English Punctuation: Rules and Examples

You use punctuation marks to structure and organize your writing.


Full Stop (.)

Use a full stop at the end of a declarative sentence and in abbreviations

  • My name’s Beth and I was 18 in July.
  • Mr. White was talking with Mr. Smith."

Question Mark (?)                  

Use a question mark after an interrogative sentence

  • Where are you from?

Quotation Marks /Speech Marks (" ")

Use quotation marks for direct quotations

  •  “I work in Italy”  said Jimmy.

Apostrophe (')                     

Use an apostrophe in contractions and to indicate possession

  • Sean's performance at school has greatly improved.
  • They're going to the movies tonight.

Comma (,)                               

Add a comma when two separate sentences are combined

  • We purchased some cheese, and we purchased some fruit.

Use commas between words in a series. Notice that a comma does not follow the last word in the series

  • I like reading books, listening to music, watching TV, and studying English.

Use a comma to separate an introductory element from the rest of the sentence

  • As the day came to an end, the fire fighters put out the last spark.

Use the comma to set off the words "yes" and "no"

  • No, thank you.

Use a comma to set off a tag question from the rest of the sentence

  • She is your sister, isn't she?

Use a comma to indicate direct address

  • Is that you, Mary?

Use a comma after an expression

  • Most certainly, you can borrow my pencil.

Add a comma when a participle phrase clause is used

  • Walking slowly, I could see the beautiful flowers.

Use a comma to separate parts of the date

  • Tuesday, May 2, 2016 was when I graduated.

Hyphen (-)                             

Use a hyphen to join two or more words together into a compound term and is not separated by spaces

  • My eight-year-old boy loves reading.
  • I work part-time.

Exclamation Mark (!)

Use an exclamation mark to show strong emotion or give a command

  • Stop!
  • Yeah!
  • Sit down!

Colon (:)    

Use a colon to introduce a list and before a final clause that explains something in the sentence

  • You have two choices: finish the work today or lose the contract.

Semicolon (;)

Use a semicolon to join two independent clauses that are not connected with a coordinate conjunction

  • My daughter is a teacher; my son is a doctor.

Parentheses/Brackets ( )            

Use parentheses for extra non-essential information

  • The two brothers (Richard and Sean) were learning how to play guitar.

Ellipsis (...)                         

Use ellipsis to show that parts of sentences are left out

  • To be continues…
  • You'll never believe what I saw…


What's Your Reaction?

Confused Confused
0
Confused
Sad Sad
0
Sad
Geeky Geeky
0
Geeky
Haha Haha
0
Haha
Wow Wow
1
Wow
Hard Hard
0
Hard
Easy Easy
0
Easy
What? What?
0
What?

Comments 0

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

English Punctuation: Rules and Examples

log in

Become a part of our community!
Don't have an account?
sign up

reset password

Back to
log in

sign up

Join ESL Buzz Community

Back to
log in
Choose A Format
Personality quiz
Series of questions that intends to reveal something about the personality
Trivia quiz
Series of questions with right and wrong answers that intends to check knowledge
Poll
Voting to make decisions or determine opinions
Story
Formatted Text with Embeds and Visuals
List
The Classic Internet Listicles
Open List
Submit your own item and vote up for the best submission
Ranked List
Upvote or downvote to decide the best list item
Meme
Upload your own images to make custom memes
Video
Youtube, Vimeo or Vine Embeds
Audio
Soundcloud or Mixcloud Embeds
Image
Photo or GIF
Gif
GIF format