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Things You Need to Know While Using Punctuation Marks

23 Aug 2023

5 minutes


Punctuation marks provide heart and soul to your written piece just like notes to a musical instrument. Placing them at the right place actually takes a sincere attention, as you can altogether change the meaning of a sentence by misplacing them. When speaking, punctuation marks help to set the tone and indicate emphasis.

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Here are the rules for some of the punctuation marks that are commonly mistaken by many people. Have a read to leave your doubts behind:


Students most often get confused while placing the commas. You need to keep the basics in mind while using it. Some of these include:

  • Using commas in the list (for example, The shirt was available in red, white, and blue.)
  • Using commas in direct speech (for example, ‘That’s unbelievable,’ she said.)
  • Using commas to separate clauses ( for example, As it was raining, we stopped at the nearby restaurant.)
  • Using commas to mark off certain parts of a sentence (for example, My friend, Jennifer, is an architect)


Semicolon is used when you want to put a break in your sentence but not as strong as the full stop. It balances two clauses in a single sentence and often breaks it into two separate sentences.

Consider the semicolon used in this example-There is a beautiful runway built in that valley; a railway line passes by it.


Colon is basically used in three ways as listed below:

  • To introduce a list ( for example, the overall price includes: flight tickets, hotel accommodation, etc.)
  • Before direct speech and quotation ( for example, The headline read: ‘Do not cross the railway line.”)
  • With two clauses in a sentence, when the second one follows the first one (for example, It was difficult: to begin with, I had to learn all the lessons by heart.)


There are two main areas where Apostrophe is used:

  • To show possession i.e., when you want to relate something to someone. For example, Alicia’s party, or yesterday’s forecast.
  • To show omission i.e., when you want to indicate that a letter or a word is being omitted. For example, I’m is the contraction of I am, or You’re is shortened for you are.


You can use hyphen in three ways as follows:

  • In compound words (like, rock-forming solids, etc.)
  • To show page breaks (like, post-Renaissance, etc.)
  • To join prefixes to other words (like, co-own, etc.)

Dash (—)

Em dash or long dash, as it is referred to as is primarily used in two ways:

  • To show the break in a sentence (for example, I think it is affirmative—he doesn’t want to give up.)
  • To mark off information that is not essential in a sentence (for example, My friend—where has he gone—world like to meet you.)


Round brackets are used to separate the information that is not essential to the context; Like in this sentence, There are several books on this topic (refer page 130)

The square brackets are used to indicate something that is not spoken by someone else other than the writer himself. For example, He [the doctor] couldn’t understand the symptoms of the disease.

We hope that this blog helped you to understand the usage of punctuation marks. Hence, be attentive while placing those commas and semicolons in your written piece so that you don’t alter the meaning of what you wish to convey.

Punctuation marks provide a meaning to your written piece and thus are essential to provide a flow to it.

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