Punctuation is probably one of the tough elements of English one remembers from his/her school education. But, as you are here, it is time for you know that punctuation is so simple provided you are aware of some appropriate rules pertaining to the usage of formal English. Punctuation is also very important not only in the formal writings but also during conversations and public speaking.

Punctuation is simply that refers to the appropriate usage of putting points or stops in writing. For any written thing to be understood, it should be punctuated properly. The following are the principal stops used in punctuation.

  1. Full stop or period (.)
  2. Comma (,)
  3. Semi colon (;)
  4. Colon (:)
  5. Question mark (?)
  6. Exclamatory mark (!)
  7. Hyphen (-)
  8. Apostrophe (‘)

We below give the main rules or guidelines for the usage of all stops.



Full stop:

A full stop is used

a)      At the end of the sentence.(unless a question mark or exclamatory mark is used).

b)      After initials in name, countries, medals, degrees.



V.C. (Vice chancellor)


c) After shortened forms of words that do not end in the last letter of the word.



A full stop is not used

  1. After shortened forms of words that end with the last letter of the word.

Dept (Department)

Lieut (Lieutenant)

  1. After symbols of measurement km, kmph etc.
  2. After headings and titles.
  3. After dates: 25 June, 1890.
  4. 5. After a signature in a letter.

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A comma represents a shortest pause, and is used

  1. To separate words in a list

Example: I gave him a book, a rubber, and a ruler.

  1. To separate adjectives in a sentence.

Example:  She wore a beautiful, long new coat.

  1. To show a pause by separating a phrase.

Example: The cat yawning lazily closed its eyes.

  1. To show a pause by separating sentences.

Example: His room was dirty, books were scattered and dirty clothes littered the floor.

  1. Before ‘but’

Example: The new baby was small, but strong.

  1. Before ‘as’, ‘since’, ’because’.
  2. After participle phrases that begin sentences.

Example: Feeling tired, I went to bed.

  1. Before and after the words that give more information about the subject.

Example:  My friend, who is a lawyer, is a tennis player.

  1. After ‘however’.

Example: we know however, that she is going to die.

  1. To separate two principal clauses joined by ‘but’, ‘so’, ‘for’, ‘or’, ‘nor’.

Example: Finish your homework, or you will be punished.

  1. After ‘yes’ and ‘no’ when these begin an answer.

Example: Yes, I’m going to town.

No, it’s not late.

Commas are not used in a clause that specifically identifies the noun.

Commas are not used in a clause that specifically identifies the noun.

Examples: This is the book which I was given for Christmas.

The teacher spoke to the boy who had misbehaved.

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