Punctuation, one is taught, has a point: to
keep law and order. Punctuation marks are
road signs placed along the highway of our
communication: to control speeds, provide
directions and prevent head-on collisions.
A period has the unblinking finality of a red
light; the comma is a flashing yellow light that
asks us to slow down; and the semicolon is a
stop sign that tells us to ease gradually to a
halt, before gradually starting up again.
Exclamation point
 Use an exclamation point at the end of
an emphatic declaration, interjection,
or command.
 Example: "No!" he yelled. "Do it now!”
 Use a colon before a list or an
explanation that is preceded by a clause
that can stand by itself, and after a
salutation in a business letter, between
the hour and minute.
 Example: There is only one thing left to
do now: confess while you still have
 Use a semicolon to help sort out a monster list.
 Example: There were citizens from Bangor, Maine;
Hartford, Connecticut; Boston, Massachusetts; and
Newport, Rhode Island.
 To separate closely related independent clauses.
 Example: My grandmother seldom goes to bed this
early; she's afraid she'll miss out on something.
 Use a period at the end of a sentence
that makes a statement or in an
 Example: Mr. Michaels went to the mall
Question marks
 Use a question mark at the end of a
 Example: What did you say?
 use an apostrophe to create
possessive forms, contractions, and
some plurals
 Example:
I am = I'm
you are =
she is =
it is = it's
Quotation mark
 Use quotation marks to set off material
that represents quoted or spoken
 Put quotes around the title of a short
story, essay, poem, song, magazine or
newspaper.article, or book chapter.
 Use parentheses to include material
that you want to de-emphasize or that
wouldn't normally fit into the flow of your
text but you want to include nonetheless
 Example: Thirty-five years after his
death, Robert Frost (we remember him
at Kennedy's inauguration) remains
America's favorite poet.
 Use brackets to include explanatory
words or phrases within quoted
 Example: Lew Perkins, the Director of
Athletic Programs, said, “Pumita
Espinoza, the new soccer coach [at
Notre Dame Academy] is going to be a
real winner.”
 Use a dash in between compound
words, numbers from twenty-one to
ninety-nine, and to divide a word
when you run out of room at the end
of a line
 Example: You are 12-year-old geniuses!
 Use a slash to indicate a choice
between the words it separates
 Example: Using the pass/fail option
backfired on her; she could've gotten an
Underlining / Italicizing Text
 Use italics or underline the title of a
book, play, film, television series, works
of art, magazine, or newspaper.

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