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WritingPunctuation Rules

Punctuation Rules

Punctuation Rules

Punctuation symbols are used to give sense to our speech, whether it is spoken or written. It is used to structure and order your writing. Below are the most common punctuation rules.

Period or full stop in British English ( . )

  • At the end of an affirmative sentence.
    -Rabat is the capital of Morocco.
    -Tom lives in London.
  • With abbreviations like Mr. Mrs. Dr.
    -Mr. John is my English teacher.
    -Mrs. Barbara is our next-door neighbor.

Commas ( , )

  • To separate a group of words(nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs…) in a sentence.
    -Tom, John, Bill, and Joe are friends.
  • To separate a group of words clauses or phrases in a sentence.
    -I woke up, had my shower, ate my breakfast, and went to school.
  • Tag questions
    -She speaks English, doesn’t she?
    -We don’t have classes today, do we?

Semicolons ( ; )

  • A semicolon is used interchangeably with a colon and a comma to separate independent clauses or a group of items when they contain commas as punctuation.

-She didn’t have many qualities; nevertheless, she was accepted for the job.
-There are basically two ways to write: with a pen or pencil, which is inexpensive and easily accessible; or by computer and printer, which is more expensive but quick and neat.

Colon ( : )

  • It is used to introduce a list or explain whatever before it.

-Some of his hobbies are: reading, jogging, and surfing the net.

The exclamation mark ( ! )
  • Is used to express surprise, or to insist on a comment or short, snappy phrase.
    – What a wonderful scene!
    – Oh! how beautiful this little girl is!
    – Help! help! please.
    -I just can’t believe it!
The question mark ( ? )
  • It is clear from its name, we use it for questions.
    – Where are you from?
    – Can I take this?
    – Did you visit England before?
The quotation mark ( “….” )
  • They are used in direct speech to cite someone’s speech exactly.
    -“Don’t forget to revise your lesson” said the teacher.
    -Lina: “I just love English”.
The apostrophe ( ‘ )
  • It is used to show possession and contraction (short form).
    – This car is John’s. (possession).
    – She can’t bear the noise. (contraction of can not).
    -We’ll have a test next week. (contraction of we will.
The hyphen ( – )
  • It is used with compound adjectives.
    – A five-dollar hotel.
    -He is a well-known writer
The dash ( — )
  • It is the long form of the hyphen It is used to emphasize meaning in a sentence.
    -You probably think he will be late — He will not.
Parentheses (  )
  • They have the same function as commas when we want to give more explanation.
    – I visited Marrakesh (which was full of tourists) on my way to the Atlas mountain for a hiking trip.
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