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English Punctuation Rules


by Leon 2011 to present

Note:  "punct" means "point"

Punct Name Rule of the 'punct' Examples
. period

full stop

The period or 'full stop' is used at the end of a complete thought (sentence), usually including a subject and predicate (clause), or multiple clauses.

1. There are simple sentences.
    (1 clause)
2. There are compound sentences.
    (2 clauses)
3. There are complex sentences.
    (2 clauses)
4. There are complex-compound sentences.
    (3 or 4 clauses)

1.  I like to eat pizza.

2.  I like to eat pizza and I like to drink juice.

3.  I like to eat pizza, because it is delicious.

4.  I like to eat pizza, because it is delicious; and I like to drink orange juice, because it is healthy.

, comma The simple rule is the comma is used whenever there is a pause in speaking.  The complex rules are:

1.  to separate lists of nouns

2.  to separate lists of adjectives

3.  to separate clauses of a LONG compound sentences.

4.  to separate clauses of complex sentences.

1.  There was a dog, a cat, and a mouse.

2.  The quick, brown, healthy dog ate the cat.

3.  The fast cat ate the slow mouse, and then the quick dog ate the fast cat.

4.  The quick dog ate the fast cat, because it was hungry. 

: colon The colon is used before lists & after (1) 'for example:' or (2) 'such as:'.

 

1.  I like to eat healthy food, for example:  rice, vegetables, and mushrooms.

2.  I like to eat healthy food, such as:  rice, vegetables, and mushrooms.

; semi-
colon
The semi-colon is used...

   (1) to separate compound sentences that contain commas, or...

   (2) to separate lists that contain commas.

1.  The fast cat ate the slow mouse; and the quick, brown, healthy dog at the fast cat.

2.  I don't eat too much unhealthy food, such as:  candy, sweets, and chocolate; or colas, sodas, and fake juices.

! exclamation
point
The exclamation point is used to express excitement, passionate language.  It can come...

   (1) at the end of a sentence, or...

   (2) after an interjection

1.  I love life!

2.  Wow!  That's so cool!

? question
mark
The question mark is used at the end of a question. 1.  Can I have some money?
' apostrophe The apostrophe is used...

   (1) for omitted letters

   (2) to show possession

   (3) for new terms, introduced in a text

1.  Don't do it.

2.  It is Sheila's book.

3.  The word  'punct' is short for punctuation.

" speech
marks
Speech marks are used...

   (1) To show direct speech within a text

   (2) To quote from someone else's writing.

   (3) To indicate slang

   (4) To show titles.

1.  He said, "No."

2.  "To him that believeth, all things are possible."  (Jesus, 30A.D.)

3.  The "RINOs" in our government need to go.

4.  I like the song, "Jingle Bells".

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