• ~ Indicate that a word/words have been left out in formal
speech – when you are writing a report and only want to
include the most important bits.
• ~ Can be used to show character – perhaps nervous so
stuttering, or trailing off at the end of speech: “Please ...
stop it ... don’t ...!” shouted Ben. “Perhaps they won’t
mind...” Kate smiled, dipping her fingers into the honey.
• ~ can be used to add tension or leave the reader on a
cliff hanger – duh, duh, duuuuh... He ran frantically away
from the wolves, but as he turned the corner, he reached
what looked like a dead end...
~ used to indicate quotes
(for evidence in
~ to indicate direct speech
~ can indicate slang or
~ used at the end of a
sentence (except for when
a question mark or
exclamation mark is used).
Used to indicate a
question or to express
~ Who else will be there?
~ Is this really little
• ~ separates items in lists without using and: I saw a
chicken, a cow and some geese at the farm.
• ~ separates phrases in a sentence: Granddad, who was
unbelievably tall, always struggled to get through the
door to my tree house.
• ~ separates sentence adverbs such as ‘however’ or
‘furthermore’ from the rest of the sentence:
However, Dennis didn’t want to play football, so he sat on
the bench happily eating his apple.
• ~ separates direct speech from the speaker: Gemma
said, “let’s go to the park this weekend!”
~ to show that letters
have been left out –
omission or contraction
– in words such as don’t
~ to show possession:
Jack’s pencil case
~ take care when plural
and possession: the
~ Enclose separate or
Jake told me he had won
the race (though I don’t
think that is true) and
showed me a medal he’d
~ Introduces a
~ In all cases needs to
follow a full sentence: We
had a lot to pack before
our holiday: sun
cream, sun glasses and
my bucket and spade.
• ~ Connects two independent clauses to show thoughts or
ideas on either side of it that are connected: The ice cream
truck man drove by my house today; he was wearing a Santa
• ~ Can also separate words or items within the list: My favourite
acts included Ben, a fantastic juggler; Jonathan, a daring
fireater; and Gina, who gave us her best Simon Cowell
• ~ can sometimes be used instead of brackets or commas to
separate a phrase (parenthesis):
John – who is rather strange – asked me if I’d like to play
• ~ used in some compound words: mother-in-law, iceskate, long-eared
• ~ indicates an abrupt break in sentence, or a change in
thought, and might show an interruption or hesitancy in
“I – um – well – I want to come with you to the island!”
whispered Jenny excitedly.