Communication is incomplete without sentences. And Sentences are meaningless without punctuation.

Punctuation marks are important elements of English language. These are used to complete the meaning of the sentence.

 

Let’s have a look if someone says that:

Ex- Riya Richa and Neha are going on a trip they will travel by bus throughout their journey.   X

Riya, Richa and Neha are going on a trip. They will travel by bus throughout their journey.

 

Some commonly used punctuation marks are: comma, full stop, exclamatory mark, question mark, colon, etc. Without these marks, sentences are incomplete.

 

Uses of Punctuation marks

 

  1. The Comma   [ , ]

 

It is used to denote the shortest pause. It is always used within the sentence, never at the end of it.

 

  • To separate words in series

Ex- I have bought pen, pencil, eraser and sharpener.

Riya, sejal and mansi are playing badminton in the ground.

I will order one pizza, burger, French fries and a coke.

 

  • To separate phrases and clauses.

Ex – You can take a taxi, or you can hire a car.

On Sunday, we are going for a picnic.

In 1564, Shakespeare was born.

 

  • To mark off a direct quotation.

Ex – ‘Go home’, he said.

‘Stay quiet’, Teacher said.

‘Sit down’, he said.

 

  • To separate the words yes and no from the rest of the sentence.

Ex – Yes, I have finished the book.

No, I don’t want to eat.

Yes, she is ready.

 

Ex- He can help, can’t he?

She is beautiful, isn’t she?

They will attend the function, won’t they?

 The Full Stop (Period)  [ . ]

 

The full stop is used to indicate a long pause. It generally marks the end of the sentence.

It is known as period in American English. It is also used to lay emphasis on any subject.

It has the following common uses:

 

  • To end all the sentences except questions and exclamatory sentence as they end with Question mark(?) and exclamatory mark (!) respectively.

Ex- She is living here now.

He is going to a party.

I am twenty years old.

 

  • After abbreviations for titles, names and degrees.

Ex- M.A., B.A., Ph.D., Mr.

 

  • It is used in e-mails and websites.

Ex- www.colourofenglish.com

Colourofenglish1@gmail.com

Question Mark  [ ? ]

  • It is used at the end of a question.

Ex- Where are you going?

Whose bag is this?

Are you a singer?

 

  • Question mark is used in the direct question.

Ex- He asked, “Where are they going?”

She asked,” Can you help me in the project?”

 

  • It is not used in the end of reported speech (question).

Ex- He asked where were they going.

She asked that if he can help her in the project.

 

Exclamatory Mark [ ! ]

It is used to mark the end of the exclamatory sentence or emphasis the words that express sudden emotions.

 

Ex- Hurray! We won the match.

Such a beautiful dress!

What an amazing performance!

Wow!  You look stunning

 

Capital Letters

 

The following common uses of capital letters are:

 

  • The first word of the sentence is always capital.

Ex – We are leaving now.

She is going to hospital.

He is arriving here tomorrow.

 

Ex – Paris is the capital of France.

Ganga is the sacred river of India.

Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru was the first Prime Minister of India.

 

  • To being the names of days, months and festivals.

Ex –We are going on Sunday.

Christmas is celebrated in the month of   December.

Diwali is my favorite festival.

 

 

Semi-colon [ ; ]

 

The semicolon denotes a greater pause than that of the comma.

  • To separate parts of sentence which have already been separated by comma.

 

Ex- They seem to have had a wonderful day out; they visited the Botanical garden, the State Museum and the Water Park.

I like bacon, eggs, and cheese; but not all together on a sandwich.

 

  • It is used between independent clauses, not connected by conjunction.

Ex- Ricky like pizza; Riya does not.

It was raining; the game was cancelled.

There was a traffic jam; she missed the train.

 

The colon [ : ]

The colon denotes a pause which is longer than both the comma and the semicolon but shorter than the full stop.

 

  • To introduce a series of words or a list after an independence clause.

Ex- Arush can play five different instruments: the guitar, the flute, the tabla, the sitar and the piano.

The things I brought from the market are as follows: Lipstick, a dress, books, a lamp and curtains.

I play only three sports: badminton, cricket and table tennis.

 

The Apostrophe [ ‘ ]

 

  • To show possession

Ex- This is my sister’s tablet.

He is my brother’s son.

This is my father’s car.

  • To show periods of time

Ex- We have less than a week’s time to finish this project.

In his seventy years’ experience nothing had prepared him for this.

 

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