24 Apr 2020

Punctuation Marks in English Grammar : Names, Rules & Examples

English Grammar : Punctuation (What are punctuation marks and examples?)

image : English Grammar - Punctuation Marks @ TeachMatters
Punctuation means the right use of putting in Points Stops in writing. The word ‘punctuation’ is derived from the Latin punctum, a point. Punctuation का अर्थ है, विराम चिह्नों का सही प्रयोग।

“Punctuation is the use of spacing, conventional signs, and certain typographical devices as aids to the understanding and correct reading of written text, whether read silently or aloud.” - Wikipedia

In other words, Punctuation Marks are symbols that are used to aid the clarity and comprehension of written language.

There are 12 punctuation marks that are commonly used in English grammar. They are –

Punctuation Marks - Types, Rules, Uses & Examples

Punctuation Marks Table (TeachMatters.in)
Sr. No.
Punctuation Mark
Capital Letters
(A, B, C,…)
Full Stop (Period)
( . )
( , )
( ; )
( : )
Question Mark (Mark of Interrogation)
( ? )
Exclamation Mark
( ! )
Inverted Commas (Quotation Marks)
( “ “)
( ‘)
( - )
Brackets (Braces / Parenthesis)
[ ], { }, ( )

Uses of Punctuation Marks -

1. Capital Letters (A, B, C...)

(When to use capital letters in English?)

(a) The first letter of the first word of a sentence; as,

Ram is writing a letter.

(b) The first letter of the first word of direct speech; as,

He said, ”I am going to Goa.”

(c) The first letter of every word of Proper Noun; as,

She is Geeta.

He is Pawan Amar.

I love India.

I like to travel on Indian Airlines.

(d) The first letter of Proper Adjective; as,

I love Indian curry.

(e) The first letter of the days of the week & the months of the year; as,

Last Sunday, I visited London.

I shall visit London in December.

(f) The first letter of Festivals/Holidays; as,

They are very excited about Diwali.

(g) The first letter of every noun and pronoun related to God; as,

God has thousands at His command.

(h) The first letter of the names of religion; as,

One of the main religions in India is Hinduism.

(Hinduism, Christianity, Jainism, Sufism, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism etc.)

(i) Pronoun ‘I’ and interjection ‘O’ are always written in capital letters; as,

My wife thinks that I drink too much coffee.

O for a draught of vintage!

(j) Every letter of Abbreviations and Acronyms; as,

M.A., M.L.A., M.B.B.S., I.S.R.O., N.A.S.A., Mr., Dr. etc.

He is M.A. in English.

2. Full Stop or Period ( . )

(a) At the end of a declarative sentence, or a statement that is considered to be complete; as,

I am reading a novel.

Come here.

(b) After every letter in Abbreviations; as,

M.L.A., M.B.A., B.A.M.S. etc.

3. Comma ( , )

(a) To separate several nouns and adjectives; as,

I want a book, a pen, a note-book and a table.

Rahim is kind, brave, gentle and handsome.

(b) To separate noun or phrase in Apposition; as,

Milton, the great poet, was blind.

(c) Between Reporting Verb and Reported Speech in Direct Narration; as,

He said, “ I am going to Gurugram.”

(d) After yes or no; as,

Yes, I will help you.

No, you can’t do this work.

(e) To separate parts of the date; as,

April 24, 2020 or 24th April, 2020

(f) To separate Co-ordinate Clauses in a Compound Sentence; as,

The weather was pleasant, the wind was calm, the hills all around were green.

4. Semicolon ( ; )

(a) Between two opposite things said in the same sentence; as,

God made the country; man made the town.

(b) To separate co-ordinate clauses, joined by the conjunctions (for, therefore, while otherwise etc.); as,

You must work hard; otherwise you will not good marks.

(c) To separate units in a list that contains comma; as,

Martha could go on for hours about her trips to Rome, Italy; Madrid, Spain; Ottawa, Canada; and Athens, Greece.

5. Colon ( : )

(a) To introduce a quotation; as,

Keats said : “A thing of beauty is a joy for ever.”

(b) To introduce a list or a series; as,

Four boys have won prizes : Mukesh, Sohan, Ravi and Jatin.

(c) To give an example; as,

The principal cities of India are : Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai etc.

(d) To explain and elaborate what has already been said; as,

There is bad news : our team has lost the match.

6. Question Mark (Mark of Interrogation) ( ? )

(a) After direct interrogative sentence (to make a question); as,

Why do you want to meet him?

7. Exclamation Mark ( ! )

(a) After direct exclamatory sentence to express a strong or forceful emotion, such as anger, surprise, wish, excitement or joy; as,

What a beautiful girl!

How fine is the weather!

Hurrah! We have won the match.

Alas! I have injured my foot.

May you live long!

8. Quotation Mark (Inverted Commas)

(a) In direct speech; as,

He said, “I don’t care.”

“I don’t care,” he said.

(b) To quote a direct quotation; as,

“To be, or not to be; that is the question” – Shakespeare.

(c) For titles/names of any chapter, book, song, music album, movie etc.; as,

I like Premchand’s “Godan”.

I have seen the film “Mother India”.

9. Apostrophe ( ‘ )

(a) To show possession; as,

I saw Ram’s father reading a book. (singular noun + apostrophe + s)

This is a girls’ school. (plural noun that end in s + apostrophe)

I have written some children’s books. (plural noun that do not end in s + apostrophe)

(b) To represent missing letters; as,

I don’t like non-vegetarian food.

They’re doing very well.

(c) To make plural for abbreviations, single letters and numerals; as,

She consulted with three M.D.’s.

I made straight A’s.

10. Hyphen ( - )

(a) To join the parts of a compound word; as,

Do you know my mother-in-law?

Where is my tooth-brush?

(b) To tell the age of people and things; as,

We have a two-year-old child.

(c) In all compound numbers from twenty-one through ninety-nine; as,

There are thirty-two students in our class.

(d) To show spans or estimates of time, distance, or other quantities; as,

You should complete your work in 10-15 days.

(e) In words beginning with prefixes; as,

He is all-rounder.

My co-worker is very intelligent.

11. Dash ( — )

(a) To express a sudden change of thought or hesitation; as,

I don’t like it—but let us forget the matter altogether.

I—I don’t accept this charge.

I wish you would-oh, never mind.

(b) To act as a bracket; as,

Joe—and his trusty mutt—was always welcome.

12. Brackets (Braces/Parentheses) [ ], { }, ( )

(a) To enclose additional information; as,

He gave me a nice bonus ($100).

(b) To indicate misspelling in quotation; as,

She wrote, “I would rather die then [sic] be seen wearing the same outfit as my sister.

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