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Punctuation Marks Used In English Language

Updated on February 29, 2016

Punctuation Marks

The English language is the most commonly used in many countries for communication. When you come to the World Wide Web, the same case applies. Most of the millions of articles that have found their way to the Internet are in English language. I am not denying the fact that there are other languages some less common and others commonly used too. You can mention the likes of German, Portuguese, Hindi, Afrikaans, French, among others.

Article Writing

Good English is important in article writing
Good English is important in article writing | Source

Importance of punctuation marks

  • Punctuation marks help us to make sense (head or tail) of what we are reading. As you read a sentence, you need occasional pauses if it is a long sentence and a stop when the sentence ends.
  • Punctuation symbols define how words relate to each other.
  • Properly used punctuation symbols will help you know when a sentence ends, when to take a breath, when to pause, when to become excited, when to lift your voice to ask a question and they will let you know when you are about to start a new sentence.

Looking at the articles found on the internet, you will find that many of the writers have favoured the use of English language as their tool of communication. It could be because more people are making money from creative writing and posting their articles on the web. However, looking at some of the articles, they are in very poor language standard.

It is such a poor language standard that can make an Englishman using queen’s English puke upon reading such articles. I am not claiming my English is perfect, but you need to know how to make use of punctuation marks effectively.

Full stop (.)

A full stop is also known as a period. It is used to denote end of a complete sentence. A sentence is a complete statement usually containing a verb. This means when your sentence comes to an end, use a full stop at the end of it. The full stop is just a single dot.

Comma (,)

  • A comma is used to indicate a short pause.
  • The comma can also be used to denote a series of items for instance sheep, cows, goats and horses.
  • A comma can also be used when the subject has two or more adjectives being used to describe it.
  • A comma can also be used with a sentence that adds information and supplements the subject. Jennifer, the lady who broke the marathon record, is coming to town.
  • The comma can also be used to separate an introductory phrase from the rest of the sentence.

Semicolon (;)

  • A semicolon is used to give a stronger pause as opposed to a comma.
  • The semicolon is also appropriate for separating two related but independent clauses.
  • Another common use of a semicolon is to separate a series of complex items especially when they have commas in them.

The colon (:)

  • The colon is used to introduce a list but not a regular series. Usually the word following denotes the use of a colon. A colon should be used only after a full sentence that is ending with a noun.

Apostrophe (‘)

An apostrophe is used for the following purpose:

  • To tell the reader when a thing is owned by another for instance the boy’s toy.
  • To tell the reader when a word has been made short or has been contracted for instance won’t, can’t, haven’t, among others.

When dealing with singular nouns, add an apostrophe at the end of the word and then an “s” for instance cat, milk. If the word is a singular noun, add an “s”.

  • James’s book
  • James’ book

For plural nouns

Only the apostrophe is required for instance boys’ bikes, dog’s meat.

Speech Marks (“ “)

They are also known as quotation marks. They are useful in day to day writing. There are commonly used to record exactly what someone said. The recording of what someone has said can be done in the following ways:

a) Direct speech – this is recording of exactly what was said. What was spoken is put inside the speech marks.

b) Indirect speech – this is the recording of what was said but not in the very exact word.

Always remember that all punctuations of a speech go inside speech marks.

Exclamation mark (!)

The exclamation mark indicates emphasis or excitement in a sentence. For instance in a sentence, come here now!

Question mark (?)

A question mark is used at the end of a sentence that suggests inquiry or interrogatory remark. What is your name please?

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© 2013 Patrick Kamau


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    • Patkay profile image

      Patrick Kamau 3 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Thanks sunilkunnoth2012, noted and corrected.

    • sunilkunnoth2012 profile image

      Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 3 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

      I would like to point out an error here. Please see your text "You can mention the likes of German, Portuguese, Hindu, Afrikaans, French, among others". Hindu is not a language. It must be Hindi. Please edit it.

    • Patkay profile image

      Patrick Kamau 3 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Thanks @Ninasvoice for the visit and approving the contents

    • Ninasvoice profile image

      Ninasvoice 3 years ago from England

      Very interesting read. Very helpful for brushing up on things.

    • Patkay profile image

      Patrick Kamau 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      You are welcome Tom Mukasa. Glad I was of help to. Life is a continuous process of learning. Thanks for the visit.

    • Tom Mukasa profile image

      Tom Mukasa 4 years ago from Lives in USA

      Thanks. I enjoyed this informative piece. I always used the apostrophe after wrongly. Now, your piece has made it clearer.

    • Patkay profile image

      Patrick Kamau 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Thanks sunilkunnoth2012 for approving my work. Keep reading on the other hubs that I have.

    • sunilkunnoth2012 profile image

      Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 4 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

      Fantastic efforts to educate the fellow men. Great! Thank you for sharing this useful text.