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PUNCTUATION MARKS
PUNCTUATION
MARKS

Contents

Why Punctuate

Dash

Full Stop (a.k.a. Period) Hyphen

Question Mark Exclamation Mark Capital Letters Comma Semi-Colon Colon Apostrophe

Quotation Mark

Why Punctuate? To be understood
Why Punctuate?
To be
understood

Read the following passage, without punctuation.

i would like to apply for a job with your company for two years i have been employed as a sales clerk for the jones store i sold nothing that i did not take pride in i am sure it will be the same if I work for you

Now, look at how much easier it is to read with punctuation:

I would like to apply for a job with your company. For two years I have been employed as a sales clerk for the Jones store. I sold nothing that I did not take pride in. I am sure it will be the same if I work for you.

Now, look at what happens when we change the position of the punctuation marks. It actually changes the meaning of the passage.

I would like to apply for a job with your company for two years. I have been employed. As a sales clerk for the Jones store I sold nothing. That, I did not take pride in. I am sure it will be the same if I work for you.

Why do we use punctuation?

We use punctuation marks:

To separate groups of meaning and emphasis.

To convey an idea of the variations of volume, pauses, and accent of speech.

To help avoid contextual ambiguity.

Types of Punctuation

Parentheses

semicolon

Question

Brackets

Hyphen

Fulstop

Period

Colon

Dash

Mark

Full Stop (.)

Why do we use a full stop?

To end a sentence when it’s a statement

Example: The dog sat outside the door. His master had not fed him for a week.

To indicate an abbreviation Example: N.S.W, e.g., Prof.

Note: There’s a trend to phase out full stops with abbreviations.

Full stops A full stop is used at the end of a sentence, unless the sentence
Full stops
A full
stop
is
used
at
the
end
of
a
sentence, unless the sentence calls for
a question mark (?) or an exclamation
mark (!).
Example, Joyce went to the shop.
The power of the English Language
The power of the English
Language

Activity

Put full stops in the correct places in these groups of sentences. (You'll need to add capitals where there are new sentences.)

It had been raining for weeks the river was rising very quickly and the farmers were afraid the dam would burst we decided we would have to leave our farm

You should not drive if you have been drinking it has been proven that accidents are more likely when drivers have been drinking

Activity

Key

It had been raining for weeks. The river was rising very quickly and the farmers were afraid the dam would burst. We decided we would have to leave our farm.

You should not drive when you have been drinking. It has been proven that accidents are more likely when people have been drinking.

How Do You Use the Comma?  Use a comma to separate independent clause (sentences) in
How Do You Use the Comma?
 Use a comma to separate
independent clause (sentences) in a
compound sentence.
I like English, BUT it is difficult.

Commas (,)

This marks a natural pause during a sentence. It is only a short pause, and should not be confused with the longer full stop pause.

Sometimes commas are essential to make the meaning of a sentence clear to the reader.

Note: Don't use too many commas, as they can make your writing jerky and disjointed. If in doubt, leave out!

Commas (2)

When do we use a commas?

In a list. Example: We bought apples, bananas, pears and grapes. (Note: no comma before "and" in a list of single items)

For instance, Sanny can run, jump, and skip.

To separate adjectives (describing words) unless the words "go together". Examples: She had long, thick, wavy hair. (But: She had very dark brown hair.)

Commas (3)

When do we also use a commas?

To prevent the reader from connecting words that do not properly belong together. Example: While I cooked the baby played nearby. (While I cooked, the baby played nearby.)

To separate an introductory expression of time from the rest of the sentence. Example: Three months later, it was all forgotten.

Commas (4)

When do we also use a commas?

To separate parts of a long sentence which contains "but" or "and". Example: The manager has given the instruction, and the staff must obey it.

To enclose anything which interrupts the flow of the sentence. Example: I hope, of course, that they'll come.

Commas (5)

When do we also use a commas?

To enclose the name of a person or their position/job, if both are mentioned. Example: The coach, Bob Jones, was given an award.

To separate direct speech from the rest of the Sentence. Example: "Go away," she said.

More on Commas When the date identifies the day of the week, the date is set
More on Commas
When the date identifies the day of the
week, the date is set off with a comma.
See the example below:
On Thursday, August 25,
school resumes.
More on Commas  Use Comma to set off nouns of direct. For example: “Gertrude, I
More on Commas
 Use Comma to set off nouns of direct.
For example: “Gertrude, I want you to know
that Matilda like George.”
address.
 Use a comma to set off a year when it is
with a month and date.
- Julius was born June 25, 1954, in
Gauteng, Soweto.
More on Commas  Use commas when writing full addresses in sentence form. I live at
More on Commas
 Use commas when writing full
addresses in sentence form. I live at 2345
Westchester Blvd., Springfield, IL 62703
 Use commas to set off introductory
phrases that come at the beginning of
a sentence. Feeling anxious, George
slowly stepped on the stage.

Activity 1

Insert commas where necessary.

The house was cold damp small and inconvenient. When he fired the bullet hit the target accurately. Bill said "The train is late.” Andre the world famous clown is a Frenchman. Before we left we checked to make sure we'd turned off the computer.

Activity 1 (2)

Insert commas where necessary.

I insist on eating Grandfather before we leave the house. Wilma Fred's wife lived near the river. Jim will arrive sometime tonight but I don't know exactly when it will be.

Activity 1

Key

The house was cold, damp, small and inconvenient. When he fired, the bullet hit the target accurately. Bill said, "The train is late.” Andre, the world famous clown, is a Frenchman.

Activity 1

Key (2)

Before we left, we checked to make sure we'd turned off the computer. I insist on eating, Grandfather, before we leave the house. Wilma, Fred's wife, lived near the river. Jim will arrive sometime tonight, but I don't know exactly when it will be.

Activity 2

Some of the examples below need to be two sentences, instead of one sentence with a comma. Change the commas to full stops where necessary.

The rain began to come down heavily, we were soon wet through. We ran down the road, and soon found shelter in a doorway.

Activity 2 (2)

We waited for about an hour, but the rain would not stop. At three o'clock my friend drove by, he offered us a lift home. When we arrived home our house was flooded, we stayed with friends for the night.

Activity 2 (1)

Key

The rain began to come down heavily. We were soon wet through. We ran down the road, and soon found shelter in a doorway. We waited for about an hour, but the rain would not stop. At three o'clock my friend drove by. He offered us a lift home.

Activity 2 (2)

Key

When we arrived home our house was flooded. We stayed with friends for the night.

Note: The examples in yellow each contain two statements with no joining word such as and, so, but or as. Because of this, they need to be made into two sentences.

Semi-Colons Why do we use a semi-colon? A semi-colon can be used instead of a full
Semi-Colons
Why do we use a semi-colon?
A semi-colon can be used instead of a full stop
when the two parts of the sentence are too
closely related in meaning to be put into
separate sentences.
Examples: We did not go into the theatre before
our friends arrived; instead, we waited outside.
I don't know who my grandfather was; I am more
concerned to find out who his grandson will be.

Semi-Colon (;)

Why do we use a semi-colon?

Semi-colons can also be used between items on a list, when the items consist of a number of words, or when the use of commas alone would be confusing.

Example: The committee consisted of Carol Jones, the staff representative; Bill Johnson, the boss; Terry Smith, the local doctor; Murray Todd, the fisherman; and Mary Renshaw, the cook.

Activity

Put semi-colons in the correct places in the following sentences.

He and his dog spent all their time together he had no other friends. She arranged to meet Tom inside the football ground she wanted to avoid paying his entry fee. I left the movie early I was not feeling well. The rain fell all day the carnival had to be called off.

Activity

Key

He and his dog spent all their time together; he had no other friends. She arranged to meet Tom inside the football ground; she wanted to avoid paying his entry I left the movie early; I was not feeling well. The rain fell all day; the carnival had to be called off.

Apostrophy (‘’)

The apostrophy can be used to:

Show that letters have been left out. These are called contractions. example: can't for cannot, didn't for did not, it's for it is or it has

Apostrophy (‘) 2

The apostrophe is also used to show possession (or ownership) in the following ways:

If the thing/person that owns something is singular, add 's Examples: The girl's books (the books belonging to the girl)

If the thing/person that owns something is plural and already ends with an "s", simply add an apostrophe. Examples: The girls' books (thebooks belonging to the girls)

Apostrophy (‘) 3

The apostrophy can also be used:

If the thing/person that owns something is plural but does not end in an "s", add 's. Examples: The women's club (the club belonging to the women)

Apostrophes An apostrophe is a mark (‘ ) used to indicate.  the possessive case the
Apostrophes
An apostrophe is
a mark
(‘
)
used to
indicate.
 the possessive case
the omission of a letter or letters
 If the word does not end in s, add ‘s:
Apostrophe 1. Indicates the possessive case of nouns and indefinite pronouns. E.g. The boy’s mother /
Apostrophe
1.
Indicates
the
possessive
case
of
nouns
and
indefinite pronouns.
E.g. The boy’s mother / Sara’s house
2.
Marks omission of letters in contracted words.
E.g. didn’t / o’clock / telephone – ’phone
3.
Marks omission of digits in numbers.
E.g. class of ’83
4.
Is often used to form plurals of letters, figures,
punctuated abbreviations, symbols, and word
referred to as words.
E.g. Your plan is good, even if there are lots of but's in it.
Two of the junior faculty have Ph.D’s.
Apostrophes Examples  Examples, The book of the boy – the boy’s book  The book
Apostrophes Examples
 Examples, The book of the boy – the
boy’s book
The
book
of
the
children
the
children’s books
If the word
ends
in
s
and
is singular,
add ‘s:
 The book of Charles – Charles’s book

Activity

Where does the apostrophe of possession belong in the following sentences?

The dogs dinner (the dinner belonging to one dog) The dogs dinner (the dinner belonging to more than one dog) The cats whiskers (the whiskers belonging to one cat) The cats whiskers (the whiskers belonging to more than one cat)

Activity

Key

The dog’s dinner The dogs’ dinner The cat’s whiskers The cats’ whiskers

Capitals latters Capital letters are used: At the start of a new sentence. Example: The cat
Capitals latters
Capital letters are used:
At the start of a new sentence. Example: The cat
sat on the mat. His owner sat nearby.
For the letter "i" when you are referring to
yourself. Example: He can run faster than I can.
For people's names. Examples: Jim Smith, Bill
Jones

Capital Letters (2)

Capital letters are also used:

For titles. Examples: Dr Jones, Mr Brown

For book/film/company titles (main words only). Examples: The Catcher in the Rye, The Wizard of Oz, Briggs and Sons

In direct speech, for the first spoken word. Example: She said, "My name is Mary."

Capital Letters (3)

Capital letters are also used:

For acronyms. Examples: TAFE, CIA

For titles of days, months. Examples: Monday, July

Capitals latters A capital letter is normally used in writing:  For the first letter of
Capitals latters
A capital letter is normally used in
writing:
 For the first letter of the first word at
the beginning
of a sentence
 For the first letter of proper nouns
(Kevin),
countries (South Africa),
cities (Johannesburg), and titles
Champion).
(the
Capitals latters  For the first letter of the names of days (Tuesday), months (February), festivals
Capitals latters
For the first letter of the names of days
(Tuesday),
months (February), festivals
(Dwali).
For
the
first
letter
of
houses,
ships,
streets,
newspapers,
books,
play-titles
(King Street).
 For a person’s initials (K.G. Baxter).
For the word I.

Activity

Put capital letters in the correct places in the following sentences:

mr brown needed to see the doctor urgently. mary said, " may i come,too?" i will go to see joe on the first monday in may. she lives in sydney, nsw. karl and i went to the movies on wednesday night. we saw "one flew over the cuckoo's nest", starring jack nicholson.

Activity

Key

Mr Brown needed to see the doctor urgently Mary said, "May I come, too?”

I will go to see Joe on the first Monday in May. She lives in Sydney, NSW.

Karl and I went to the movies on Wednesday night. We saw "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" starring Jack Nicholson.

Exclamation marks An exclamation mark is used after expressions of surprise, motion, fear and delight: For
Exclamation marks
An exclamation mark is used after
expressions of surprise, motion, fear and
delight:
For instance,
Hurrah!
Oh!, Ah!, Look!, and

Exclamation Mark(!)

Why do we use an exclamation mark?

This mark shows strength of emotion. It is often used in direct speech and informal notes, messages and letters. It is less common in formal writing.

Examples:

Hi! Sorry I haven't written for so long!!! Great work! Congratulations! "Leave me alone!" she screamed

Exclamation marks Examples, What a superb goal Gigs scored at Highbury! I did not know you
Exclamation marks
Examples,
What
a
superb
goal
Gigs
scored at Highbury!
I did not know you were here!
How fierce she looks!

Activity

Put exclamation marks in the correct places in the following sentences.

What wonderful news Come here this instant Help

Activity

Key

What wonderful news! Come here this instant! Help!

Question marks A question mark is always placed at the end of a question.  What
Question marks
A question mark
is
always placed at
the end of a question.
 What are you doing?
But a question mark is not used in:
I
asked
them
what
they
were
doing.

Question Mark (?)

Why do we use a question mark?

To end a sentence when it asks a question

Examples:

Why is it so cold? Where is your warm coat?

Activity

Put question marks and full stops in the correct places in these groups of sentences. (There are two sentences in each example)

I am going to wash the dishes will you peel the potatoes for me

He is going by car are you going by bus

How are you I hope you are well

Activity

Key

I am going to wash the dishes. Will you peel the potatoes for me?

He is going by car. Are you going by bus?

How are you? I hope you are well.

Quotation marks (inverted commas Words quoted are put into quotation marks. The boy said, “He has
Quotation marks (inverted
commas
Words quoted are put into quotation
marks.
The
boy said,
“He
has the
book”.
Note
the comma before
the
quotation mark and that since the words
inside the marks form a sentence, the
first letter is a capital letter

Quotation mark (‘’)

To enclose direct quotations and dialogue. Example: “You must arrive on time,” the professor said.

To denote titles and nicknames. Example: Her favourite book is “Brick Lane”.

Note:Punctuation goes inside the quotation marks if it is part of the quote. Example: “Give me my dignity!” the prisoner pleaded. But: Have you seen “Pulp Fiction”?

Hyphen The sign (-) used to join indicate that they have a words to combined meaning
Hyphen
The sign
(-)
used
to
join
indicate
that
they
have
a
words to
combined
meaning or that they are
linked
in
the
grammar of a sentence
For instance, a pick-me-up, mother-in-
law, good-hearted.
Hyphen 1. To join words to show that their meaning is linked in some way. E.g.
Hyphen
1.
To join words to show that their meaning is linked in some way.
E.g. Book-case / race-horse
2.
To make compound modifiers before nouns.
E.g. A blue-eyed boy / The well-known actor
3.
Prefixes.
E.g. All-inclusive / Ex-wife / Self-control
non-English
4.
When writing numbers 21 to 99, and fractions.
E.g. Twenty-one / Two-thirds
5.
To show that a word has been broken at the end of a line.
E.g. The directors requested that a more conven-
ient time be arranged.
6.
Suspended compounds.
E.g. This rule applies only to 12-, 13- and 14-year olds.

Hyphen (-)

Use a hyphen to join two or more words serving as a single adjective before a noun:

Example: a one-way street chocolate-covered peanuts

Use a hyphen with numbers. Example: forty-six, sixty-three, a fifteen-year-old boy

Use a hyphen with certain prefixes. Example: ex husband, self-assured, mid-September, all inclusive.

6. Hyphens. (-) A hyphen is a short, horizontal line. Use a hyphen to connect parts
6.
Hyphens. (-)
A hyphen is a short, horizontal line.
Use a hyphen to connect parts of some compound nouns.
son-in-law
self-awareness
tractor-trailer
Use a hyphen with –elect.
Mayor-elect,
Governor-elect,
President elect.
Put a hyphen in a compound word between a prefix and a proper noun or an
Put a hyphen in a compound word between a prefix and a proper noun
or an adjective.
mid-July festival
pro-Middle East peace
Use a hyphen to join the parts of a fractions when it is written out as
words.
two-fifths
three-sixteenths
five-eights
Use hyphens when you spell out a word for emphasis.
I want this filthy, that’s f-i-l-t-h-y, room cleaned up immediately!
When I say no, I mean no! N-o.No!
Put hyphen after some prefixes like ex-,self-, and all-,expecially if the last letter of the prefix
Put hyphen after some prefixes like ex-,self-, and all-,expecially if
the last letter of the prefix is the same as the first letter of the word
it’s connected to.
anti-inflammatory
ex-mayor
re-elect
pro-feminist
all-loving
Parenthesis  Use parenthesis to enclose words or figures that clarify or are used as an
Parenthesis
 Use parenthesis to enclose words or
figures
that clarify or
are
used
as
an
aside.
 Example: He received one hundred
and
fifty
points
(150)on
his math
project.
Parentheses 1. Explain or clarify. E.g. Tony Blair (the former British prime minister) resigned from office
Parentheses
1.
Explain or clarify.
E.g. Tony Blair (the former British prime minister) resigned from office in 2007.
2.
Indicate plural or singular.
E.g. Please leave your mobile phone(s) at the door.
3.
Add a personal comment.
E.g. Many people love party (I don’t)
4.
Define abbreviations
E.g. The matter will be decided by the IOC (International Olympic Committee)
5.
Enclose numerals that confirm a written number in a text.
E.g. Delivery will be made in thirty (30) days.

Dash (--)

Used to strongly emphasize a point or set off an explanatory comment. Don’t overuse it.

To some of you, my proposals may seem radical -- even revolutionary.

Brackets 1. To add clarification and information. E.g. The witness said: "He [the policeman] hit me.“
Brackets
1.
To add clarification and information.
E.g. The witness said: "He [the policeman] hit me.“
The two teams in the finals of the first FIFA Football World Cup were both from
South America [Uruguay and Argentina].
2.
Set off phonetics symbols and transcriptions.
E.g. Punctuation [ˌpʌŋktjʊˈeɪʃən]
3.
To add missing words.
E.g. It is [a] good question.
4.
To add editorial o authorial comment.
E.g. They will not be present [my emphasis].
5.
To modify a direct quotation:
E.g. He "love[s] driving." (The original words were "I love driving.")
6.
For nesting.
E.g. Square brackets can also be nested (using square brackets [like these] inside
round brackets).
Colon 1. Introduces a clause or phrase that explains, illustrates, amplifies, or restates what has gone
Colon
1.
Introduces a clause or phrase that explains, illustrates,
amplifies, or restates what has gone before.
E.g. The sentence was poorly constructed: it lacked both
unity and coherence.
2.
Directs attention to an appositive.
E.g. He had only one pleasure: eating
3.
Introduces a series.
E.g. Three abstained :England , France, and Belgium.
4.
Separates titles and subtitles.
E.g. Battle Cry of Freedom: The Era of the Civil War.
Colon 5. Introduces lengthy quoted material set off from the rest of a text by indentation
Colon
5.
Introduces lengthy quoted material set off from the rest of
a text by indentation but not bu quotation marks.
E.g. I quote from the text of Chapter One:
6.
Separates elements in a page references, in bibliographical
and biblical citations, and in set formulas used to express
ratios and time.
E.g. John 4:10 / a ratio of 3:5 / 8:30 a.m.
7.
Follows the salutation in formal correspondence.
E.g. Dear Sir: / Ladies and Gentlemen:
8.
Punctuates headings in memorandums and formal
correspondence.
E.g. TO: / SUBJECT: / REFERENCE:
Comma 5. Use a comma for addresses, some dates, and titles following a name. E.g. Los
Comma
5.
Use
a comma for addresses,
some
dates,
and titles following
a
name.
E.g. Los Angeles, California / November 4, 1948
6.
Use a comma before of after direct speech. Do not use a comma for
reported speech.
E.g. He said, “I love you.” / “I love you”, he said.
He told her that he loved her.
7.
Use a comma before coordinating conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or,
yet, so) to join independent clauses.
E.g. He didn't want to go, but he went anyway.
She is kind so she helps people.
8.
Use a comma for parenthetical elements.
E.g. John Miles, who is chairman of the company, is quite old.
Andy, my wife’s brother, cannot come.
Comma 9. Use a comma after an introductory part. E.g. Rushing to catch the flight, he
Comma
9.
Use a comma after an introductory part.
E.g. Rushing to catch the flight, he forgot to take his phone.
By evening we were getting worried.
10. Sentence adverbs.
E.g. However, Anthony did arrive.
Anthony, however, did arrive.
11. Adverbial clause.
E.g. If I win the lottery, I will buy a castle / I will buy a castle if I
win the lottery.
12. Set off contrasting and opposing expressions.
E.g. He changed his style, not his ethics.
Comma 13.Separates a tag question from the rest of the sentence. E.g. It’s a fine day,
Comma
13.Separates a tag question from the rest of the sentence.
E.g. It’s a fine day, isn’t it?
14.Is used to avoid ambiguity that might arise from adjacent
words.
E.g. To Mary, Jane was someone special.
15.Punctuates an inverted name.
E.g. Morton, William.
16.Follows the salutation in informal letter.
E.g. Dear Mark, / Very truly yours,
Dash 1. To show a pause or break in meaning in the middle of a sentence.
Dash
1.
To show a pause or break in meaning in the middle of a sentence.
E.g. My brothers—Richard and John—are visiting Hanoi.
In the 15th century—when of course nobody had
electricity—water was often pumped by hand.
2.
To show an afterthought.
E.g. I attached the photo to my email—at least I hope I did!
3.
To introduce a list.
E.g. Don’t forget to buy some food—eggs, bread, tuna and cheese.
4.
To show that letters or words are missing.
E.g. They are really f----d up.
5.
Often precedes the attribution of a quotation.
E.g. My foot is on my native heath ....
-Sir Walter Scott
Ellipsis 1. Indicates the omission of one or more words within a quoted passage. E.g. In
Ellipsis
1.
Indicates the omission of one or more words within a quoted
passage.
E.g. In the little world in which children have their
existence,… there is nothing so finely perceived
and so finely felt as injustice.-Charles Dickens
2.
Usually indicates omission of one or more lines of poetry when
ellipsis is extended the length of the line.
E.g. I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree
.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree. –Joyce Kilmer
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
3.
Indicates halting speech or an unfinished sentence in dialogue.
E.g. “I’d like to … that is … if you don’t mind ….”
Slash 1. Separate alternatives. E.g. Dear Sir/Madam. Mary will eat cake and/or fruit. 2. Replaces the
Slash
1.
Separate alternatives.
E.g. Dear Sir/Madam.
Mary will eat cake and/or fruit.
2.
Replaces the word to or and between related terms that are compounded.
E.g. In the May/June issue.
The fiscal year 2009/2010.
3.
Divides elements in dates and divides numerators and denominators in
fractions.
E.g. Offer expires 5/10/2011
2/3 (two-thirds)
4.
Set off phonemes and phonemic transcription.
E.g. /b/ as in but

Linking Devices

Linking words or devices help you to build a logical argument or thread in your assignment by linking one statement to another. An assignment without linking words reads like a series of unrelated statements with no flow.

Linking words can be used to:

Link the flow of ideas in your writing. Guide your reader towards the next stage of your argument. Link paragraphs together.

Thanks
Thanks