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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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