Uses of Punctuation Marks Pdf Definitions and Infographics

Uses of punctuation marks

Uses of Punctuation mark!

What is the Correct uses of Punctuation Marks?

Punctuation (derived from the Latin pronunciation, a point) means the right use of putting in Points or Full Stops in writing.

The following are the principal types of Punctuation:

  1. Full Stop or Period (.)
  2. The comma (,)
  3. Semicolon (;)
  4. Colon (:)
  5. Question Mark (?)
  6. Exclamation Mark (!)

Other punctuation marks in common use are the Dash —; Parentheses ( ); Inverted Commas or Quotation Marks “ ”.

Important Uses of Punctuation Marks

Full Stop 

1. Full Stop represents the greatest pause and separation. It is used to mark the end of a declarative or an imperative sentence; as,


Dear, patient, gentle, noble Nell was dead.

2. Full stop can be used in abbreviations, but they are often omitted in modern style.


  • A. or MA
  • R or MP
  • N.O. or UNO

Note: In current English Mr and Mrs occur without a fun stop, as these have come to be regarded as the full spellings.

use of punctuation mark full stop


The Comma represents the shortest pause, and is used:

1. To separate a series of words in the same construction; as,


  • England, France, and Italy formed an alliance.
  • He lost lands, money, reputation, and friends.
  • It was a long, dull, and wearisome journey.
  • He wrote his exercise neatly, quickly, and correctly.


2. To separate each pair of words connected by and; as,


  • We should be devout and humble, cheerful and serene.
  • High and low, rich and poor, wise and foolish, must all die.


3. After a Nominative Absolute; as,


  • This done, she returned to the old man with a lovely smile on her face.
  • The wind being favorable, the squadron sailed.
  • The genius making me no answer, I turned about to address myself to him a second time.


4. To mark off a Noun or Phrase in Apposition; as,


  • Paul, the apostle, was beheaded in the reign of Nero.
  • Milton, the great English poet, was blind,
  • Pandit Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, died in 1964.


5. To mark off words used in addressing people


  • Come into the garden, Maud.
  • How are you, Mohan?
  • Lord of the universe, shield us and guide us.

Note: But when the words are emphatic, we ought to use the note of exclamation


  • Monster! By thee my child’s devoured!


6. Before and after a Participial phrase, provided that the phrase might be expanded into a sentence, and is not used in a merely qualifying sense; as,


  • Caesar, having conquered his enemies, returned to Rome.


7. Before and after words, phrases, or clauses, let into the body of a sentence; as,


  • He did not, however, gain his object.
  • It is mind, after all, which does the work of the world.
  • His behavior, to say the least, was very rude.
  • His story was, in several ways, improbable.
  • Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between thee and me.
  • The essay-writers, whose works consisted in a great measure of short moral dissertations, set the literary taste of the age.
  • The people of Orleans, when they first saw her in their city, though she was an angel.


8. To indicate the omission of a word, especially a verb; as,


  • Rama received a Parker pen; Hari, a watch.
  • He was a Brahmin; she, a Rajput.
  • He will succeed; you, never.


9. To separate short co-ordinate clauses of a Compound sentence; as,


  • The rains descended, and the floods came.
  • Men may come and men may go, but I go on forever.
  • I came, I saw, I conquered.
  • The way was long, the wind was cold.
  • The minstrel was infirm and old.

Note: When there is conjunction the comma is sometimes omitted; as

  • He came and saw me.


10. To mark off a direct quotation from the rest of the sentence; as,


  • “Exactly so,” said Alice.
  • He said to his disciples, “Watch and pray,”
  • “Go then,” said the ant, “and dance winter away.”


11. Before certain coordinative conjunctions


  • To act thus is not wisdom, but folly.


12. To separate from the Verb a long Subject opening a sentence; as,


  • The injustice of the sentence pronounced upon that great scientist and discoverer, is now evident to us all.
  • All that we admired and adored before as great and magnificent, is obliterated or vanished.


13.  To separate a Noun clause—whether subject or object—preceding the verb; as,


  • Whatever is, is right.
  • How we are ever to get there, is the question.
  • That he would succeed in his undertaking, no one ever doubted.


14. To separate a clause that is not restrictive in meaning, but is co-ordinate with the Principal clause ; as,


  • Sailors, who are generally superstitious, say it is unlucky to embark on a Friday.
  • During my stay in Sri Lanka, I visited Mihintale, which is regarded as the cradle of Buddhism.

Note: When the Adjective clause is restrictive in meaning the comma should not be applied;


  • This is the house that Jack built.
  • The Lord is nigh up to them that are of a broken heart.
  • The echoes of the storm which was then raised I still hear grumbling around me.
  • The design was disapproved by everyone whose judgment was entitled to respect.


15. To separate an Adverbial clause from its Principal clause; as,


  • When I was a bachelor, I lived by myself.
  • If they wouldn’t be happy, seek to please.

Note: When the Adverbial clause follows the Principal clause the comma is frequently omitted; as,


  • Seek to please if they wouldn’t be happy.

use of punctuation mark comma use of punctuation mark comma


The Semicolon represents a pause of greater importance than that shown by the comma. It is used:

1. To separate the clauses of Compound sentence, when they contain a comma; as,


  • He was a brave, large-hearted man; and we all honored him.


2. To separate a series of loosely related clauses; as,


  • Her court was pure; her life serene;
  • God gave her peace; her land reposed.

use of punctuation mark semi colon


The Colon marks a still more complete pause than that expressed by the Semicolon. It is used (sometimes with a dash after it):


1. To introduce a quotation; as,


  • Bacon says makes a full man, writing an exact man, speaking a ready man.”


2. Before enumeration, examples, etc.; as,


Note: The principal parts of a verb in English are: the present tense, the past tense, and the past participle. The limitation of armaments, the acceptance of arbitration as the natural solvent of international disputes, the relegation of wars of ambition and aggression to the categories of obsolete follies: these will be milestones which mark the stages of the road.


3. Between sentences grammatically independent but closely connected in sense; as,


  • Study to acquire a habit of thinking: no study is more important.

use of punctuation mark colon

Question Mark

The Question Mark is used, instead of the Full Stop, after a direct question; as,


  • Have you written your exercise?
  • If you prick us, do we not bleed?
  • what are you doing?
  • Do you know me?
  • And if you wrong us, shall we not have revenge?


Note: But the Question Mark is not used after an indirect question; as,


  • He asked me whether I had written my exercise.

use of punctuation mark interrogation

Exclamation Mark

The Exclamation Mark is used after Interjections and after Phrases and Sentences expressing sudden emotion or wish; as,


  • Alas! Oh, dear!
  • What a terrible fire this is!
  • O, what a fall was there, my countrymen! Long live the King!


Note: When the interjection O is placed before the Nominative of Address, the Exclamation Mark, if employed at all, comes after the noun; or it may be placed at the end of the sentence: as


  • Father! I hear the sound of guns. O Hamlet, speak no more!


Inverted Commas

Inverted Commas are used to enclose the exact words of a speaker, or a quotation; as,


  • I would rather die,” he exclaimed than join the oppressors of my country.”
  • Babar is said by Elphinstone to have been ‘the most admirable prince that ever reigned in Asia.”


Note: If a quotation occurs within a quotation, it is marked by single inverted commas; as,


  • “You might as well say,” added the March Hare,” that I like what I get is the same thing as “I get what I like.”

use of punctuation mark inverted comma


The Dash is used:

1. To indicate an abrupt stop or change of thought; as,


  • If my husband were alive-but why lament the past?


2. To resume a scattered subject; as,.


  • Friends, companions, relatives-all deserted him.

use of punctuation mark dash


The Hyphen —a shorter line than the Dash —is used to connect the parts of a compound word; as,


  • Passer-by, man-of-war, Jack-of-all-trades.

Note: It is also used to connect parts of a word divided at the end of a line.

use of punctuation mark inverted hyphen


Parentheses or Double Dashes are used to separate from the main part of the Sentence a phrase or clause which does not grammatically belong to it; as,


  • He gained from Heaven (it was all he wished) a friend.
  • A remarkable instance of this kind of courage—call it, if you please, resolute will—is given in the history of Babar.

use of punctuation mark inverted parenthesis


The Apostrophe is used:

1. To show the omission of a letter or letters; as,


  • Don’t, e’er, I’ve.


2. In the Genitive Case of Nouns.

3. To form the plural of letters and figures.


  • Dot your i’s and cross your t’s.
  • Add two 5 ‘s and four 2 ‘s.

use of punctuation mark


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