One of the most important parts of writing is proper punctuation. Unlike some languages, English uses alot of punctuation marks.. Here I will try my best to explain and show you how to use them correctly.

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Why do we need punctuation marks in English language?

Punc­tu­a­tion is not a kind of code, but is there to make what you write clear, easy to under­stand and read. We should only use it as far as we need it in our writ­ing as part of the process of com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the peo­ple. It is use­ful and it is impor­tant and it should be accu­rate oth­er­wise the mean­ing that we thought to con­vey may change. Punc­tu­a­tion is impor­tant for clear and easy under­stand­ing. Pro­vid­ing all infor­ma­tion required but improper punc­tu­a­tion makes it very hard to read and under­stand. Punc­tu­a­tion includes cor­rect usage of com­mas, semi­colons, full stops etc. By writ­ing punc­tu­ally cor­rect, we can have the fol­low­ing benefits:

  1. Punc­tu­a­tion marks like full stops, com­mas and semi­colons form the basic struc­ture of a para­graph and delin­eate the sen­tences and give a sense to that paragraph.
  2. Dashes and brack­ets can show groups of words that form a smaller group within a sentence.
  3. Ques­tion marks, excla­ma­tion marks and quo­ta­tion marks show what we writ­ing to express some­thing other than gen­eral meaning.
  4. The apos­tro­phe and hyphen can link related words and show other spe­cial functions.
  5. Full stops show that the sen­tence or para­graph has ended and show that a group of let­ters forms an abbreviation.

Punctuation is the system of symbols (. , ! - : etc) that we use to separate sentences and parts of sentences, and to make their meaning clear. Each symbol is called a "punctuation mark".

The Value of Punctuation

An English teacher wrote these words on the board:

woman without her man is nothing

The teacher then asked the students to punctuate the words correctly. The men wrote the top line. The women wrote the bottom line.



Although there are general rules for English punctuation, there are differences of style between, for example, British and American English, some publishers and some writers. Anyone seeking guidance at an advanced level is recommended to consult a style guide (often included in good dictionaries) for their particular variety of English or editorial style.

So let’s start. We will take each mark one at a time and try to explain it so you will understand its usage more clearly.

3 Tips for Using the Correct End of Sentence Marker

Different punctuation marks are used to end different kinds of sentences. How do you know which ones to use? Check out these simple tips on how to end your sentences. Here are three basic punctuation marks that are used at the end of a sentence.

·         1. Period

The period is used at the end of a declarative sentence, which is a sentence that states an idea. Below are examples:

    •     Our house is five minutes away.
    •     She looks really happy.

A period is also used to end an imperative sentence that does not convey excitement or urgency. See the following examples:

    •     Drink your milk.
    •     Do your homework.

·         2. Question Mark

The question mark, as its name suggests, is used to end a question. This is shown in the following examples:

    •     What is your name?
    •     Where are we going?

·         3. Exclamation Point

The exclamation point is used at the end of an exclamatory sentence or a sentence that expresses strong feelings, such as excitement and urgency. Check out these examples:

    •     The house is on fire!
    •     That’s wonderful!

There you have it: the three basic punctuation marks that are used to end different kinds of sentences. Now, you have an idea of how to use a period, a question mark, and an exclamation point to end a sentence. If you are unsure of which punctuation to use, you can always consult WhiteSmoke's online punctuation checker. A punctuation checker is a practical tool that anyone who wishes to learn English should have.


About English Punctuation

Out of the many important elements of writing, punctuation may be the most essential. Punctuation helps direct us through written language with its system of symbols and the rules for using them. Correct usage of punctuation symbols like commas and periods, as well as spaces, capital letters and many other conventions, help the reader avoid confusion and understand more clearly what the writer has intended. Punctuation also affects the rhythm of how a sentence is read, as well as the actual meaning of the writing.

To really understand how important proper punctuation is, look at the following simple sentence:

I did it.

With the period at the end, it is a basic statement of fact.

If we change the period to an exclamation point - I did it ! - there is a distinct sense of pride from accomplishing something.

And with a question mark at the end - I did it ? - the writer expresses wonderment and disbelief in having done something.

These minute changes in punctuation alter the entire tone and meaning of the basic sentence. And these three punctuation marks - the period, exclamation point, and question mark - exemplify only a tiny part of the vast amount of power that lies in correct punctuation. 


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