An English professor wrote the words, “Woman without her man is nothing” on the blackboard and directed his students to punctuate it correctly.
The men wrote: “Woman, without her man, is nothing.”
The women wrote: “Woman: Without her, man is nothing.”
Punctuation is used to create sense, clarity and stress in sentences.
You use punctuation marks to structure and organise your writing. The most common of these are the period (or full stop in British English), the comma, the exclamation mark, the question mark, the colon and semi-colon, the quote, the apostrophe, the hyphen and dash, and parentheses and brackets. Capital letters are also used to help us organise meaning and to structure the sense of our writing.
You can quickly see why punctuation is important if you try and read this sentence which has no punctuation at all:
perhaps you dont always need to use commas periods colons etc to make sentences clear when i am in a hurry tired cold lazy or angry i sometimes leave out punctuation marks grammar is stupid i can write without it and dont need it my uncle Harry once said he was not very clever and i never understood a word he wrote to me i think ill learn some punctuation not too much enough to write to Uncle Harry he needs some help
Now let’s see if punctuating it makes a difference!
Perhaps you don’t always need to use commas, periods, colons etc. to make sentences clear. When I am in a hurry, tired, cold, lazy, or angry I sometimes leave out punctuation marks.
“Grammar is stupid! I can write without it and don’t need it.” my uncle Harry once said. He was not very clever and I never understood a word he wrote to me. I think I’ll learn some punctuation – not too much, enough to write to Uncle Harry. He needs some help!
Three of the fourteen punctuation marks are appropriate for use as sentence endings. They are the period, question mark, and exclamation point.
The Comma, Semicolon and Colon
The comma, semicolon and colon are often misused because they all can indicate a pause in a series.
The Dash and the Hyphen
Two kinds of dashes are used throughout written communications. They are the endash and the emdash.
Brackets, Braces, and Parentheses
Brackets, braces, and parentheses are symbols used to contain words that are a further explanation or are considered a group.
Apostrophe, Quotation Marks, and Ellipses
The final three punctuation forms in English grammar are the apostrophe, quotation marks, and ellipses. Unlike previously mentioned grammatical marks, they are not related to one another in any form.