In speech, man uses pauses, different ways of expression and changes his tone to make his meanings clear. Punctuation helps him to do the same in writing. Punctuation can be difficult; details of some conventional punctuation can be complex but punctuation usually follows regular patterns and the following statements describe common punctuation patterns. 

THE FULL STOP (.)

The full stop is used in the following ways:

  1. to mark the end of a sentence e.g. 

I saw the man yesterday. 

The man is not serious.

  1. It is used after an indirect question, in which the question is not phrased verbatim but is part of a statement.
  2. The full stop is used after most abbreviations: Mr. U.S.A., P.M.B.

COMMA (,)

Comma is used to indicate a short pause. It is used in the following ways: 

  1. to separate items in a list: 

We have to buy toothpaste, biro, books, calculator, eetc.

  1. Comma is used to separate phrases: 

The participants at the workshop include school principals, civil servants, Zonal Education Officers, etc. 

  1. Comma is used to separate dependent clauses when they are coordinated in a series of three or more. 

If I see the man, who is a friend of mine, I will report his son to him.

THE SEMICOLON (;) 

The semicolon is stronger than a comma. It is used to separate statements (main clauses) which could be distinct sentences, but for reasons of style , are kept within a single sentence. The Bible makes frequent use of the semicolon; Psalm/3: Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. 

THE COLON (:)

The colon resembles in force the sign of equality in Mathematics: that is whatever comes before the sign is in at least one sense equal to what comes after it. It is not frequently used to precede a series which has already been introduced by a completed statement, often containing the word following: The common Nigerian foods are the following: rice, beans, eba, yam, etc. I discovered that there are four kinds of girls in the polytechnic: those that come to get married, those that come to get an education, those that come because they do not know what else to do.

DASH (-) 

Dash is used to make sudden breaks in the flow of the sentence. Dashes are useful and versatile punctuation marks, but they should be used with care and restraint. Most commonly, they have the following uses: 

  1. A dash may emphasize a sharp break or charge in thought, separating sentence elements, or making a break at the end. If they have any decency, they will come and apologize – but have they any decency?
  2. One English sentence pattern used occasionally lists a long series of subjects or modifiers, followed by a dash and usually by a pronoun or other word summarizing the list. Well-pounded yam, vegetable soup, and jar of palm- wine – all these, and more appeared before the chiefs.
  3. The dash has various conventional uses especially before a citation. at the end of a quotation.  ” Decide on what you think is right , and stick to it – George Eliot . 

QUESTION MARK (?)

A question mark is used at the end of a question. What is your name? When are you traveling? 

Question marks must not be used when a question is indirect: I asked him when he was traveling. I asked him his name.

EXCLAMATION MARK (!)

An exclamation mark expresses sudden emotion or surprise. It is sometimes used to emphasize an order or a command.

Stop Here! Hurray! Hurray for us! 

PARENTHESIS AND BRACKETS ( ) 

The function of the parentheses and brackets is to enclose inserted material which does not fit into the grammatical structure of the sentence and which adds incidental information. The inserted material should obscure communication in any way. 

The Ngwa (found in Abia State) are very hospitable people.

QUOTATION MARKS (“…”)(‘…’)

 Quotation marks are sometimes referred to as inverted commas and they are used in the following essays.

  1. They enclose direct speech, that is, the actual words or thoughts of a speaker. The principal said “Don’t come to school tomorrow if you don’t , bring the teller” 
  2. Quotation marks are also used for names of special importance such as title of books: 

“The Stillborn” by Zaynab Alkali

“Lord of the flies” by William Goldings.

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By Teezab

His name is Tiamiy Abdulbazeet. He is a writer and loves to write about Education, and all types of news. If he is not writing, then know that he is playing a game!😃

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