Learn & Improve Your English

Capital Letters and Punctuation

    Author:     Member Level: Gold    Points: 30 (₹ 30)

Importance of Puncuations Marks and Their Proper Usage

Punctuation means the right use of putting in Points or Stops in a written text. Improper use of punctuation marks might completely change the meaning of a sentence.

Just compare the following two sentences:

The teacher said, “John is a fool."
“The teacher", said John “is a fool."

The same words have been used in both the sentences. But the meaning of the first sentence is quite different than that of the second sentence, and it's only because of improper use of Punctuation Marks.

From the example, you can well understand that improper use of Punctuation Marks can completely change the meaning of a sentence. Therefore, we can say that Punctuation Marks play a great role in making the sense of a sentence.

The Principal Punctuation Marks are as follows:

1.Full Stop or Period (.)
2.Comma (,)
3.Semicolon (;)
4.Colon (:)
5.Mark of Interrogation or Question Mark (?)
6.Mark of Exclamation or Exclamatory Mark(!)

Other marks in common use are Inverted Commas or Quotation Mark (“") and the Dash —.

Use of Full Stop:

•The full Stop shows the greatest pause and separation. It is used at end of an assertive, or an imperative sentence ; as

Man is the creator of his own fate.
I don't take tea in the morning.
Open the door.

•The Full Stop is used in abbreviations ;

My uncle is an M.L.A.
He is living in M.P.

Note: However, in Modern English use of Full Stop in abbreviations are often omitted.

Note: In current English Mr and Mrs are regarded as full spellings and Full Stop is not used after them;

Mr Gupta is the principal of our college.
Mrs Chopra has sent her consent in the matter.

Use of comma:

•The Comma represents the shortest pause. It is used;

•To separate a series of words in the same construction ;

The Indian delegation visited England, Germany and France.
Health, wealth and peace go together.

Note: Now-a-days, no comma is generally used before the word preceded by and.

•The comma is used to mark off a Noun or Phrase in Apposition ;

Indira Gandhi, the only lady Prime Minister of our country, was a lady of iron will.

Milton, the great English poet, was blind.

•To mark off words used in addressing people :

How are you, Robin?
Sohan, look at the black-board.

•The comma is used after a Nominative Absolute;

The weather being pleasant after the rain, we went out for an evening stroll.
The school being closed, the boys returned home.

•To separate the words yes or no from the rest of the sentence ;

Yes, I shall definitely wait for you.
No, I am not ready to part with my pet dog.

•The comma is used to separate expressions like too, however, in fact, of course, etc.

In fact, we have already discussed the matter with our teacher.
Of course, you can come and meet me tomorrow.

•It is used to separate a reported speech from the rest of the sentence ;

The host said, “We are really honoured to have you as our guest."
The old beggar said, “Please give me something to eat."

•It is used to separate the parts of a date from one another or any words following the date ;

India became free on August 15, 1947.
Our examination will commence from April 14, 2007.

•It is also used to separate various parts of an address ;

He lives in 204, Saket, New Delhi.

•In letters, it is used after the salutation and after the complimentary close ;

My dear Ramesh, Dear Sir,
Yours faithfully, yours truly,

•However, the comma is sometimes omitted these days.

Use of Semicolon:

The Semicolon represents a pause greater than the one indicated by the Commas;

•It is used to separate the clauses of a Compound Sentence, if they contain commas:

Napoleon was a brave, large hearted man; and everybody loved and honoured him.

•To separate a series of loosely connected clauses;

Reading maketh a full man; speaking a ready man; writing an exact man.

Use of Colon:

•The colon indicates a still greater pause than the Semicolon. It is used;

•To introduce a quotation;

Bacon says: — Reading maketh a full man; speaking a ready man; writing an exact man.

•Before enumeration;

Some famous patriots of the country are: Mahatma Gandhi, Saheed Bhagat Singh, Chandrasekhar Azad.

Use of the Question Mark:

The Question Mark is used, instead of the Full Stop to mark a direct question;

Where had you gone in the morning?
Who is knocking at the gate?
Are you writing a letter?

Note: However, in case of an indirect question, the question mark is not used;

He asked me whether I was busy.

Use of the Mark of Exclamation:

The Mark of Exclamation is used after Interjections and after Phrases and Sentences expressing sudden feelings, emotions or wish;

Alas! His only son is dead.
Hurrah! We have won the match.
What a fine morning!

Use of Inverted Commas;

Inverted Commas are used to mark the exact words of a speaker:

“I did not mean to hurt you," said the boy, “I was only making some fun."

It is also used to indicate titles of books, films, plays, songs, stories etc.:

I like Shakespeare's famous composition, “The Merchant of Venice."

Use of Dash:

The Dash is used:-

•To indicate a sudden stop or change of thought;

If I had accepted the offer— anyway, it's a matter of the past.

•It is used after a list of items when the same is followed by an explanation;

Friends, relatives, brothers—nobody thought for him.

Capital Letters

Capital letters are used:

1.To begin the first word of a sentence.
2.To begin the first word of every line of poetry.
3.To begin all Proper Nouns and Adjectives derived from them;
Delhi, India, Indian, Naresh etc.

4.To begin names of days and months.
5.To begin names of religions and sects.
6.For all nouns and pronouns indicating the deity;
Pray to God, He is the Almighty.
7.Names of Historic Buildings.
8.Names of books, newspapers, journals and magazines.
9.Names of festivals
10.Pronoun ‘I' and the interjection ‘O'.

Sample Usage

As shown against each.

Next Resource: The Homophones—Part— II
Previous Resource: Conversational Internet Slang Words - Some Infamously Famous Ones

Return to Index

Post New English Language Resource

Looking for University or College admissions in India for 2024 - 2025 Academic Year?

Top Contributors
    Last 7 Daysmore...

    Awards & Gifts

    Online Members

    Promoted by: SpiderWorks Technologies Pvt Ltd, Kochi - India. © All Rights Reserved.