You may possess good language skills and know how to express yourself in the language but without the knowledge of punctuation marks, your skills, especially written, is incomplete. A piece of writing which does include punctuation marks is difficult to read as compared to a piece of writing which carries proper punctuation marks at the right places. To make an impact on the examiner, it is important for you to take care of these little marks, to come across as a serious and professional writer. This module discusses the commonly used punctuation marks, their significance and their implementation.
i. COMMA (,)
The comma is used to indicate a short pause. It is used:
a. for words, phrases, and clauses in a series.
For example, "Gandhiji, the Father of the Nation, died on 30th January, 1948.
"Apples, Mangoes and Bananas are my favourites."
"Gandhiji, who was the Father of the Nation, died on 30th January, 1948.
b. when you address a person.
For example, "Yes, Sir."
c. to separate numbers, dates and address.
For example, I was born on 9th August, 1990 in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.
d. When two persons, things or other elements are contrasted, the two are separated by a comma.
For example, I meant Raj, not Robin.
e. Direct quotations are marked by comma.
For example, She said, "I'm sorry."
ii. SEMICOLON (;)
The semicolon represents a stronger pause than a comma. It is used to stress the close relationship between one sentence and another.
For example, Today we love what tomorrow we hate;today we seek what tomorrow we shun; today we desire what tomorrow we fear.
The colon is used to show that something is to follow.
For example, The principle parts of a verb in English are: the present tense, the past tense, and the past participle.
iv. DASH (-)
The dash is used to make an abrupt stop or change of thought.
For example, If my husband were alive-but why lament the past?
He has-you may not believe it-failed.
v. EXCLAMATION MARK (!)
The exclamation mark is used after interjections and after phrases and sentences expressing sudden emotion or wish.
For example, Alas! Oh dear!
vi. INVERTED COMMAS (")
Inverted Commas are used to enclose the exact words of a speaker, or a quotation.
For example, "I would rather die," he exclaimed, "than join the oppressors of my country."
vii. QUESTION MARK (?)
Question Mark is used, instead of the Full Stop, after a direct question.
For example, Have you finished writing?
Test Yourself/ Punctuate the Sentences
Q1. Punctuate the following sentences.
a. i like playing with my friends sandy sunny sameer
b. we went through the smoky mountains, near shimla on our way to leh
c. myfavourite soap is pears and my favourite toothpaste is pepsodent
d. i’m a catholic and that’s why i go to st.joseph’s school
e. my friend priya speaks german and she is teaching me some words
f. he was honest sincere hard working
g. hindusmuslimssikhschristians live together in India
h. long ago in a town in Switzerland there lived a famous man called william
i. akbar the greatest of the mughal emperors ruled wisely
j. tanya said to ila rahul is a nice guy
a. I like playing with my friends-Sandy, Sunny and Sameer.
b. We went through the smoky mountains near Shimla, on our way to Leh.
c. My favourite soap is Pears and my favourite toothpaste is Pepsodent.
d. I'm a Catholic and that's why I go to St. Joseph's School.
e. My friend, Priya speaks German and she is teaching me some words.
f. He was honest, sincere and hard working.
g. Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians live together in India.
h. Long ago, in a town in Switzerland, there lived a famous man called William.
i. Akbar, the greatest of the Mughal emperors, ruled wisely.
j. Tanya said to Ila, "Rahul is a nice guy."