Punctuation Marks: Everything You Need to Know!

Style, meaning, and grammar are three principles that can lead to writing success. Clarity and precision always impress those who read and evaluate your texts, demonstrating your educational and personal qualities. Grammar and punctuation are essential not only for academic success but also for texting a date you want to impress, corresponding for a job interview, chatting with colleagues, etc.

In English grammar, 14 punctuation marks are used. Most of them are probably familiar to you, but it never hurts to go over them again. There are several types of punctuation. These include the period, the question mark, the exclamation point, the comma, semicolon, colon, dashes, hyphens, parentheses, brackets, braces, the apostrophe, quote marks, and elliptical punctuation. Your writing will be easier and more appealing to read if you use them correctly.

Of course, there are differences in punctuation between British and American English. They are not significant, but they are still substantial. Popular abbreviations like Mr., Ms., and Mrs., for example, have periods in American English. However, no periods are used in the United Kingdom. When writing the time in British English, periods are used—for example; noon is 12.00.

In the same way, colons are used in the American system (noon). Punctuation marks can also have different names. Before we proceed, please look at the table to learn how to use them.

  • The “. ” Symbol is known as a full stop (British English), a period (American English)
  • The ” ! ” Symbol is known as an exclamation mark (British English) an exclamation point (American English)
  • The ” [ ] ” symbol is known as square brackets (British English) brackets (American English)
  • The ” ( ) ” symbol is known as brackets (British English)
  • parentheses (American English)
  • The punctuation for abbreviations: Dr, Mr, Mrs, St, Rd, Ct (British English) Dr., Mr., Mrs., St., Rd., Ct. (American English)
  • The position of quotation marks: The word joy means “happiness”. (British English) The word joy means “happiness.” (American English)


The punctuation marks period, question mark, and exclamation point are used to bring sentences to a close.

Let’s start with sentence ends. Sentences are an essential component of any text or message. A sentence can be ended with a period, a question mark, or an exclamation point. Simple declarative sentences are usually completed with a period (.). In most cases, they finish statements with no special emotional meaning and do not imply a question.

Examples: He is a big baseball fan.

In order to signify a direct question, a question mark (?) is placed at the conclusion of each sentence.

Examples: Is he a big baseball fan?

The exclamation point (!) emphasizes an emotion or a fact.

Examples: He has a great passion for baseball!


The comma, semicolon, and colon

Numerous punctuation marks can be used within a sentence. The comma, semicolon, and colon are the most common. Because they all indicate a pause in the sentence, they are frequently used interchangeably. Here’s how to tell when to use each symbol:

The comma denotes the separation of logical parts of a sentence. It contains ideas or elements within the structure of a sentence. A comma can also separate repeated parts of a sentence, such as numbers, dates, or similar objects. A comma is also used after greetings and at the end of letters and before and after mentioning someone’s name.

When connecting independent clauses, the semicolon (;) is commonly used. When should you use commas or semicolons? A semicolon links two separate parts of a sentence. The sentence will still work if you put a period between them. This is not the case with a comma, where clauses are dependent on one another.

In three situations, a colon (:) can be used.

  • When you begin a quotation, explanation, example, or series.
  • A colon can be used to separate independent clauses. It’s similar to the semicolon case, but in this case, the second part of the sentence explains the first.
  • The colon can also emphasize when you want to highlight a specific part of your sentence.

A colon can also be used in the following situations: time, ratio, business correspondence, and references.


Dash and Hyphen

The dash and hyphen are also commonly used punctuation marks. They may appear to be the same, but they are not.

A dash is used to indicate range or connections and separate words into statements.

A hyphen connects two or more words to form a single concept. As a result, we have a compound term.


Brackets, Braces, and Parentheses

Symbols such as brackets, braces, and parentheses include words that explain the next part of a sentence or are considered a group. Brackets ([]) are a type of notation commonly used for technical explanations or to clarify meaning. The critical thing to remember about brackets is that even if the information in the brackets is removed, the sentence will still make sense.

Braces ( ) appear similar, but they are mainly used to show math and computer programming units. Parentheses (()) are curved notations used to highlight ideas or qualifying remarks. A key point to remember about parentheses is that they can be replaced with commas without changing the meaning—in most cases.


Apostrophe and Ellipsis

The apostrophe, quotation marks, and ellipsis are the final and most minor common punctuation forms. An apostrophe (‘) is used when a letter or letters are omitted from a word, in the possessive case, or for lowercase letter plurals, an apostrophe (‘) is used. The ellipsis, which consists of three periods (…), is used in writing or printing to indicate an omission or pause in the writer’s thoughts. Ellipses are also helpful in omitting unnecessary words that do not affect the sentence’s overall meaning.


Quotation Marks

Quotation marks (” “) are primarily used to paraphrase someone else’s words. You can use quotation marks in a variety of situations. You can use them with direct quotes to quote someone’s message, with titles of specific works, demonstrate other meanings from what was said literally, and write words as words.

For a direct quote, quotation marks are typically used. When you change the sentence to an indirect quote, the quotation marks are no longer required.

So, the fundamental rule to remember is: “Quotation marks are only used with direct quotes.” You can quote both a person and a written source.

Direct quotations are classified into two types: run-in quotations and block quotations. What are they, and how do they differ? Typically, run-in quotations are shorter. Their format is identical to that of the surrounding text. More extended quotes separated from the surrounding text are known as block quotes. Block quotations can even stand on their own as a paragraph (or a series of paragraphs). They can also have a different font, different line spacing, or a more significant margin.

So, the main rule with quotation marks is that you must also close them if you open them. It should be apparent where the quote begins and ends. The text inside quotation marks is sometimes capitalized and sometimes not. So, if you’re quoting an entire sentence, begin the quote with a capital letter. This is true even if you start the sentence rather than the quote itself.