October 4, 2022


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Punctuation in English – Usage and Application

The English language is known widely for its characteristic features and its use all around the world. The language in itself can be said to be a language that keeps evolving with every minute. A native language speaker, as well as a second language speaker, will have to stay in touch with all the developments in the language from time to time in order to stay updated with the current trends and usages of the language.

Like every other language, the English language is also bound by grammatical rules that lets every language learner understand why a particular sentence is written or spoken so and also use it like every other user of the language does. Learning English grammar will, however, teach you how you can use a specific word to perform different roles or how structures of sentences can be altered to make them look and sound better. The language does not allow you to bend the rules as and when you like, but an improvisation is always an option as long as your sentences are grammatically and semantically correct.

When a new English language learner starts the language learning process, they mostly begin with alphabets, syllables, words, phrases, sentence structures, types of sentences and so on. All of these can be picked up easily with practice. Punctuation, however, is a topic that is taught a little later, probably when sentence types are taught. In written language, punctuation plays a hugely pivotal role. Without the use of proper punctuation, any piece of writing would not make sense to anyone, no matter how informational it is.

The various punctuation marks in the English language are full stop or period, comma, colon, semicolon, exclamation mark, question mark, hyphen, dash, quotation marks, ellipsis, parentheses, etc. Knowing when and where to use each of these punctuation marks would be your first step. The next thing you can do is locate punctuation marks in every piece of writing you come across. See how they are used and what effect they have when used in that particular part of the sentence. Make use of them in your writing as well as in places where you require the same kind of effect.

Normally, a full stop is used to end an assertive, declarative or assertive sentence, and a question mark is used to mark the end of an interrogative sentence. A comma is placed where there is a short pause, and a semicolon is used where you want to denote a longer pause. A comma is used to separate words, phrases and clauses; a semicolon to separate two independent clauses, and a colon to present a list or introduce a concept. The function of a hyphen is to link compound words and also to indicate the continuation of a word written at the end of the sentence, whereas a dash is employed in a sentence to propose something. Brackets or parentheses are used to enclose additional or unimportant information about something or someone. Ellipsis is used to denote that there is more to what is being stated. Quotation marks (single and double quotation marks) are used to quote what someone else said and also to refer to terms, titles of books, stories, plays, etc.

Now that you know what each punctuation mark is used for, write down a short note on the best day of your life and try punctuating the note with the most appropriate punctuation marks.