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PUNCTUATION MARKS

By: http://www.kau.edu.sa/SBANJAR
Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar http://wwwdrshadiabanjar.blogspot.com

Dr. Shadia Yousef Banjar 1
PUNCTUATION MARKS
A System composed of conventional signs (punctuation
marks) and spaces is employed to organize written and
printed language in order to make it as readable, clear, and
logical as possible.
Standard punctuation marks and conventions include
the full stop (also known as period or point), commas, colon,
semicolon, exclamation mark (or exclamation point),
question mark, apostrophe, hyphen, and parenthesis (which
includes dashes, brackets, and the use of parenthetical
commas).

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PUNCTUATION MARKS

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Punctuation
Punctuation is a really important aspect in
writing. It helps you to make your writing
more understandable. It would be really hard
to read a text without capital letters, periods
or commas. Using punctuation marks
correctly can greatly enhance both the clarity
and the power of your writing.

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The Fourteen Punctuation Marks In English
Knowing where and when to use the fourteen punctuation marks can greatly improve
your writing skills.
 The fourteen punctuation marks in English grammar are:
1. the period,
2. question mark,
3. exclamation point,
4. comma,
5. semicolon,
6. colon,
7. dash,
8. hyphen,
9. parentheses,
10. brackets,
11. braces,
12. apostrophe,
13. quotation marks, and
14. ellipses.
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Sentence Endings 
SENTENCE ENDINGS : are the period, question mark, and exclamation point.
1. THE PERIOD (.) is, according to yourDictionary.com, “placed at the end of
declarative sentences and other statements thought to be complete, and after
many abbreviations.”
For example:
• As a sentence ender: Jane and Jack went to the market .
• After an abbreviation: Her Mar . birthday came and went.
2. THE QUESTION MARK (?) is used to indicate a direct question when placed at
the end of a sentence.
For example:
• When did Jane leave for the market ?
3. THE EXCLAMATION POINT/MARK (!) is used when a person wants to express
a sudden outcry or add emphasis.
•Within dialogue: “Holy cow!” screamed Jane.
•To emphasize a point: My mother-in-law's rants make me furious !

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THE COMMA, SEMICOLON AND COLON
THE COMMA, semicolon and colon are often misused because they all can indicate
a pause in a series. According to yourDictionary.com, the comma is “a punctuation
mark (,) used to indicate a separation of ideas or elements within the structure of a
sentence.” Additionally, it is used in letter writing after the salutation and closing.
1. Separating elements within sentences: Suzi wanted the black , green , and blue
shoes.
2. Letter Salutations: Dear Uncle John ,
3. Separation of two complete sentences: We went to the movies , and we went to
the beach.
According to yourDictionary.com, THE SEMICOLON (;) is used to “ connect
independent clauses and indicating a closer relationship between the clauses than a
period does.” For example: John was hurt ; he knew she only said it to upset him.
A COLON (:) has two main uses.
1. “ after a word introducing a quotation, an explanation, an example, or a series and
often after the salutation of a business letter,” according to yourDictionary.com.
Colons have been used throughout this presentation to indicate examples.
2. within time expressions. Within time, it is used to separate out the hour and
minute: 12 : 15 p.m.
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The Dash And The Hyphen
Two kinds of dashes are used throughout written communications. They are: the en dash and
the em dash. The en dash, (–) is roughly the width of the letter n. It is shorter than an
em dash.

According to yourDictionary.com, an en dash is “A symbol (-) used in writing or printing to
connect continuing or inclusive numbers or to connect elements of a compound adjective when
either of the elements is an open compound, as 1880 - 1945 or Princeton - New York trains. ”
The en dash is used in ranges, such as 6–10 years, read as "six to ten years".
However, the em dash has more complicated grammatical use. The term em dash derives
from its defined width of one em. The symbol of - is used to indicate “ a break in thought or
sentence structure, to introduce a phrase added for emphasis, definition, or explanation, or to
separate two clauses,” according to yourDictionary.com.
Use it in the following manner: We only wanted to get two birds but the clerk talked us into four
pregnant parakeets.
A hyphen (- ) is the same symbol as the en dash. However, it has slightly different usage
rules. Use a hyphen “between the parts of a compound word or name or between the syllables
of a word, especially when divided at the end of a line of text.” Examples of this in use include:
1. Between a compound name: Mrs. Smith - Reynolds
2. Within a compound word: back - to - back
3. Between syllables of a word when text is on divided:
The thought - ful girl brought cookies to her ailing neighbor.
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BRACKETS, BRACES, AND PARENTHESES
Brackets, braces, and parentheses are symbols used to contain
words that are a further explanation or are considered a group.

Parentheses (()) are curved notations used to contain further
thoughts or qualifying remarks, according to yourDictionary.
However, parentheses can be replaced by commas without changing
the meaning in most cases. For example:
John and Jane ( who were actually half brother and sister ) both
have red hair.

Brackets are the squared off notations ([]) used for technical
explanations. For example, yourDictionary.com uses them when
you look up word definitions. At the bottom of each definition page,
brackets surround a technical description of where the word
originated.

According to yourDictionary.com, braces ({}) are used to contain
“two or more lines of text or listed items to show that they are
considered as a unit.” They are not commonplace in most writing,
but can be seen in computer programming to show what should be
contained within the same lines.
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APOSTROPHE, QUOTATION MARKS, AND ELLIPSES

The apostrophe, quotation marks,
and ellipses are unlike the previously
mentioned punctuation marks as they
are not related to one another in any
form.

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• An apostrophe (') is used to “indicate the omission
of a letter or letters from a word, the possessive
case, or the plurals of numbers, letters, and
abbreviations.” Examples of the apostrophe in use
include:
1. Omission of letters from a word: An issue of nat ‘ l
importance.
2. Possessive case: Sara ' s dog bites.
3. Plural for numbers: Sixteen people were born on
dates with 7 ' s in them.
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The yourDictionary website defines quotations
marks ( “” ) as “ Either of a pair of punctuation
marks used primarily to mark the beginning and
end of a passage attributed to another and
repeated word for word, but also to indicate
meanings or glosses and to indicate the unusual
or dubious status of a word.”
For example, whenever this article has copied
direct definitions from yourDictionary, quotation
marks have been placed around the item. Single
quotation (‘') are used most frequently for
quotes within quotes.
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The ellipses is generally represented by three periods (.
. . ) although it is occasionally demonstrated with three
asterisks (***).
The ellipses should be used in “writing or printing to
indicate an omission, especially of letters or words.”
Ellipses are frequently used within quotations to jump
from one phrase to another, omitting unnecessary
words that do not interfere with the meaning.
Students writing research papers or newspapers
quoting parts of speeches will often employ ellipses to
avoid copying lengthy text that is not needed.

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ASTERISK
An asterisk (*) (Latin asteriscum "little star") is a
typographical symbol. It is so called because it
resembles a conventional image of a star. The Arabic
asterisk is five-pointed star.
In written text
*
The asterisk is used to call out a footnote,
especially when there is only one on the page.
Asterisks are sometimes used instead of
typographical bullets to indicate items of a list.

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In linguistics
In historical linguistics, an asterisk immediately before a word
indicates that the word is not directly attested, but has been
reconstructed on the basis of other linguistic material.
In the following example, the Proto-Germanic word ainlif is a
reconstructed form.
*ainlif → endleofan → eleven
In syntax, an asterisk in front of a word or phrase indicates that the
word or phrase is ungrammatical.
I'm not / *I amn't
An asterisk before a parenthesis indicates *(that the) lack of the
word or phrase inside is ungrammatical, while an asterisk after a
parenthesis indicates (*that the) existence of the word or phrase
inside is ungrammatical.
go *(to) the station
go (*to) home
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References:
•Punctuation Marks,
http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/marks/marks.htm
•yourDictionary.com, What Are the Fourteen Punctuation Marks in English Grammar?
http://www.yourdictionary.com/grammar-rules/Fourteen-Punctuation-Marks.html
•Asterisk, Wikipedia,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asterisk

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