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Punctuation marks are symbols that are used to aid the clarity and comprehension of written language. Some common punctuation marks are the period, comma, question mark, exclamation point, apostrophe, quotation mark and hyphen.


Punctuation Mark Symbol Definition Example
apostrophe An apostrophe is used as a substitute for a missing letter or letters in a word (as in the contraction cannot = can’t), to show the possessive case (Jane’s room), and in the plural of letters, numbers and abbreviations (A’s). I can’t see the cat’s tail.
He got A’s in school.
comma , A comma is used to separate phrases or items in a list. She bought milk, eggs, and bread.
exclamation point ! An exclamation point is used to show excitement or emphasis. It is cold!
hyphen A hyphen is used between parts of a compound word or name. It is also used to split a word by syllables to fit on a line of text. The sixteen-year-old girl is a full-time student.
parentheses ( ) Parentheses are curved lines used to separate explanations or qualifying statements within a sentence (each one of the curved lines is called a parenthesis). The part in the parentheses is called a parenthetical remark. This sentence (like others on this page) contains a parenthetical remark.
period . A period is used to indicate that it is the end of a declarative sentence. I see the house.
question mark ? A question mark is used at the end of a question. When are we going?
quotation mark Quotation marks are used at the beginning and end of a phrase to show that it is being written exactly as it was originally said or written. She said, “Let’s eat.”




More Punctuation Marks


Punctuation Mark Symbol Definition Example


& An ampersand is a symbol that means “and.” The usage of the ampersand is subtly different from the usage of the word and in the English language. That is, the ampersand is not usually used in the main body of a piece of well-written text in place of the word and. The main surviving use of the ampersand is in the formal names of businesses (especially firms and partnerships, particularly law firms, architectural firms, and stockbroker firms).


When the ampersand forms part of a registered name (e.g. Brown & Watson), it should not be replaced with and.


at sign @ You can write one easily by writing a lower case a, then continuing to draw an almost-complete circle around the a. The @ on keyboards and in email addresses is called the “at sign.”
check A check is mark that is used to note that something has been done or is correct.  


üCompleted essays.

Study for test.

üBuy notebook.



ˆ Circumflex is an accent placed over a vowel in some languages (such as French). In French, it usually denotes the absence of a trailing “s” (as in côte, which means coast in English).
colon : A colon is a punctuation mark that is used to introduce a list in a sentence or a quote, to separate two major parts of a sentence, to indicate a ratio (such as 1:2) or a time (8:15).  



For example:

These students were on the honor roll: Lisa, Jason, and Jessica






An ellipsis is three dots in a row; it is used to indicate that part of a sentence or sequence has been omitted.


It is spoken, “dot, dot, dot.”

·    One example of the use of an ellipsis is: Smith said, “Rome had many terrible leaders, … who caused the Empire to fall.”

·    Another example is the mathematical series: 1,3,5,7,9,… (the rest of the odd numbers are implied but not written down).

grave accent ` The grave accent is a symbol placed over a vowel in some languages (such as French). It comes from French, where it is pronounced similarly: accent grave /aksɑ̃ ɡʁav/.


A paragraph is a one or more sentences that cover a single topic. The symbol for paragraph is ¶.



A semicolon is a punctuation mark; it is used to separate major parts of a compound sentence. ·    Call me tomorrow; I will give you my answer then.

·    I have paid my dues; therefore, I expect all the privileges listed in the contract.



~ Tilde is a mark placed over a letter in some languages (especially Spanish). Núñez


ü Umlaut is an mark placed over a vowel in some languages (especially German). The umlauted vowels are ä, ö, and ü. The same name is used in other languages which have borrowed these symbols from German.




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