Navigating punctuation

In lieu of yesterday’s post discussing synonyms, antonyms and homonyms, I thought I would continue with the English theme for today’s post. Like I said yesterday, I’m brushing up on my English knowledge via tutoring and I figure this information is (hopefully) relevant to someone out there.

Today, we shall be discussing punctuation and how to navigate proper use of it. There are quite a few forms of punctuation used in the English language, arguably more than most of us are aware of. Let’s begin with the basics, shall we?

  • A period is used to end a sentence → .
    • For example, “The dog was hungry.”
  • A question mark is used to symbolize a question → ?
    • For example, “Did you go to work?”
  • An exclamation mark is used to emphasize emotion → !
    • For example, “I said I was sorry!”
  • A comma is used to join two separate clauses, or sentences, together. Commas are also intended to symbolize a pause or a break in a sentence for the reader → ,
    • For example, “I was hungry, however, I had eaten just before I left.”
  • A colon is used to connect two sentences, similar to a comma. They’re also used for lists. → :
    • For example, “The sun’s rays are extremely hot: if you go outside without wearing sunscreen, you will get a sunburn.”
    • For example, “I’m heading to the grocery store and I need: lettuce, tomatoes and peppers.”
  • A semicolon is used to connect two clauses/sentences together that are of equal significance → ;
    • For example, “My knee is bothering me lately; it is quite swollen.”

A lot of folks are fine with using periods, question marks and exclamation marks, although colons and semicolons tend to cause a lot of confusion for most. Try not to overthink it and feel free to double-check if you’re unsure if using a particular form of punctuation correctly via Google or this post.

Check back soon for more examples of punctuation and their proper use.

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