrect)
Hello! Can you keep quiet? I am working. (Correct)
Some of the important punctuation marks are explained below with examples.
- Full stop (.)
- Question mark/ Mark of Interrogation (?)
- The Apostrophe(‘)
- Inverted Commas (‘’ ,“ ”)
- Mark of Exclamation (!)
- The Colon (:)
- Semicolon (;)
- The Comma (,)
- The Dash and Hyphen ( – )
Full stop is a small dot which denotes the longest pause. It is put at the end of a sentence to close a statement. If an interrogative sentence expresses a polite request then instead of Question mark, full stop can be used. It is also used after abbreviated forms of names, degrees, weights, and measures.
- I am studying an M.B.A.
- Give me some sugar.
- The meat weighs 5kg.
Mark of interrogation is used to at the end of questions.
- Do you have a car?
- What is she doing?
Apostrophe is another punctuation mark which is a short pause used to make short forms of words, show possession, to form plurals etc.
- Don’t make noise.
- James’s hair is curly.
Inverted commas are also known as quotation marks. Inverted commas are mainly used in direct speech when we are writing the actual words of a speaker. Also the titles of poems, essays books etc. are put inside inverted commas. Single inverted commas and double inverted commas are two types of inverted commas.
- My father asked my brother, “Who said ‘time and tide waits for none’?”
- He said, “I love the smell of your hair.”
Mark of Exclamation is used at the end of a word or sentence which express sudden emotions like: surprise, hatred, pity, anger etc.
- Just get Lost!
- Wow! It is a beautiful house.
The Colon is used when we introduce a list of items, express two opposite ideas/views or an explanation.
- He builds hope: she destroys it.
- The different fruits are: apple, mango, watermelon and pomegranate.
It is that punctuation mark which expresses medium pause. Semicolon is used with coordinate clauses when they contain commas or are not joined by connectives (conjunctions).
- He studied daily; he worked really hard; he took tuition; he got good marks.
- My grandmother does not talk to me; she does not care about me; she gets angry seeing my letters.
Comma is that punctuation mark which is regarded as a shortest pause. Comma is used so that meaning in a sentence does not get mixed up. It is used for separation of words to convey the correct meaning to readers. We use comma to bring clarity in our writing. Use of comma can change the meaning of sentence altogether. However, we should not use comma randomly.
- He came home, took shower, ate and watched television.
- My teacher, in spite his poor health, comes to teach every day.
Both look similar but Dash is longer and hyphen is shorter in size. Dash is generally used in the middle of a sentence to introduce an explanation and hyphen is used while writing compound numbers or words.
- Parents, husband, daughters, sons – everybody gave me gifts.
- I am twenty-five year old man.