Punctuation Lesson

Summary :

  • Full Stop
  • Comma
  • Question mark and Exclamation mark
  • Colon
  • Semi Colon
  • Quotation mark
  • Apostrophe
  • Hyphen and Dash
  • Parentheses and brackets
Comma (,)

It is one of the most frequently used punctuation mark. Commas indicate a brief pause.

We use commas:

-to separate words

Example : We ate ham, cheese, and bread.

-to separate adjectives

Example : Emily was a beautiful, clever, nice girl.

-to separate verbs

Example : Andrew ran, fell, and cried.

-in direct speeches

Example :Steve replied, ‘No problem.’

-to separate clauses :

Example : If you are not sure about this, let me know.

-to separate a part of the sentence which is not a part of the main statement

Example : James Cameron's film, Avatar, was very successful.

Commas are very important because if we don't put commas the meaning of the sentence can change :

I hate liars like you; I believe that honesty is the best policy. = I hate you because you are a liar.

I hate liars, like you; I believe that honesty is the best policy. = You and I both hate liars. 

Question mark (?) and exclamation mark (!)

Question mark :

Question marks are used after a direct question. (Example: What's your name ?)We never use question mark after an indirect question (Example :I'm asking if you will go with me)

Semi Colons (;)

Semi colons mark a break stronger than a comma but not as final as a full stop

Semi colons can be used :

-before words such as “however”, “namely”, “therefore” or “for example”

Example : I like cows; however, I hate the way they smell.

-between two main clauses that are too closely linked to be separated in two sentences

Example : Some people like summer; others like winter.

-when there are many commas and you want to clarify your idea.

Example : I talked to Mrs Smith, the headteacher; Mr Clarke, the teacher, Mr Pierce the supervisor; and Jenny, the student concerned.

You shouldn't put a capital letter after a semi colon except if it is a proper noun.

Example : Let’s go to Europe; Paris is nice in the spring.

Apostrophes (')

Apostrophes are used to show possession:

in most cases you simply have to add “'s” to a noun (example : Lily's car) but if a noun ends in “s” you only have to put an apostrophe after the noun (examples : bus' wheel, lawyers' salary)

Apostrophes are also used for contractions, where a noun or pronoun and a verb are combined. (examples : he isn't, I'm, she's, we'll)

Parentheses (or round brackets) and brackets[ ]

Parentheses :

Parentheses can be used to enclose an information that clarifies the sentence or as an aside but it is not essential to the meaning of the rest of the sentence.

Example : I visited Paris (which was full of tourists) and saw the Eiffel Tower.

Brackets :

Brackets are less common than parentheses, they are used to enclose words added by someone else than the original writer.

Example : She [the journalist] was very curious but very rude.

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Punctuation lesson

by claraetoungou


Public - 4/17/16, 8:45 AM