Punctuation Explained (with Examples)

Punctuation Explained (with Examples)

Punctuation is the use of conventional characters (e.g., commas, semicolons) to improve clarity. In general, punctuation aids comprehension by showing a reader which words are grouped and where to pause.

The main punctuation characters are:

Punctuation (Apostrophes)

Apostrophes are used: Apostrophes are not used: Read more about using apostrophes.

Punctuation (Colons)

Colons are used: Read more about using colons.

Punctuation (Commas)

A comma is used: Read more about using commas.

Punctuation (Hyphens)

Hyphens are joiners. They are used: Their main purpose is to show the joined words are a single entity (e.g., a single adjective or a single noun). They are also useful to avoid ambiguity (e.g., a hyphen makes it clear that a paper-clip is a clip for paper and not a clip made of paper).

Read more about using hyphens.

Punctuation (Round Parentheses)

Round parentheses (brackets) are used: .

Punctuation (Square Parentheses)

Square parentheses (brackets) are used: .

Punctuation (Period / Full Stop)

A period (.) (or full stop in the UK) is a punctuation mark used: Read more about periods / full stops.

Punctuation (Semicolons)

Semicolons are used: Semicolons are not used for introductions (e.g., I would blame one thing for my divorce; beer. It should be a colon.)

Read more about using semicolons.

Punctuation (Quotation Marks)

Quotation marks (or speech marks as they're also called) are used: Read more about using quotation marks.

A Quick Test


What are apostrophes?
What are colons?
What are commas?
What are dashes?
What is ellipsis?
What are exclamation marks?
What are hyphens?
What is a full stop / period?
What are parentheses (i.e., brackets)?
What are questions marks?
What are quotation marks?
What are semicolons?

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See Also

How to use apostrophes How to use round parentheses (brackets) How to use square parentheses (brackets) How to use colons How to use commas How to use dashes What is ellipsis? When to use exclamation marks How to use hyphen Using periods (full stops) When to use question marks How to use quotation marks How to use semicolons Glossary of grammatical terms