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.

Contribution & Thoughts 2

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

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