Punctuation marks are symbols that help clarify the meaning of sentences.
1. Terminal Points – used to end a sentence
Period mark (.) is generally used to end a sentence
ex: I went to school is mistmatch socks.
Question mark (?) is used to ask a question
ex: When is the homework due?
Exclamation point (!) is used to give a command or request
ex: Shut the lights!
2. Pausing Points – used in the the middle of a sentence
Comma (,) is used to pause a sentence/thought, to list things, and used before any coordinating conjunction (“…, and… “…, but…” “…, so…”).
ex: Today I went to the store, bought two bags of chips, and paid with a credit card.
ex: The library was closed today, so we went to a cafe to study.
Colon (:) is used to list items in the same sentence, to separate two independent clauses in which the second one explains the first one, and is used to emphasize a phrase or word at the end of the sentence.
ex: These are the following items I need for school: folder, notebook, pens, and pencils.
ex: Two tutors are working today: Amanda tutors math and Sam tutors English.
ex: The jury finally reached a verdict: not guilty.
Semicolon (;) is also used to separate two independent clauses to emphasis a connection between the two.
ex: It was a nice day today; some students went out to eat during lunch time
ex: Greg and Jorge went to the festival; Tom and Bill stayed home to play video games.
3. Quotations (“”) are primarily used to copy material word from word, whether it is from a book or from a person.
ex: According to Gabriel, “Life lessons come with failures.”
ex: “High school detention,” said the Dean, ” will last for 3 hours.”
4. Parentheses () are used to provide additional information that are not meant to be part of the sentence structure. If the material inside the parentheses is presented at the end of the sentence, a period mark must follow.
ex: The basketball team (in my opinion) did not play that well today.
ex: I received a bonus for working during the holidays ($200).
5. Hyphens (-) are used to join two or more words/numbers together and Dashes (–) are used like parentheses.
ex: The basketball team — in my opinion — did not play that well today.
ex: Claire studied for twenty-one hours in total this week.