How to Use Punctuation in English Grammar

When we speak, we use more than just words to get our point across. The pace at which we speak; the pauses we take; our tone and volume...all of this (and more) allows us to be exciting; to convey information and create anticipation; and to create emphasis or express our emotions. When we write, it is much more difficult to do all of this. In written English, Punctuation Marks are the little symbols that help align the reader's experience with the intention of the writer. This section will give a brief outline of the primary punctuation marks, with examples as to how you can use them.

Please note that there are many style guides across different English-speaking countries, and in different fields of writing - Creative, Business, Academic, etc. We are not presenting you with an authoritative guide; instead, we wish to make it clear that while you can use any one of a number of styles, you should be consistent for the sake of clarity. It should perhaps be noted that different fields of writing also have different expectations of adherence to accuracy. In Academic writing, adhering to the specifics of a style guide is of the utmost importance, especially if you want to get your work published. So always ensure that you follow the instructions laid out in the style guide to which you are instructed to adhere. In Business writing, the rules are not so rigid. What is most important is your consistency and clarity of thought, and ensuring that people in your workplace understand exactly what you mean. In Creative writing, there is a lot more freedom, but general issues relating to dialogue and punctuation mark placement remain. You'll find relevant guidance throughout these pages.

The punctuation issues we cover here are:

Full Stop/Period .

Comma ,

Semicolon ;

Colon :

Dash and Hyphen -

Quotation Marks ' or "

Apostrophe '

Exclamation Mark !

Question Mark ?

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