Punctuation marks are important in both written and spoken English. In written English, the correct usage of these symbols helps to express the intended meaning of the sentence. In spoken English, punctuation marks denote the pauses and intonations to be used when reading aloud.

Incorrect punctuation can change the meaning of a sentence.

For instance, compare the following two sentences:

Let’s eat Mom.

Let’s eat, Mom.

Do you see how the usage of a comma changes the entire meaning in both the sentences? The disappearance of comma in the first sentence indicates that the speaker is asking to eat their Mom, which does not make sense. Whereas, the comma after let’s eat in the second sentence helps to convey the meaning that the speaker is suggesting to their Mom to go and start eating, which sounds more sensible and also saves a life.

Symbols of Punctuation

Some of the commonly used punctuation marks are:

Full Stop- (.) Usually used at the end of a sentence.

Question Mark- (?) Usually used at the end of an interrogative sentence to form a question.

Comma- (,) Usually used to denote a pause in a sentence.

Exclamation Mark- (!) Used to denote shock, surprise, anger or a raised voice.

Colon – (:) Used to indicate what is to follow next

Semi Colon (;) Used to link two independent clauses not joined by a conjunction or used to separate two independent clauses in place of comma

Apostrophe- (') Used to show possession or for contraction of word.