Guide to basic english punctuation rules

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Guide to Basic English Punctuation Rules

This guide provides instruction on the basic rules of using a period, comma, colon, semicolon, question mark and exclamation point. Each type of punctuation is followed by an explanation and example sentences for reference purposes.
Period
Use a period to end a complete sentence. A sentence is a group of words containing a subject and predicate. InBritish English a period is called a 'full stop'.
Examples:
He went to Detroit last week.
They are going to visit.
Comma
There are a number of different uses for commas in English. Commas are used to:
• Separate a list of items. This is one of the most common uses of a comma. Notice that a comma is included before the conjunction 'and' which comes before the final element of a list.Examples:
I like reading, listening to music, taking long walks, and visiting with my friends.
They would like books, magazines, DVDs, video cassettes, and other learning materials for their library.
• Separate phrases (clauses). This is especially true after a beginning dependent clause or a long prepositional phrase.
Examples:
In order to qualify for your certificate, youwill need to take the TOEFL exam.
Although he wanted to come, he wasn't able to attend the course.
• Separate two independent clauses that are connected by a conjunction such as 'but'.
Examples:
They wanted to purchase a new car, but their financial situation would not allow it.
I'd really enjoy seeing a film this evening, and I'd like to go out for a drink.
• Introduce adirect quote (as opposed to indirect speech i.e. He said he wanted to come ...).
Examples:
The boy said, "My father is often away during the week on business trips."
His doctor replied, "If you don't stop smoking, you run the risk of a heart attack."
• Separate appositives (a noun, or noun phrase) or non-defining relative clauses.
Examples:
Bill Gates, the richest man inthe world, comes from Seattle.
My only sister, who is a fantastic tennis player, is in great shape.
Question Mark
The question mark is used at the end of a question.
Examples:
Where do you live?
How long have they been studying?
Exclamation Point
The exclamation point is used at the end of a sentence to indicate great surprise. It is also used for emphasis when making a point. Becareful not to use an exclamation point too often.
Examples:
That ride was fantastic!
I can't believe he is going to marry her!
Semicolon
There are two uses for a semicolon:
• To separate two independent clauses. One or both of the clauses are short and the ideas expressed are usually very similar.
Examples:
He loves studying; He can't get enough of school.
What an incrediblesituation; it must make you nervous.
• To separate groups of words that are themselves separated by commas.
Examples:
I took a holiday and played golf, which I love; read a lot, which I needed to do; and slept late, which I hadn't done for quite a while.
They plan to study German, for their travels; chemistry, for their work; and literature, for their own enjoyment.
Colon
A coloncan be used for two purposes:
• To provide additional details and explanation.
Examples:
He had many reasons for joining the club: to get in shape, to make new friends, to lose some weight, and to get out of the house.
She gave notice for the following reasons: bad pay, horrible hours, poor relations with colleagues, and her boss.
• To introduce a direct quote (a comma canalso be used in this situation).
Examples:
He announced to his friends: "I'm getting married!"
She cried out: "I never want to see you again!"

Punctuation

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Punctuation is the system of symbols (. , ! - : etc) that we use to separate sentences and parts of sentences, and to make their meaning clear. Each symbol is called a "punctuation mark".
|The Value of Punctuation...
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