We Need to use certain marks, in written text, to indicate the pause which should be while reading the text. These marks are called Punctuation marks. These marks function as indicators to separate the parts of sentences, or even sentences in written text. Speaking with due importance given to the punctuation pauses leads to better understanding on part of the listener.

Common Punctuation Marks

In English language, the common punctuation marks are as follows:

1. Full Stop (.)

The full stop is used to show the end of a declarative or imperative sentence. It is also used after abbreviations of names, titles. degrees etc. For example;
(a) I Want to reach home early.
(b) Bring that chair here.
In contemporary language full stop after Mr. Ms. Mrs Is not used.)
2 Question Mark (?)
The question mark (?) is used at the end of all types of questions such as direct questions, question tags etc. For example;
(a) Did you post that letter?

3. Exclamation Mark (!)

The exclamation mark is used at the end of an exclamation to express sorrow, joy, praise, wonder surprise etc.
For example;
(a) Bravo! You did very well.
(b) What a wonderful gift!

4. Comma (,)

  • The comma is used to separate more than two words in a series.For examples;

I want some balloons, ribbons and stickers.

  • to separate the words ‘yes’ or ‘no’ from the rest of the sentence. For example ;

Yes, I shall join the group.

No, you can’t say like that.

  • to separate month and the year, or the date and the year. For example;

It was June, 1984 when she died.

He was born on August 17, 1990.

  • to separate question tag from the rest of the sentence. For example;

He is fine now, isn’t he?

  • to separate certain expressions such as ‘however’, ‘of course’ etc. For Example;
He may not do very well. However, he may pass.
Of course, I will join the party.
  • to separate reported speech from the direct speech.For example;

He said to us, “What are you doing for the event?”

  • to indicate a word or a group of words in apposition. For example;
The Bible, a holy book, teaches us love and peace.
Semicolon (;)
The semicolon shows a longer pause than a comma. It is used to separate the clauses.
For example;
(a) He was kind, helpful. affectionate; we all miss him.
(b) Her heart was full of love; her life pure.

6. Colon (:)

The colon is used:
  • to introduce a quotation or a speech. For example;

So spoke the king: “Oh my subjects! I shall serve you till death”.

• to introduce a list after phrases such as the following. For example;

Note the following items:  pen, pencil, rubber, sharpener and ruler.

7. Dash (-)

The dash is used before or after a list, or to mark a break in the sentence. For example; The three girls- Neeto, Geeta and Sita-were innocent.
They all listened-then they laughed.
8. Hyphen (-)
The hyphen is used in compound words. For example;
Mr. Gupta always respects his co-workers.
The ex-chairman had come here yesterday.
Two ten-rupee notes make twenty rupees.

9. Quotation Marks(“”)

Quotation marks are of two types – Single quotation marks(”) and Double quotation marks (“”)
• Single quotation marks(”) are used to enclose the titles of films, books, nickname
ete. For example;
‘Lagaan’ was a patriotic film.
 • Double quotation marks(“”) are used to enclose the reported speech in the direct
narration. For examples He said, “I will fight against corruption.”

10. Apostrophe  (‘)

The apostrophe is used
• to show possession
Hem’s  shirts  is brand new.
• to show the time.
It is 5 o’clock in the morning.
to show omission of some letters during contraction in the form of a word
For example;
You shouldn’t go there without invitation.
• to show omission of ‘s’ in possessive form of plural nouns ending in ‘-s’. For example;
The fighter’ groups were waiting there.

Capitalisation of Letters

Capital letters are used as follow
• to begin the first word at sentence. For Example;
He is going to the playground.
• to begin first word every new line in a poem, For example;
And there he goes.
And there he speaks.
• to begin first word in direct speech.For example;
He ordered,”Bring the pen.”
• to write proper nouns. For example;
The Buland Darwaza was built by Akbar.
  • to write the names of days and months.For exemple;
Next Sunday is a car-free day.
The hottest month last year was June.
  • to write the names of religions, sects, nationalities. For example;

The Hindus are cool.

We are Indian.

• To write the names of institutions or organisations. For example;
World Health Organization, Tata Iron and Steel Company
• To write the names of books, newspapers, journals, festivals, historic events. For example; Times of India, Science Reporter, Onam, World War -I
• For the pronoun I (first person, singular). For example; You and I are the birds of the same feather.
• For abbreviations. For example;
He is an M.A., Ph.D.
• To write the designation. For example;
The President of India addressed the nation.
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