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Punctuation

Learn about the different punctuation marks and their uses.
a data set by ms.brown
created June 22, 2017
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FAMILY TREE
NameSymbolUseExample(s)
ApostropheGenerally used to replace the lost letters in a contraction, to form possessives, or (occasionally) to form plurals.can't, A's, doctor's patient
BracketsUsed to clarify unclear nouns or pronouns, to include a translation, to indicate an error by original author or emphasis added by the one who is quoting, and to put a parenthetical within a parenthetical.(published by Julien Gorbo [1880]), "There where [sic] six people there."
ColonIntroduces a list, an explanation (between two independent clauses), and for emphasis at the end of a sentence. Also used to separate hours and minutes (11:32 a.m.), in ratios (2:1), and to separate chapter and verse in biblical reference (Genesis 1:23).I have to go to California next week: my aunt is having a baby.
CommaIndicates a pause or separates parts of a sentence.We went to the store, and while we were there we got bananas.
EllipsisTraditionally used to indicate an omission. In informal usage, it represent the trailing off of a thought.. . . [quote that begins earlier than transcribed].
Em DashMay replace a comma for a more emphatic effect. May replace parentheses to draw attention. May replace a colon when used to emphasize the final thought or word. May also indicated redacted or unknown information (Mr. N--). Sometimes represented by double hyphens.Please do not assume--many have done so--that I cannot pull my own weight.
En DashShorter than an em dash and longer than a hyphen, it represents a span or range, a connection or conflict, and is used between scores of contests.8-12 year olds, 28-3 score, liberal-conservative debate
Exclamation PointEnds a sentence of excitement.My aunt had the baby!
HyphenUsed to form compound nouns, verbs, and adjectives.check-in, nickel-and-dime, state-of-the-art
Period / Full StopEnds a sentence.We went to the store.
Question MarkEnds a direct question.Will she make it to class on time?
Quotation MarksContains and indicates spoken words or quoted material."I am not feeling well today," she said.
SemicolonCommonly used between to independent clauses. Also used as a sort of super-comma when separating clauses in a sentence with lists (that use commas).The cat didn't mind being left alone; the dog, however, was not a fan.
Single Quotation MarksContains and indicates spoken words or quoted material within a quote."When I say 'today' I mean today."
SlashIndicates a line break in poetry, to replace the word "per," "and," or "or." Also used within abbreviations. Also used to indicated inches.w/ (with), his/her, $500/week
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