*noun, the marks, such as full stop, comma and brackets,used in writing to separate sentences and their elementsand to clarify meaning. (Oxford Concise Dictionary)
A full stop is used at the end of every sentence, e.g. It is cold outside. Use the full stop after an initial, J.P. Jones After an abbreviation or each part of most abbreviations: A.M. lbs. R.T.E. Dr. Mr. After each number or letter that begins a heading in a list or outline: 1. A. ii.
Use the question mark after a direct question. How old is Bill? After a statement followed by a short question. It‟s cold outside, isn‟t it?Use the question mark after a word that denotes a question. What? Why?Note the difference between the direct questions above and I wonder what they will do now.I enquired had the hotel wireless broadband. These are not direct questions because the do not consist of the actual words used when asking questions. These questions, therefore, should not have question marks.
Use an exclamation mark to denote a surprised tone of voice. Good lord! Manchester City have won the league!A tip: Do not use excessively especially in formal writing.
Use quotation marks to enclose the exact words of a speaker. Mary exclaimed, “I refuse to go”! Use quotation marks to enclose quoted words or phrases within a sentence. The Taoiseach told us we must “put our shoulders to the wheel.”
Use the comma to separate the parts of address. He lives at 6 Hillside Grove, Waterford. After the greeting and closing of an informal letter. Dear John, Sincerely yours, Use the comma between words or phrases in a list or a series and before the and or the or which precedes the final item in the list. The group includes Ireland, Spain, Italy or Croatia. Use commas to „bracket‟ a weak interruption in a sentence. Her findings, I would suggest, throw new light on the matter. To pause in a sentence: The Minister, Mr. Ryan, gave the order. To set of thousands, millions etc., in large numbers. 4,523. 9,045,384. It is really the marking point of a thousand or in the case of a million, a thousand - thousand and so on.
Use the colon after a complete statement followed by a list. Campers must take these items: bedding, linen and cooking utensils. Use the colon to separate the parts of a citation. Chapter 15: 14-22 The colon can be used to write ratios. The sand and cement should be mixed in a ratio of 2:1.
Use a semi-colon between the parts of a sentence when they are not joined by the conjunctions and, but, or, for or nor
Use ellipses within a quotation to indicate all places where a word or words have been omitted. The house ... was built in 1935. Use ellipses at the end of a quotation to indicate words omitted before the full stop but also include the full stop. “He was a giant of a man....” For: “He was a giant of a man and highly respected.” Ellipses can be used in maths. For example in the middle of answering a question that demands rounding; the answer may be a number with a long amount of decimal places; so instead of putting in the complete number you could omit some of them but indicate this is so by inserting the ellipsis. E.G., X = 40Sin50°/Sin100° = 31.114...cm. So the length of X is 31.1 cm (to 3 significant figures).
To introduce and conclude an expression (phrase, clause or sentence) introduced into a sentence by way of explanation or comment. The ghost – so local rumour had it – walks the short journey between the Friary and Peter Street. Towards the end of a sentence, indicating an anticipatory pause before a conclusion, explanation or surprise: The book is what every author dreams of – a best-seller.
I am indebted to the followingsources that have helped informthis presentation:Creative Writing, edited by LindaAnderson, published by Routledgein association with The OpenUniversity.The Penguin Guide to Punctuation,R.L.Trask.World Books Dictionary