• Merriam-Webster Dictionary: “any of various standardized marks or signs used in punctuation”• Symbols that indicate: – structure and organization of written language, – intonation and pauses to be observed when reading aloud.• Capital letters are also used to help us organize meaning and to structure the sense of our writing.
Period• Used to mark the end (as of a declarative sentence or an abbreviation).• There is no space between the last letter and the period.• Use one space between the period and the first letter of the next sentence.• 1. to mark the end of a sentence which is not a question or an exclamation (including imperative sentences).Quito is the capital of Ecuador.The boy plays with his balloon.Close the window, please.
• 2. to indicate an abbreviation I will be in between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m.• 3. special case - three dots Only part of the sentence or text has been quoted or that it is being left up to the reader to complete the rest of the sentence. The Lords Prayer begins, Our Father who are in Heaven...• 4. full-stop after a single word Sometimes a single word can form the sentence. "Goodbye." "Hello."
Comma• To add to the meaning of a sentence or to emphasize an item, point or meaning.• To help us add breathing spaces to sentences they are.• To organize blocks of thought or logical groupings.
• 1. To separate phrases, words, or clauses in lists – On my birthday I went to the cinema, ate dinner in a restaurant, and went dancing. – The meal consisted of soup, fish, chicken, dessert and coffee.• 2. To enclose insertions or comments. The comma is placed on either side of the insertion. – China, one of the most powerful nations on Earth, has a huge population.• 3. To mark off a participial phrase – Hearing that her father was in hospital, Jane left work immediately.
• 4. Use the comma in tag questions – She lives in Paris, doesnt she? – We havent met, have we?• 5. To mark off interjections like please, thank you, yes, and no – Yes, I will stay a little longer, thank you.• Be careful of the incorrect usage of commas:
• Don’t use a comma to separate the subject from its predicate.• Do not use a comma to separate a verb from its object or its subject complement, or a preposition from its object.• Do not misuse a comma after a coordinating conjunction.• Do not use a comma before the first item or after the last item of a series.
Semicolon• The semicolon is somewhere between a weak full stop and a strong comma.• Join phrases and sentences without having to use a conjunction (and, but etc.) – phrases or sentences are thematically linked but independent. – Join only those independent clauses that are closely related in meaning.
Examples:• Abdominal exercises help prevent back pain; proper posture is also important.• The auditors made six recommendations; however, only one has been adopted so far.