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A period is used to mark the end of a complete sentence.
The dog barked. I love to read. Can you please help me with my homework?
Question mark (?)
A question mark is used at the end of a sentence that asks a question.
What is your name? Where are you going? Do you want to go to the park?
Exclamation point (!)
An exclamation point is used at the end of a sentence to express strong emotion, such as surprise,
excitement, or anger.
Wow! That was amazing! I can't believe I won! Be careful!
Comma (,) - Commas are used to separate items in a list, introduce dependent clauses, and set off
introductory phrases and clauses.
I brought apples, bananas, and oranges. The student who got the highest grade on the test will receive a
prize. Although I was tired, I went to the gym.
Colon (:)
Colon (:) - A colon is used to introduce a list, a quotation, or an explanation.
I have two favorite colors: blue and green. The following is a list of the required materials: paper,
pencils, and erasers. The speaker's topic was: the importance of education.
Semicolon (;)
A semicolon is used to separate two independent clauses that are closely related in thought.
I like to read; I also like to write. The weather was beautiful, so we decided to go for a walk. The student
was absent from class; however, she completed all of her assignments.
Dashes and Hyphens
Dash (—/–) - There are two types of dashes: the en dash (–) and the em dash (—). The en dash is used to
separate two related numbers or dates, or to show a range. The em dash is used to set off an
introductory phrase or clause, to emphasize a phrase or clause, or to indicate a sudden break in thought.
En dash
The game will be played from 10 a.m.–12 p.m. The students' ages range from 10–12 years old. The
report was written by John Smith–Jane Doe.
Em dash
I was walking down the street—and then I saw something amazing. My favorite book—The Lord of the
Rings—is a fantasy novel. I'm so excited—I can't believe I'm going to see my favorite band in concert!
Hyphen (-)
A hyphen is used to connect two words to form a compound word, or to divide a word at the end of a
Mother-in-law, good-bye
Parentheses ()
Parentheses are used to set off additional information that is not essential to the meaning of the
sentence, such as an example, explanation, or aside.
My sister (who lives in New York) is coming to visit next week. The book (which was written by a famous
author) is a bestseller. I'm going to the movies (if I have time).
Brackets []
Brackets are used to enclose information that is additional to the sentence, such as a correction or
explanation. Curly braces ({}) are used to enclose mathematical expressions, code, or other technical
The original document [which is located in the archives] contains all of the necessary information. The
Braces {}
Encloses mathematical expressions, code, or other technical information.
{x + y = z}
Apostrophe (')
- An apostrophe is used to show possession, to form contractions, or to indicate the omission of letters.
Quotation marks (“”/'')
Quotation marks are used to enclose direct quotations, the titles of short works, and words that are
used in a special way.
Ellipsis (…)
An ellipsis is used to indicate an omission of words, to show a pause or hesitation, or to create suspense.