Punctuation is using special signs, and certain typographical devices to help the understanding and correct reading of written texts.

Punctuation Marks in English

What Is Punctuation?

Punctuation is the use of conventional signs to understand and read a text correctly. Notice that there is no space before punctuation marks in the English language.
Here is a list of all punctuation signs:

1. Full Stop

Full stop or period (.) is a ponctuation sign that is used at the end of a statement or an abbreviation. Notice that the first letter after the full stop must be capitalized.
Look at the example:

I know you well.

She understood what you have said.


Some abbreviations take the full stop.

2. Question Mark & Exclamation Mark

Question mark (?) is used at the end of a direct question whether it starts with a wh-word or not. The direct question is a statement that asks a question directly from the addressee. For example:

Where are you?

Are you ok?

An exclamation mark (!) is used in at the end of a sentence expressing strong emotions such as anger, surprise, joy, etc. Notice that what and how can be used at the beginning of a sentence to make an exclamatory phrase.

Oh non! I can't believe it!

The speaker maybe has confronted a strange thing.

What a mistake!

How stupid you are!

3. Comma

Comma (,) is used to separate words, phrases, or clauses. Here, we will mention only a few of its uses:

  1. Comma is used to tell the date, numbers;
  2. Comma is used after adverbs;
  3. Comma is used in direct speeches;
  4. Comma is used in lists;
  5. Comma is used to group adjectives.



April the first, 1999,


Usually, I go to school.

after adverbs

He said, "I am not going to do that."

in direct speeches

I have bought some rice, milk, bananas.

in lists

There was a big, fascinating, marvelous wedding there.

to group adjectives

4. Colons & Semicolons

Colons (:) are used to introduce a phrase or a sentence that is related to the precedent sentence. Colons are used to introduce a list, a dialogue, a title or to put an emphasis.

What we need for the cake is: butter, flour, water, etc.

introducing a list

She played: 3GA.

introducing a title

What I wanted was: the university.

put an emphasis

Semicolons (;) are used to establish a relationship between two sentences. Semicolons are used to join two independent clauses or they are used
1. before conjunctive adverbs, like however, thereafter, therefor, etc.
2. before coordinating conjunctions like but, or, and.

We couldn't go; however, we really wanted to.

conjunctive adverbs

We were looking for what they called us for; and the result was disappointing.

coordinating conjunctions

5. Quotation Mark

Quotation marks ('') are used when there is a direct speech. They are also used to avoid repetition in a list.

✓ She asked," Who is the lead actor."

direct speech

Here is another example:

names of fathers
Steve Max
Rhone ''
Mia ''

When we want to put emphasis on a word or phrase in a sentence, we use single quotation marks. For example:

This is a sentence where 'adverb' plays the central role.

6. Hyphens & Dashes

Hyphens (–) are used in three cases:

Dashes (_) are used to introduce a non-restrictive clause, a clause standing in the middle of another sentence.

The man_my best friend_is here.

Notice that there is no space before and after a dash.

We can also use dashes when repeating an emphatic part or phrase in a sentence. In this case, we can use a dash at the beginning of the emphatic part. Check out these examples:

The beautiful sky—the clear blue sky—was her dream.

Notice that there is no space before and after a dash.

Non-restrictive Clauses with Comma or Dashes

Non-restrictive structures introduced by commas, unlike dashes, can easily be deleted from the sentences.

7. Brackets, Braces, & Parentheses

There are four types of brackets:

  1. square brackets [ ]
  2. curly brackets { } or braces
  3. angle brackets < >
  4. round brackets that are also called parentheses ( )

Square brackets are use to give Information, comments, or definition in a sentence:

They said the [cancer] patients are not satisfied with the services.


We need a doctor [an expert] to do the surgery.


The indolent [lazy] man spent all day at home.


Braces are usually used in mathematical, chemical, and statistical equations.

2{1 + [32 + 3]}

Round brackets or parentheses are used in two cases:
1. Giving Information
2. Setting off Numbers and Letters

The doctors did what was possible (they couldn't do more).

Giving Information

Remember to take: (1) pen (2) ruler (3) hair brush.

Three items are needed: pen, ruler, hair brush

8. Apostrophe

Apostrophe (') is used in two cases:
1. Replacing Missing Letters
2. Showing Possessive Nouns

Isn’t → is not

missing letters

Sarah's father

possessive nouns


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Capitalization is to write the first letter of a word in uppercase. In this lesson, you will learn all the rules about this subject.

Full Stops

A full stop or period is usually used to show the end of a sentence. In this lesson, we will learn all about this punctuation mark.

Question Marks and Exclamation Marks

Question mark and exclamation mark is used in the sentences to show their sense. They function in writing forms. Here we will get to their rules.


A comma indicates a pause between the words, phrases, and clauses. In this lesson, we will all the rules about this punctuation mark.

Colons and Semicolons

Colons and semi-colons are used to make it easy for us to understand and read a passage. In this lesson, we will learn all about them.

Quotation Marks

Quotation marks are punctuations that are used to express a direct speech, phrase, or quotation. In this lesson, we will learn all about them.

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