We’re starting a new Punctuation series for beginners knows as “Punctuation Series”.
“Punctuation marks are the traffic signals of language: they tell us to slow down, notice this, take a detour, and stop.”
—Lynne Truss, Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
What is Punctuation?
Punctuation is the name of the marks we use in writing. Punctuation marks are tools that have set functions. We use them to structure and organize our words, and to give sentences meaning and rhythm.
Every sentence should include at least a capital letter at the start, and a full stop, question mark or exclamation mark at the end. This basic system indicates that the sentence is complete.
The Basic Signs of Punctuation
- The Full Stop/Period
- The Comma
- The Question Mark
- The Exclamation Mark/Exclamation Point
- The Semicolon
- The Colon
- The Hyphen
- The En-dash
- The Em Dash
- The Bracket/Parenthesis
- The Quotation Mark
- The Ellipsis
- The Bullet Point
“When speaking aloud, you punctuate constantly — with body language. Your listener hears commas, dashes, question marks, exclamation points, quotation marks as you shout, whisper, pause, wave your arms, roll your eyes, wrinkle your brow. In writing, punctuation plays the role of body language. It helps readers hear the way you want to be heard.”
The importance of Punctuation
Sentences are the building blocks used to construct written accounts. They are complete statements. Punctuation marks help readers to understand what the writer is trying to say. It is the system of signs or symbols given to a reader to show how a sentence is constructed and how it should be read. Punctuation shows how the sentence should be read and makes the meaning clear.
Without proper punctuation, serious sentences become jokes, misunderstandings flourish, and confusion reigns. For example, ‘Let’s eat, children!’ is very different to ‘Let’s eat children.’
Proper punctuation is an essential part of successful communication.
Next up: Punctuation Series: Know your Full-stops.
If you enjoyed this article, read:
- How To Overcome Writer’s Block: 25 Creative Tips That Work
- 200+ Ways To Avoid Using “Said”(In Sorted Order)
- Punctuation Series: Know Your Dashes—Hyphen, En-dash, and Em-dash