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

Dr. Shadia Yousef Banjar


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).

Dr. Shadia Yousef Banjar


Dr. Shadia Yousef Banjar 3


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.

Dr. Shadia Yousef Banjar


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 !

Dr. Shadia Yousef Banjar



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.

Dr. Shadia Yousef Banjar

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

Dr. Shadia Yousef Banjar


• 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.

Dr. Shadia Yousef Banjar


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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