Punctuation Marks in English Grammar

Punctuation marks in English grammar are the marks to show some special category of a sentence e.g., interrogative sentences are followed by a specific sign/mark: question mark and shows that someone has a question in a sentence or exclamatory mark are used to show emotions. There are many punctuation marks in English language.

Punctuation marks in English grammar are: Full stop, comma, colon, semicolon, apostrophe, hyphen, dash, question mark, exclamatory mark, slash, ellipses etc.  

Full Stop (.)

A full stop is the most commonly used punctuation marks in the English grammar but all the sentences do not have full stop.  It is also known as a period (.) in American English grammar. Full stop is used fifty percent among all punctuation marks in English grammar.  Full stop is used at the end of a statement that is complete in all sense or at the end of declarative sentence or at the end of an abbreviation.


The office was closed.

Could you wait, please?

Mr. khan is very intelligent.

Comma (,)

We use comma when we link two or more ideas, statements or elements with linking words and, or, or but. Furthermore, commas have other use in dates, numbers, and in letter writing following salutation and closing.

The comma rules for the comma are:

Comma is used to combine two separate sentences.

It is used in a series of words or items. Remember that a comma does not follow the last word in the series

To separate an introductory segment from the following sentence we use it

It is also used to indicate direct address.

We split parts of the date with comma.

Add a comma when a participle phrase clause is used.

Colon (:)

colon is used before a list or before an explanation secondly we use it between independent clauses where second clause is explained by the first clause. More over we use it for emphasizing.


I am studying three novels: Henry’s Diary, Serial-51, and Othello.

 I didn’t have time to get dressed: I was in hurry.

There is only one personality to whom I love too much: My mother.

Semicolon (;)

To connect two independent clauses we use semicolon to show  relationship between the clauses. In simple words we use it to join two statements which are linked in meaning.


My son is a doctor; my wife is a nurse.

There are four fruits in the basket: one is apple; second is banana; third is apricot; and last is orange. 

Jane always has a stick with her; she is afraid of dogs.

Apostrophe (‘)

We use apostrophe (‘) is to indicate the missing letter or letters from a word, to make possessive of a noun or pronoun, or to indicate plural form of lowercase letters.


I’ve taken my lunch.

He wasn’t the only man who passed the exam.

Jams kite fall down.

Five students were told to mind their b’s and d’s.

Hyphen (-)

A hyphen is normally used to make compound  nouns,  to link prefix with a word, and to represent words break.


Well-known, Ink-pot, back-to-back,

My seven-year-old girl loves singing.

 En Dash (–)

En Dash (–) is slightly wider than a hyphen, the symbol of en dash is () that is used usually in writing or printing to represent a series or connections.



An article–Karachi Times.

Em Dash (—)

em dash () is usually twice as long as the en dash (-), and it can be used in place of a comma, parenthesis, or colon to improve readability or put stress on conclusion of a statement or a sentence.


He gave her his reply—yes!

Question Mark (?)

Question mark (?) is used after an interrogative sentence in English. This is among the easiest punctuation marks.


Where is my pen?

Where are you going?

Would you like to meet me?

Exclamation Mark (!)          

To show emphasis we use an exclamation mark at the end of a statement, a word or a sentence. We frequently use an exclamation mark (!) to indicate strong feeling or give a command.





What a lovely day!

That’s unbelievable!

Quotation Marks (” “)

Quotations marks (” “) are a pair of punctuation marks normally used for direct quotations in English. we enclose in direct speech, what is said, within a pair of double or single quotation marks. Direct speech begins with a capital letter and can be preceded by a colon or a comma.


He said, Where is my red rose? 

She said: ‘I am starving’

 “Fine, thanks,” she replied in a smiling mood.

 Parentheses ( )

Parenthesis, ( () ) are quotation marks that  are used to show further thoughts or qualifying remarks for a sentence. In many cases, we can replace it by commas without any changes to the meaning and structure of that sentence. We also make frequent use of parentheses to set off less important details.


The two sisters (Jane and Susan) were playing piano.

Braces ({})

Braces ({}) are used to enclose two or more lines of text or listed items to indicate that they are measured as a unit. They are not ordinary in mainly writing but we can see it in computer programming. They are also used in mathematical expressions.



Brackets [ ]

Squared off quotations ([]) are called brackets that are used to indicate content of a technical nature or to clarify meaning in additional way. Even if the content in brackets is removed completely, the sentence would still make full sense.


Was she [the brown lady] here when you came?

Forward Slash (/)

The slash can be used to separate lines in a poem or song when they are written in a continuous line. There are different uses of slash that are mentioned below.

The punctuation rules and examples of slash:

Slashes is used to split parts of internet (web) addresses and name of files in computer programming language e.g., http://www.example.com/

It is used for fractions

1/4 = one-fourth

It is also used to split the day, month, and year in calendar e.g., N/A = not available or not applicable

We use it to indicate the word “per” in measurements e.g., 70 km/hour

Finally we use it to show alternatives in a sentence e.g., Please press the On/off button of CD-Rom


In writing when some sentence is leaved half written or not complete to show some omission it is preceded by three dots. It is called ellipses. It is seldom demonstrated with three asterisks (***). In spoken language we say blah blah blah, or and so on.


Jane began to count, “First, second, third, fourth…”


There are two types of letters in English that are capital letters and small letters. Capital letters are used in special cases and have specific rules. Here are some rules for capitalization.

Rules for capitalization:

We use capital letters to mark the beginning of a sentence and also for much more reasons.

All proper nouns are started with capital letters. Proper nouns include personal names (including titles before names), languages and nationalities e.g., Pakistani, days of the week e.g., Sunday, and months of the year e.g., December, public holidays e.g., Chinese New Year and also geographical places e.g., Nawaz City Hospital:

We use it with book titles of, magazines and newspapers titles like New York Times.