Punctuation is defined as a set of symbols used to separate and clarify the meaning of sentences and written elements. In other words, punctuation tells readers of your writing where to pause, what words are quotations and which are clarifications, where words have been omitted, and more.
Note: Punctuation helps us to determine the structure of sentences as well as intonation during reading.
1. Period (.) - A period is used to indicate the end of a sentence.
2. Comma (,) - A comma is used to separate items in a list or to separate clauses in a sentence.
3. Semicolon (;) - A semicolon is used to connect two closely related sentences or independent clauses.
4. Colon (:) - A colon is used to introduce a list, explanation, or quotation.
5. Question mark (?) - A question mark is used to indicate a direct question.
6. Exclamation point (!) - An exclamation point is used to indicate strong emotion or emphasis.
7. Quotation marks (") - Quotation marks are used to indicate direct speech or a quotation from a source.
8. Parentheses () - Parentheses are used to enclose additional information that is not essential to the sentence.
9. Dash (-) - A dash is used to indicate a pause or a change in thought within a sentence.
10. Ellipsis (...) - An ellipsis is used to indicate that something has been omitted from a quotation or to indicate a pause or trailing off of thought.
Exercise 1: Identify and correct the punctuation errors in the following sentences.
1. Incorrect: My friends names are, Sam, Anna, and Sarah.
Correct: My friends' names are Sam, Anna, and Sarah.
The apostrophe is used to show possession (the names belong to the friends). No comma is needed before the first name in the list.
2. Incorrect: He said "I'm not hungry".
Correct: He said, "I'm not hungry."
A comma is needed before the dialogue, and the period should be inside the quotation marks.
3. Incorrect: I have three dogs, a cat and a fish.
Correct: I have three dogs, a cat, and a fish.
A comma is needed before the last item in the list to maintain consistency.
4. Incorrect: Sarahs favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird.
Correct: Sarah's favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird.
An apostrophe is needed to show possession (the favorite book belongs to Sarah).
5. Incorrect: On Monday Ill go to the store.
Correct: On Monday, I'll go to the store.
A comma is needed after "Monday" to separate the introductory phrase from the main clause. An apostrophe is needed in "I'll" to show a contraction of "I" and "will."