Punctuation is an essential element of a sentence. Without it, we wouldn’t know how to organize our thoughts, where to pause and when to stop! A comma or a period or any of the other punctuation marks the English language uses conveys so much more about a sentence than just the mere words on the page. Teach your students how to use this important tool of language with our worksheets and activities.
Get Started With Punctuation
Punctuation is the system of symbols we use to separate parts of sentences to make their meaning clear. A famous example is “A panda eats shoots and leaves.” Without punctuation, this sentence means the subject eats plant growths. Punctuated as “Eats, shoots, and leaves,” it means the subject eats first, then fires a weapon, then leaves the scene. The meaning of the sentence completely changes just by using these critical marks! (The writer Lynne Truss, in fact, used this as the title of her book about grammar, Eats, Shoots and Leaves.)
The 14 punctuation marks in the English language
Period: The simplest punctuation mark to use, it marks the end of the sentence.
Comma: Separates one list item from the next, or provides a pause in thought.
Question mark: Used at the end of a sentence that asks a direct question.
Exclamation mark: Expresses exasperation, astonishment or surprise. It’s also used to emphasize a comment or short, sharp phrase.
Colon: Expands on the sentence that precedes it, often introducing a list that elaborates whatever was previously stated.
Semicolon: The semicolon is somewhere between a period and a comma.
Quotation marks: Used to cite something someone said exactly.
Apostrophe: Used for possessions and contractions.
Dashes: Used to create emphasis in a sentence.
Hyphen: Joins two words or parts of words together while avoiding confusion or ambiguity.
Parentheses: Curved notations used to express further thoughts.
Brackets: Squared-off notations used for technical explanations or to clarify meaning.
Braces: Used to contain two or more lines of text or listed items to show that they are considered as a unit.
Ellipsis: Three equally spaced points to indicate the omission of words in a quotation.