Period ( . )
Comma ( , )
Sets off items in a series, subordinate clauses, quotations,
parenthetical phrases, interjections. Used to eliminate confusion.
Semicolon ( ; )
"Bring book, paper, and pens."
"Because we had a fire, classes are cancelled."
"Tom said, 'The exam is tough.'"
"Ann, born in Paris, speaks French."
"No, we won't leave."
Joins sentences not linked with and, or,
yet, but, so. Sets off items with
commas in a list.
Colon ( : )
"Ask Bill; that's his job."
"We sell Corona, from Mexico; Becks, from Germany; and
Harp, from Ireland."
Indicates beginning of a list following a sentence.
Parentheses ( )
"We need spare parts: spark plugs, filters, and screws."
Encloses extra information.
Quotation Marks ( " " )
"Michael Collins (1890-1922) was a great leader."
Indicate direct quotes from oral or written source and titles
of short works.
Underlining ( _____ )
"Let's go," he said.
We saw Van Gogh's "The Night Cafe."
Indicates italics in printed text and used for titles of
Dash ( -- )
Did you read The Great Gatsby?
Informal mark used for emphasis, usually instead of commas.
Hyphen ( - )
The drivers -- both drunk -- were arrested.
Used to indicate breaks in syllables or paired words.
Question Mark ( ? )
Shows the sentence is a question.
Apostrophe ( ' )
Shows possession and indicates missing letters or numbers.
Don't sell Tom's '64 Mustang!