Punctuation Marks -Meaning, Symbols, Uses, & Types You Are Unaware Of: With Examples

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Punctuation marks are a powerful tool that is necessary to make sense of your writing. For example, read the below sentence:

Let’s eat Grandma.

Let’s eat, Grandma.

Here you can see that omitting a comma can give a different meaning altogether, which doesn’t make sense. If you’re constantly perplexed about where to put a comma or why to use a semicolon, this article is for you.  Go through our guide as we introduce you to essential punctuation marks.

Basic Punctuation Marks To Use In A Sentence

Usually, one can conclude a sentence with a period, question mark, and exclamation point. These symbols are deemed to be basic symbols in the English language. In short, these symbols help you to complete or end a sentence. Let us see some of the fundamental punctuation marks used in the English language:

Period: This is perhaps the basic punctuation mark used to end a declarative sentence. It is also known as a full-stop.

Denoted by – “.” 


  • She loves singing.
  • John has a pet.

Question mark: This punctuation is used to indicate a declarative question.

Denoted by – “?”


  • What is your favorite color?
  • Where are you from?

Exclamation mark: This symbol is used to emphasize a sentence or display emotion.

Denoted by – “!”


  • Wow! They won the third time!
  • She loves playing!

The three punctuation marks mentioned above are basic punctuations that are used at the end of a sentence. However, there are other symbols, such as commas, colons, and semicolons, that can be used inside a sentence. These are used to indicate a slight pause in the sentence.

Commas: These are usually placed between clauses, phrases, or items in a list. Additionally, commas are added to segregate recurrent parts of sentences such as dates, numbers, etc.,

It is also used at the end of a letter, before and after mentioning someone’s name, and after a greeting. While the explanation seems simple, most people misplace commas in the sentence. 

Denoted by – “,”


  • My favorite movies are Interstellar, Dark knight, and Inception.
  • Thank you, Sally.
  • When she came home, the dog was barking.

Colon: This is another basic symbol that is usually used in three instances:

  • When you begin a quotation, explanation, example, or series.
  • To separate independent clauses wherein the second part explains the first part of the sentence. 
  • To highlight a specific part of the sentence (to emphasize).

Denoted by – “:”


  • I didn’t want to go to America: I already had plans to go to Europe with my friends.
  • I am sure of one thing: my family.
  • I had my plans ready: graduate, secure a job, and become a co-founder.

Semicolon: A semicolon connects two separate parts of a sentence. It is frequently employed to link independent clauses. However, the sentence will still work if you put a period between them. 

Denoted by – “;”


  • John was happy; he knew his hard work would pay off. 

Dash: There are three types of dash 

  • Em dash: — 
  • En dash: –
  • Double hyphen: ⸗

A dash is generally used to denote associations (or connections), range, and separate words into statements. 


  • Read pages 20–45.

Hyphen: This punctuation combines two or more words to form a single notion or, in other words, a compound term. 

Denoted by – “-“


  • This is a well-known location.

Brackets, Braces, and Parentheses

All these three punctuation marks are used in order to provide additional information on the subject. Remember that brackets and parentheses are similar but not the same. Let’s see how each of these symbols is used:

Brackets: These are used for clarification and explanation. 

Denoted by – “[ ]”


  • She [Natasha] was the first one to travel across the country.

Braces: These are the curly or squiggly brackets that majorly find their use in Mathematics and Computer programs. Additionally, one can also use them to denote a list.

Denoted by – “{ }”


  • 4{1+[37-8]}=x.

Parentheses: These are used to highlight ideas or make qualifying remarks. 

Note: In most cases, these can be substituted by commas without changing the meaning.

Denoted by – “( )”


  • Maya Stuart (whose maiden name was Lockhart) bought a juice bottle.

Apostrophes: these are used when writing lowercase letter plurals and also when a letter or letters are omitted from a word in the possessive case.

Denoted by – ” ‘ “


  • This is Luna’s dog.
  • You’re welcome.

Ellipsis: this symbol is used to signify a pause or omission in the writer’s thoughts. It also helps leave behind unnecessary words without changing the meaning.

Denoted by – “…”


  • She had no idea about that…

Quotation marks (” “): This symbol is used to point to a direct quote. In other words, you can use it when quoting someone’s literal words and also a written source.


  • “I like ice cream,” said Maya.

The above example is a direct quote, but if you alter this sentence into an indirect quote, you’ll need to use quotation marks.


  • Maya said she likes ice cream.

Furthermore, they can signify a specific word in a sentence. 


  • This champion of the game is the “winner” today.

One can use two kinds of direct quotations: block and run-in quotation marks. Longer quotes that are separated from the surrounding text are known as block quotes. They appear as a paragraph or a series of paragraphs. They may have a different line spacing, different font, or a larger margin.

In contrast, run-in quotations are short and the same as the surrounding text. When you open quotations in your text, ensure you know where to close them. 

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These are some essential punctuation marks that one must know to make the writing meaningful. Furthermore, there are more symbols that one can use, but the punctuation marks given here can help you and give an idea about punctuation on the whole. 

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