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14 Punctuation Marks

1. The Semi Colon ;

-The semi-colon is an immensely useful punctuation mark for those who are looking to slam two
slightly related clauses together into a single triumphant sentence.


There’s a crocodile in the toilet; he has a lot of hair growing out of his ears.
( The semi-colon serves to eliminate the pause between the two independent clauses and is
therefore used instead of a conjunction, such as and, yet, but, or, nor, for and so. )

At the chocolate factory, I scoffed acid balls, they were super sour; everlasting gob stoppers, I
spat mine out after an hour; curly toffees, rather yummy; and iced fancies, they made me sick.
(A semi-colon can also be used as a super-comma, to separate items in a long list. )

2. The Comma ,
- The comma ( , ) is a punctuation mark that appears in several variants in different languages. It has the
same shape as an apostrophe ( ' ) or single closing quotation mark in many typefaces, but it differs from
them in being placed on the baseline of the text. Some typefaces render it as a small line, slightly curved
or straight but inclined from the vertical, or with the appearance of a small, filled-in figure.


My estate goes to my husband, son, daughter-in-law, and nephew.

(When the last comma in a series comes before and or or (after daughter-in-law in the above example), it is known
as the Oxford comma. Most newspapers and magazines drop the Oxford comma in a simple series, apparently
feeling it's unnecessary. However, omission of the Oxford comma can sometimes lead to misunderstandings.)

We had coffee, cheese and crackers and grapes.

(Adding a comma after crackers makes it clear that cheese and crackers represents one dish. In cases like this,
clarity demands the Oxford comma.)

3. The Full Stop / The Period .

- A period is a punctuation mark indicating a full stop, placed at the end of declarative sentences (as well
as other statements thought to be complete) and after many abbreviations. Also called a full
stop (chiefly British) or a full point.


I like to eat pizza.

(We use a period at the end of sentences that are statements.)

Hand me the pencil.

(We use a period at the end of sentences that are commands.)

I wondered why Bob wasn't there.

(We use a period at the end of sentences that are indirect questions.)

United States of America is abbreviated U.S.A.

(We use periods in abbreviations.)
(We use periods in website addresses.)

4. The Colon :
-The colon is most commonly used to introduce and can be used to introduce anything: words, phrases,
lists, names or quotations.

The hungry buffoon only had one thing on his mind: peanut butter cupcakes.

The hungry buffoon was thinking of lots of things: peanut butter cupcakes, chocolate donuts, crispy duck and
pig’s trotters.

5. The Quotation Mark “

- The use of quotation marks is complicated by the fact that there are two types in use: double quotation
marks and single quotation marks. Confuse the two at your peril.


“I was absolutely amazed to find a crocodile in the bathroom brushing his teeth,” Mother said.
(Double quotation marks are used to directly and exactly quote the words of someone.)

6. Ellipsis
- Those three little dots are called an ellipsis (plural: ellipses). The term ellipsis comes from the Greek word
meaning “omission,” and that’s just what an ellipsis does—it shows that something has been left out.


Hamlet asked whether it was “nobler . . . to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune or to take
arms against a sea of troubles.”
(You can use an ellipsis to show that you’ve omitted some of their words.)