How are punctuation marks used?

1 Answer
Apr 18, 2018

Punctuating Marks are used to end a sentence, indicate a pause or break in a sentence, indicate that part of the sentence is dialogue or quoted from a specific source, or to combine two independent clauses.


There are many types of punctuation marks. The first ones I will explain are used to end a sentence. These are periods (.), question marks (?), and exclamation points (!).

Periods are used at the end of declarative and imperative sentences. Declarative sentences say something. They aren't asking a questing, stating emotion, or giving a command. An example of a declarative sentence with a period at the end would be "Jenny likes to run."

Imperative sentences also end in a period. They give a command. One example of this is "Carter, go take out the trash."

Question marks are used at the end of a sentence that is asking a question. For instance, "Did Michael bring the candy?" is a question and ends with a question mark.

Exclamation points are used at the end of a sentence in which a lot of emotion is shown. "Wow! That building is huge!" is an example of a sentence that shows a lot of emotion and needs an exclamation point.

Other types of punctuation marks are found within the sentence, such as commas (,), quotation marks (" "), hyphens (-), parentheses ( ( ) ), dashes (-), colons (:), and semicolons (;).

Commas are used for each of the following:

  • to set off dialogue from the rest of a sentence ("Layla," Jenny started, "do you want to play tag?")
  • to separate items in a list (You will need to bring a flashlight, binoculars, and sunscreen.)
  • to combine two independent clauses with a conjunction and make a compound sentence (The boys wanted to play basketball, but the girls wanted to play soccer.)
  • separate the month and the day from the year (September 23, 2003)
  • follows the greeting of a friendly letter and the closing of a letter (Dear Gracie,) (Love, Katelyn)

Quotation marks are used to show dialogue and to indicate the names of a short work. Dialogue is used in the following: "Jennifer, come here," Melody called. You surround the names of small works, such as poems, songs, and short stories. For example, The song is called "Mean".

Hyphens are most often used for making compound words, such as two-thirds.

Dashes are used to indicate a pause or a break in thought in a sentence. "Well-" Jenny started before getting interrupted.

Colons are used to indicate that a list of items is following. The cake needed many ingredients: milk, eggs, chocolate, and more.

Semicolons are used to join two independent clauses and make a compound sentence if you ARE NOT using a comma and a conjunction. For instance: Jenny walked the dog; Bailey fed the cat.

I hope this made sense. If you have any more questions, consider using