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

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

Example Sentences

  • 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.

Example 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


  • Co.
  • etc.
  • e.g.
  • i.e.
  • no.

? 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.

Example Sentence

  • 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.

Example Sentence

  • 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.

Example Sentence

  • "How are you?", she asked me.

, Comma

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.

Example Sentences

  • 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.

Example Sentences

  • We were , though we had rushed to get there, late for the film.
    'Thank you ,' I said.



  • Hyphen connects elements of certain words.


  • North-East
  • Fair-weather friend
  • X-factor

: Colon


  • Introduces lists (including examples)
  • Introduces summaries
  • Introduces (direct) quotations
  • Introduces a second clause that expands or illustrates the meaning of the first

Example Sentences

  • 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.

; Semicolon

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.

Example Sentences

  • 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

Example Sentences

  • 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

Example Sentences

  • 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.

Example Sentences

  • 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.

--- Dash


  • 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).

Example Sentences

  • 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.

6 Thoughts

/ can be used to replace the word “or” in a sentence.

- Samara August 20, 2020

I useful reference to have when checking uses of punctuation; and particularly for individuals with disability and being dyslexic.

Thank you

- Althea Larman August 12, 2020

We must attach the importance to the standardized use of the punctuation marks mentioned above.

- Anonymous March 5, 2020

To Excell English, the speaker must comply with the rules given for each of the punctuation marks and be sure that there are some punctuation marks (exclamation mark) which can’t be used in academic writing.

- University Student,(Deng by name) November 6, 2019

Revisiting semi colon to make it clear

- Hasan Naini March 5, 2019

So very helpful and refreshing to an “ole timer'” hell-bent on rediscovering correct english

- John Cooper January 16, 2019

Add your thoughts

Idiom of the Day

read the riot act

Meaning: warning someone by scolding them to improve their behavior

Example: She'd been bearing bad behavior from her employee and thought it was time to read him the riot act. Read on


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