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Types and Uses of Punctuation Marks with Examples

Class 6
Jun 7, 2023

In this article, we are discussing types and uses of punctuation

Punctuation Marks Used in Sentences:

1. Period (.) /Full stop

  • Period – It marks the end of a declarative or an imperative sentence. It indicates the end of a sentence.


Imperative sentence: Don’t disturb me when I am studying.

Declarative sentence: Marx wants to eat apple pie but he doesn’t know how to make it


Declarative sentence: John asked where my house was.

 (Indirect questions are declarative sentences)

  • If a sentence ends with an abbreviation that uses a period, second period won’t be added.

Example:  Some fruits are a good source of vitamin C. For e.g., oranges, kiwi, guava, berries, etc.

  • Period is used at the end of a sentence without space.

2. Question mark (?) – It marks the end of an interrogative sentence. It indicates a direct question.

The question often starts with a wh-word (who, what, when, where and why) but is not necessary.


Example: Interrogative sentence – When Samantha reaches home, could you give her this letter?

  • Question mark is used at the end of a sentence without space.
  • Keep the question mark at the end of the sentence (interrogative) before the quotation mark.

Example: Monica asked, “When is the party?”

3. Exclamation point/mark (!) – It marks the end of an exclamatory or imperative sentence to depict strong emotions.

Example: Imperative sentence – Get the book right now!

Exclamatory sentence – I hate these milk chocolates!

  • Exclamation points are also used as interjections. Overuse of exclamation point to be avoided in a single sentence. Use comma after interjection in such cases.

Example:  Wow, you look spectacular!

  • Keep the exclamation point at the end of the sentence before the quotation mark.

Example: “There is a snake behind the window!” shouted Jerry.

4. Comma (,) – It is used to separate sentences. It can also be used to indicate a pause

  • To separate the list of things.

Example: I would like to buy oranges, strawberries, and apples.

  • To give a slight pause in the voice.

Example: I can’t explain it now. However, I will clarify your doubts tomorrow.

  • After introduction and clauses –When main clauses are separated by ‘but’ or ‘and’, use commas.

Example: It was an expensive dining place, but I thought it was worth it.

 -T.V. show anchors earn more money nowadays, but they are more qualified.

  • After introduction and clauses –When a subordinate clause comes before the main clause, use comma.

Example: If you allow me to ride your bike, I’ll guide you.

-Quietly, he moved the table. (adverb)

-Peter, my coach, will teach new fielding techniques. (introduction)

  • To join two independent clauses, use comma and a coordinating conjunction

For example –I like camping, but I also like surfing.

  • Use commas before direct speech

Example: Parker said, “I will not tolerate such inappropriate behavior.”

  • Use commas to separate tags and yes-no replies

Example:  We are visiting the planetarium tomorrow, aren’t we?

 -Yes, thank you. I would love to have another piece of cake.

5. Colon (:)        

  • To introduce lists.

Example – She loves to do three things on the weekend: reading novels, gardening, and listening to instrumental music.

  • To introduce subtitles or to highlight the main topic.

Example: After driving for two hours on the road, we finally found it: the new KFC outlet.

  • Between two complete sentences – Colon is to be used only if the second sentence explains or justifies the first sentence.

Example: Larry ate junk food regularly: he gained six pounds.

6. Semicolon (;) –To separate two main clauses that are closely related.

Example:  John was exhausted; he hadn’t rested a bit.

7. Apostrophes (’)

  • To indicate possession or ownership.

Example: That is Katie’s book.

-Those boys’ bikes had been stolen.

  • To show omission –Used in contractions

Example: Don’t come closer to the fence!

8. Quotation marks (“) (”)- Double quotation marks used to quote someone’s direct speech. Single quotation mark is used within the quote.

Example: Mom asked, “Where is the coffee mug?”

  • Double quotation marks are used to refer to titles of books, magazines, poems, etc.

Example: I have read “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” several times.

9. Dash () Used to enhance readability. It can be used in the place of comma or colon

Example: He answered his mother rudely – No!

10. Hyphen (-) Used to join two or more words that come before the noun, modifies it and act as a single idea.

Example: state-of-the-art architecture.

– a family-oriented movie.

11. Brackets ( ) –Used to show additional or non-essential information

Example – Lara could not utter a word (she was awestruck). Dad was amused.

Types and Uses of Punctuation


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