Punctuation is the system of symbols (. , ! – : etc) that we use to separate sentences and parts of sentences, and to make their meaning clear. Each symbol is called a “punctuation mark”.
The Value of Punctuation
An English teacher wrote these words on the board:
woman without her man is nothing
The teacher then asked the students to punctuate the words correctly. The men wrote the top line. The women wrote the bottom line.
Summary of Punctuation Marks
Click on the link for each punctuation mark to find out more.
|full stop or period||I like English.|
|comma||I speak English, French and Thai.|
|semi-colon||I don’t often go swimming; I prefer to play tennis.|
|colon||You have two choices: finish the work today or lose the contract.|
|hyphen||This is a rather out-of-date book.|
|dash||In each town—London, Paris and Rome—we stayed in youth hostels.|
|question mark||Where is Shangri-La?|
exclamation point (AmE)
|“Help!” she cried. “I’m drowning!”|
|slash, forward slash or oblique||Please press your browser’s Refresh/Reload button.|
|double quotation marks||“I love you,” she said.|
|single quotation marks||‘I love you,’ she said.|
|apostrophe||This is John’s car.|
|underline||Have you read War and Peace?|
|round brackets||I went to Bangkok (my favourite city) and stayed there for two weeks.|
|square brackets||The newspaper reported that the hostages [most of them French] had been released.|
|ellipsis mark||One happy customer wrote: “This is the best program…that I have ever seen.”|