Where do punctuations go and where do you use punctuation marks?

Where do punctuations go and where do you use punctuation marks?

The English language in order to be understood when written down has to have if not 3 of the 14 punctuation marks ingrained in a sentence. This is because punctuation adds clarity and precision to writing it provides the tone a reader is supposed to use while running down lines and most especially it gives sense and helps readers draw out meaning with ease.

Knowing this, it would only be human of you to put into question where these punctuations are to appear. Well, they appear in most breakpoints signifying a pause, they appear to conclude a sentence, and they appear most times accompanying prepositions and conjunction, surely most of these things were imbibed in you in your class, but it was merely the tip of the iceberg, here the entire Glacier if possible the whole tundra existing under the sun, would be delivered to you.

Where do punctuations do?  We would begin with:

At the end of a sentence- full stop, exclamation mark, and question mark

Out of the entire fourteen punctuation marks, only three can be suitably applied at the end of a sentence to provide it with the desirable expression and intonation to be conceived. These punctuation marks are known as the ceremonial full stop/period (.), the exclamation point (!), and the Question mark (?).

The full stop/period (.) appears at the end of a declarative sentence,- this is a sentence that makes a statement, offers a fat, provides an explanation or conveys information-complete statements after a collection of other abbreviations.

  • My dog is dead.
  • Jack and Jill went to the warehouse.
  • Emmanuel Josiah, son of Johanna was born on the 25th of August 1566.

An exclamation mark functions to give a plain old sentence an expression as well as emphasis, it details shock, an outcry, outburst of emotions, sarcasm, etc. English adepts strictly advise the use of more than one exclamation mark at the end of a sentence would be considered a wrong and brazen abuse of punctuation

  • “Oh my God!” Adams yelled out
  • Her raking is annoying, she yells a lot and that just gets me pissed!
  • “don’t leave me!” she called out with tears rolling down her cheeks
  • They said they had drunk all the water, not drank!
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Using a question mark, you would have to be expecting an answer after the sentence or the statement, a question mark appears at the end of a sentence, or pretty anywhere in the sentence a question is asked whether it is rhetorical or not

  • What in particular do you want; cloth, House, a Car or a Woman?
  • Where were you last night?


With the development of knowledge, it has been discovered that the comma has been always inappropriately punctuated; the comma should only be employed when there is a pressing need to separate ideas and fundamentals within the organization of a sentence and also to structure two complete sentences apart. Aside from that, they can also be used in dates and numbers. They also should appear after the salutations and conclusion of a letter.

  • Silence, as they say, can run a sane man mad- a direct reference
  • We had lunch, from there we went swimming- separation of two sentences
  • Magnus had a hard time picking fruits so he chose the apple, banana, and orange- separating elements.

Note: an introductory prepositional phrase starts with a preposition (like in, on, after before, etc.). For short introductory phrases the use of a comma can be optional but for lengthy phrases it is mandatory.

Is this clear? We move further

The semicolon (;) is used to link two independent clauses, it shows an association among clauses and as so it should come after the first sentence has been made whether complete or not.

  • Saul was molested; he knew she said that only to throw him off track.

A colon has more than one function; the first of it is that a colon is used after the word that introduces a quote, for an in-depth explanation, an example E.g.

  • He was bent on following four career paths: a lawyer, doctor, economist, and politician

The second is used when two independent clauses are been strung in the same sentence with the second explaining the first just like a semicolon

  • I didn’t want to fight him: I would have lost.

The third function of a semicolon is for emphasis

  • There was one sport he loved playing more than any other: football.

The world system of measurement encourages the use of a colon to tell seconds from minutes from hours while a digital clock is telling the time, similar with a digital calendar and date, arithmetic solutions symbols and ratios, the presence of the colon as pertaining to that aspect has no grammatical use.

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Dash and Hyphen

They have always been a persisting confusion that details one to be the other due to their vertical appearance, a dash is only effected when it is being employed in a sentence for the sole purpose of separating to sentence, they are, as a matter of facts, two types of dash serving the seemingly same purpose, but! For different reasons

1.       Em dash: An em dash is longer than the en dash, it separates sentences apart to serve the reason of replacing a comma, Parenthesis, or colon so as to improve readability or foretell the end of a sentence e.g. she told him her mind, the answer to the question-Yes!

2.       EN dash: an en dash is twice the length of a hyphen  it is used to indicate a range(from point A to point B), a connection or a differentiation between two places or elements e.g. 2006-2007, or Abuja-Maiduguri

A Hyphen is used to seam two or more words together to form a compound word, it is not to be separated by space, a comma, question mark, etc. i.e. well-known, part-time, etc.

Braces, Brackets, and Parentheses

Braces{} are placed to contain a couple of text or list items to display the items as considered units, this rarely serves any purpose in a write up it is only relevant in programming and number arithmetic e.g. 5{1-3[2×4]}.

Brackets and parentheses both serve similar purposes, they are symbols used to house words that are considered as a group or a collective extension of a word. Typically the idea of a bracket differs from the knowledge you grew up with of what it is,  brackets aren’t arched() instead they are squared [] notifications used for practical explanations and to simplify meaning, now a bracket is positioned to house a phrase, noun, verb, sentence, notification that on the removal of the bracket the complete sentence would still have meaning

  • She[Angeline krul] was the first person to step out of the car

While Parentheses are the typical notification we all have been misinterpreting as brackets (), they are a pair of vertical curved notation lines used to contain perceived thoughts or qualifying remarks, this punctuation’s significance can be served by using a comma without altering the sentence meaning.

  • Jack and Jill (both full-blown siblings) went up the hill to fetch a pale of water.

Quotation, Apostrophe, Ellipsis.

Quotation marks(“ “)always appears at the beginning and end of a referenced passage, or word, and to indicate emphasis and  display a quote, they are also used to indicate meaning, give voice to characters and object and also to point out the unusual status of a word

  • “Slap him” that was what the teacher said before I felt the cold palm of Chibuzor land on my face
  • “kukuruuuuku” the cock crowed once more to remind us it was dawn.

The apostrophe is used to dictate the omission of a  letter or letters, it mostly comes to play when indicating possessive verbs and nouns e.g. Sarah’s, symbol’s, etc. it is also used to indicate plurals of lowercase letters

  • Sarah’s dog died 3 days ago- a possessive case
  • I’d see to it that your car is fixed when I get back- the omission of letters from a word, here “would” was omitted
  • While calling out surnames he got tired and said every a’s and q’s should step aside.

Ellipsis are coming presented by 3 dots or full stops (…), subsequently, it can also be displayed as a series of asterisks (***). This still has been adopted as a form to indicate omitted words mostly employed by writers intentionally to reduce the gravity of vulgar terms and words, especially the ones that are most sensitive to the mind of readers. It has also, on a frequent basis, been used within citations to jump from one phrase to another and to also omit excessive wordings

  • Adaku leapt from the ledge embedded at the top of a six-story building, she landed with a thud… the newsman said she had committed s*cide
  • “one, two, three, four…ready or not here I come”

While employing the use of ellipsis you’d be abusing the punctuation if it exceeds more than 3 dots.

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