The fact that punctuation marks are not used correctly and in place is the biggest factor that disrupts the integrity of meaning. For this reason, it is necessary to follow the rules of punctuation in order to express the desired message correctly.
Period: The period is used at the end of sentences and in abbreviations.
∗ I love reading storybooks.
∗ Mr. Clark
Comma: The comma is used between sentences and words that follow each other.
∗ I can speak English, French, Germany.
⇒ A comma is not commonly used before “and” at the end of a one-word list.
∗ We ate pizza, salad and cheesecake.
⇒ In American English, a comma is commonly used in the list before “and”.
∗ He takes the classes Science, Math, and English.
⇒ A comma is used to separate words or phrases that indicate where one should pause.
∗ They, finally, finished the project.
⇒ When sentences have the same subject, commas are not commonly used when main clauses are separated by and or but. However, commas are normally used if clauses have different subjects.
∗ Clara likes drinking coffee in the morning, but she thinks it is not so healthy.
∗ How did you cook this soup?
∗ Is this the book you have mentioned?
Exclamation Mark: The exclamation mark is used at the end of sentences expressing situations in which emotions such as fear, excitement, happiness are experienced.
∗ No way! I won’t let him go abroad alone.
∗ Watch out! It looks dangerous.
Semi-Colon: The semi-colon is used between compound and complementary sentences. The semicolon is not commonly used in contemporary English. Period and comma are more common. A semicolon is used instead of a period to separate two main sentences. In such cases, clauses are related in meaning but grammatically separated.
∗ I want to learn to swim; however, I am scared a bit.
Colon: The colon is used to introduce lists, to indicate a subheading or subsection of a topic, to introduce direct speech, and if the second sentence explains or justifies the first sentence, a colon is used between sentences.
∗ I need to buy stuff for school: pencils, crayons, notebooks, and a backpack.
∗ She said: “People don’t understand me!”
Apostrophe: The apostrophe is used after the subject in negative sentences, abbreviations with auxiliary verbs, and possessive sentences.
∗ You’re coming with me.
∗ He doesn’t care much about his financial problems.
Quotation Marks: In a direct speech, what is said can be enclosed in single or double quotes, although single quotes are becoming more common. The direct speech begins with a capital letter and can be preceded by a comma or colon.
∗ My mother always said, “The best things in life are free.”
∗ Their dreams are not understandable by ‘realists’ like me.
⇒ Articles, chapters, or short story titles in books are normally punctuated with single quotation marks.
∗ The favorite storybook of my children is ‘The Black Tulip’.
Hyphen: Hyphens are more common in informal writing. They can be used in ways similar to commas or semicolons. Both single and multiple dashes can be used.
∗ My father came in with a large bouquet—roses, daisies, and tulips.
⇒ A hyphen is also used to join two or more words together into a compound term.