Punctuation is a series of symbols used in the English language. These symbols are extremely important in written English as they can completely change the meaning of the sentence. The most commonly used punctuation marks are the Full Stop (or Period in American English), Comma, Semi-colon, Apostrophe, Question Mark, and the Exclamation Mark.
The full stop is used to denote the end of a sentence. It can also be used in other cases like abbreviations but the end of the sentence is the most common and critical use of the full stop.
I was not well. I went to the doctor.
The comma is used to signify a pause in the same sentence. This pause can be for a variety of reasons. These examples will make it clear.
When I went to France, I was surprised by its beauty.
I bought a jacket, a pullover, a pair of trousers and a white shirt of the party.
A semi-colon can be used in place of a conjunction in a sentence.
I like the colour blue; my wife likes the colour pink.
The chief use of the apostrophe is to show ownership. It can also be used to shorten two words.
The book belongs to Paul – can also be written as – Paul’s book. In this example, the apostrophe is used to signify ownership.
I will be coming late for the meeting – can also be written as – I’ll be coming late for the party. In this example, the apostrophe is used to combine ‘I will’ and make it ‘I’ll’.
Similarly, We cannot finish our work, can become We can’t finish our work and I do not like movies can become I don’t like movies.
The main use of the question mark is to ask a question.
Where are you going?
What is the time?
The exclamation mark is punctuation used to denote shock, surprise, anger and similar emotions.
Here are some simple rules to keep in mind when using punctuation marks
• Make sure you use a full stop at the end of each sentence which is not a question.
• Use a question mark at the end of each sentence.
• When you have to list down items in the sentences, use a comma
• To show ownership or to combine two words, use an apostrophe
• Use a semi-colon instead of a conjunction
• To show emotions like shock, surprise and anger, use an exclamation mark