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Punctuation - Definition, Overview, and Lists of Examples

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Welcome

Below you’ll find links to our discussion on all punctuation marks. We have broken some of the longer topics into multiple pages. So watch for references to “Pages 1-2-3” at the bottom of the topic. Click the next page number to continue reading.

Sources Cited

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General Table of Contents

Period
Comma
Semicolon
Colon
Dash
Parentheses
Brackets
Question Mark
Exclamation Point
Hyphen
Apostrophe
Quotation Marks


Detailed Table of Contents

Period
Ending a Sentence
Showing Abbreviation
Vertical, Enumerated Lists
Periods with Quotation Marks
Period with Parentheses or Brackets

Comma
Serial-Comma Rule ‑ Red, White, and Blue
Serial-Comma Rule ‑ Examples
Semicolons Instead of Commas
Joining Two Elements
Commas and Independent Clauses
Commas and Introductory Clauses or Phrases
Adverbial Phrases Between Subject and Verb
Adjectival Clauses and Phrases
Parenthetical Pauses
Commas and Noun Appositives
Commas and Coordinate Adjectives
Complementary or Antithetical Expressions
Dates - Month-Day-Year
Dates - Day-Month-Year
Dates - Month-Year
Commas and Elliptical Expressions
Commas with Quotation Marks

Semicolon
Semicolons and Independent Clauses
“However” and Other Conjunctive Adverbs
Semicolons Separating Elements in a Series
Semicolons with Quotation Marks

Colon
Colon and Independent Clauses
Introducing a List
Introducing Statements or Quotations
Colons with Quotation Marks

Dash
En and Em Dashes
Em Dashes - No Spaces

Parentheses
Amplify, Explain, or Digress
Numbers in Lists Within Text
Parentheses and Other Punctuation

Brackets
Parentheticals Within Parentheses

Question Mark
Question Marks with Quotation Marks

Exclamation Point

Hyphen
Ranges of Numbers
Prefix Words
Prefix Words - Exceptions to the Rule
Hyphens and Compound Words
Hyphens and Compound Nouns
Hyphens and Compound Adjectives
Compound Adjectives - Decision to Hyphenate
Made-Up Adjectives
Compound Adjectives and -ly Adverbs
Compound Adjectives - A Long List
Combining Various Parts of Speech

Apostrophe and Possessives
Apostrophes Form Contractions
Apostrophes Form a Narrow Class of Plurals

Quotation Marks
Rules on Direct Quotation
Period Goes Inside
Comma Goes Inside
Semicolon Goes Outside
Colon Goes Outside
Question Mark Goes Inside
Question Mark Goes Outside
Exclamation Point Goes Inside
Exclamation Point Goes Outside

Conclusion

 

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