Meaning | Definition
Punctuation is the name of the marks used in writing. They are very essential signs to understand a sentence in correct way. They represent the expression and feeling in a sentence.
Need For Punctuation
Punctuation is used to bring clarity and meaning to writing.
Use of Capital Letters
A capital letter is used at the beginning of a sentence.
- The bear in the zoo was a big one.
- Cycling is a good form of exercise.
- His favorite pastime is reading mystery stories.
A capital letter is used with proper nouns.
- On Saturday morning we have Inter School Soccer Match.
- Roger is a good tennis player.
- Mother Teresa was born in Skopje, Macedonia on Monday, August 27, 1910.
A capital letter is used with adjectives that are derived from proper nouns.
- Most tombs of the Mughal era were inspired by Persian architecture.
- We had dinner at a Chinese restaurant.
- David Copperfield is my favourite Dickensian character.
The pronoun “I” is always written in capital.
My parents say I spend too much time surfing the Internet. I think it’s a great way to gather information.
In titles, the first letter of each main word is capitalized.
- Buckingham palace is the home to the Queen of England.
- He has a degree in Nuclear Physics from Cambridge University.
Punctuation marks are symbols that help us to organize and structure sentences. The term punctuation is derived from a Latin term punctum. It means the correct use of points or stops in writing.
The character below lists some punctuation mark and a few rules.
[A] Capital Letter
- Starts a sentence
- Indicates proper noun
- Emphasizes certain words
- All I want is a pastry.
- You can call me Ronnie.
- I want it Today!
. Full Stop
A full stop marks the end of a sentence. While reading a sentence we need to pause after a full stop. Full stops end sentences that are not questions or exclamations. A full stop is used at the end of every telling sentence.
- This is an Elephant.
- Ann is an excellent teacher.
- Canada is fascinating country.
A full stop is also used at the end of an abbreviated word or between the letters of an abbreviated word. We DO NOT use a full stop with abbreviations formed from the first capital letters. For example: BBC, USA and MA
? Question Mark
A question mark is needed after a direct question. The question can be a short word or a whole sentence.
- Question marks end sentences that are questions.
- Is this your assignment?
! Exclamation Mark or Sign
An exclamation mark is used after a strong interjection and after strong imperative sentences which mark certain direct commands.
- Exclamation marks end a sentence that is an exclamation.
- Don’t pick that!
” “ Quotation or Speech Marks
Double quotation marks enclose quotations. It marks a direct speech.
- Quotation marks enclose direct speech – it can be double or single.
- Quotation marks are used at the beginning and end of a phrase to show that it is being written exactly as it was originally said or written.
- Commas and periods are always placed immediately before the closing quotation mark.
- “How are you?”, she asked me.
A comma is used to organize thoughts into logical groups. It indicates a much shorter pause than a full stop. It separates the different parts of a sentence or names in a list.
- A comma places a pause between clauses within a sentence.
- It separates items in a list.
- It separate adjectives in a series.
- We were late, although it didn’t matter.
- You will need eggs, butter, salt and cheese.
- I wore a red-coloured, long and frilly skirt.
‘ ‘ Single Quotation Marks
- It completely encloses clauses inserted in a sentence.
- Mark speech from words denoting who said that.
- We were , though we had rushed to get there, late for the film.
‘Thank you ,’ I said.
- Hyphen connects elements of certain words.
- Fair-weather friend
- Introduces lists (including examples)
- Introduces summaries
- Introduces (direct) quotations
- Introduces a second clause that expands or illustrates the meaning of the first
- We learned the following at the camp: rock-climbing, canoeing and rafting.
- During the salsa class we were told: dance salsa on any beat or across the beat.
- My instructor always says: “bend those knees.”
- The snow hardened: it turned into ice.
A semicolon represents a pause greater than a comma. Semicolon is used to separate the independent clauses of a compound sentence. Such clauses are NOT joined by a coordinating conjunction (and, but, or nor, for, so, yet).
In separating the two clauses of a compound sentence, the semicolon is slightly stronger than a comma, but weaker than a period. Remember that the clause before the semicolon and the clause after the semicolon should be complete on their own; we should be able to replace the semicolon with a period and get two grammatically correct and complete sentences.
- Semicolon separates two closely linked clauses and shows that there is a link between them.
- It separate items in a complex list.
- On Tuesday, the tram was late; the bus was early.
- You can go by and aeroplane, train and a taxi; channel tunnel train, coach, then a short walk; or aeroplane and car.
‘ Apostrophe of Possession
- Denotes the ownership of something
- This is Betsy’s scarf.
- These are Peter’s books.
‘ Apostrophe of Contraction
- Shows the omission of a letter(s) when two (or occasionally more) words are contracted
- Don’t walk on the grass.
- She’d’ve told us. (double contraction is used in spoken English only)
. . . Ellipsis
- Ellipsis shows the omission of words.
- It also indicates a pause.
- The teacher moaned , “Look at this floor … a mess… this class.”
- Louis said: ‘I think I locked the door… no, hang on … did I?’
( ) Brackets
- Brackets set apart a word or phrase added to a sentence to give some additional information.
- The necklace (which had been in my family for years) was stolen.
- Indicates additional information, with more emphasis than a comma.
- Indicates a pause, especially for effect at the end of a sentence.
- Contains extra information (used instead of brackets).
- She is an author – and a very good one too.
- We all know what to expect – the best.
- You solved that sum – and I don’t know how – before anybody else.