Punctuation: 12 Important Punctuation Marks with Rules & Examples

Punctuation Marks! List of 12 Important Punctuations in English. Learn how and when to use these marks in English with useful examples and free ESL infographic.

Punctuation Definition

Punctuation marks are important in both written and spoken English. In written English, the correct usage of these symbols helps to express the intended meaning of the sentence. In spoken English, punctuation marks denote the pauses and intonations to be used when reading aloud.

Incorrect punctuation can change the meaning of a sentence.

For instance, compare the following two sentences:

  • Let’s eat Mom.
  • Let’s eat, Mom.

Do you see how the usage of a comma changes the entire meaning in both the sentences? The disappearance of comma in the first sentence indicates that the speaker is asking to eat their Mom, which does not make sense. Whereas, the comma after let’s eat in the second sentence helps to convey the meaning that the speaker is suggesting to their Mom to go and start eating, which sounds more sensible and also saves a life.

Symbols of Punctuation

Some of the commonly used punctuation marks are:

  • Full Stop (.) – Usually used at the end of a sentence.
  • Question Mark (?) – Usually used at the end of an interrogative sentence to form a question.
  • Comma (,) – Usually used to denote a pause in a sentence.
  • Exclamation Mark (!) – Used to denote shock, surprise, anger or a raised voice.
  • Colon (:) – Used to indicate what is to follow next.
  • Semi Colon (;) – Used to link two independent clauses not joined by a conjunction or used to separate two independent clauses in place of comma.
  • Apostrophe (‘) – Used to show possession or for contraction of word.
  • Hyphen (-) – Used to glue words together.
  • Slash (/) – Used to separate letters, numbers or words.
  • Ellipsis Mark (…) – Used to separate items in a series.
  • Round Brackets () – Used to add extra information in a sentence.
  • Quotation Mark (” “) – Used to show that someone else has said it.

Punctuation Examples

  • She was wearing a beautiful dress.
  • What a beautiful piece of music! Who composed it?
  • It’s a beautiful dress, but it’s ludicrously expensive.
  • Tom was so hungry he ate everything in the house: chips, cold pizza, pretzels and dip, hot dogs, peanut butter, and candy.
  • My wife would like tea; I would prefer coffee.
  • This is a woman’s hat.
  • Sarah had a little lamb/ little lamb whose fleece was white as snow.
  • I don’t know … I’m not sure.
  • I hope you will be here,” he said.

Punctuation Marks Chart


Punctuation Exercise

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2 years ago

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2 years ago

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2 years ago

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2 years ago

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2 years ago

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1 year ago

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1 year ago

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1 year ago

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