Punctuation marks on a page are similar to signs on a road. They guide you and direct you.

1.  A period ( . ) ends a declarative or imperative sentence.

            I live in Pasadena.  They donít live in Pasadena.

            Listen to me.    Donít drink and drive.   Please come here.   Eat your vegetables.

2.  A question mark ( ? ) ends an interrogative sentence.

            Do you live in Pasadena?  Donít you like chocolate ice cream?

3.  An exclamation mark  ( ! ) ends an exclamatory sentence (a sentence that contains a lot of emotion).

            Help!   Stop!   Donít call me again!

4.  A  comma  ( , ) separates items in a list.

            I like coffee, soda, milk, and tea.     Sara, Maria, Robert and Steven will eat lunch.

5.  A semicolon separates equal parts of a sentence.

            Mary is at home; Bob is at school.

            Give me a hamburger, with onions and lettuce; a coke, with a straw; and fries, with ketchup.

6.  A   colon ( : ) usually precedes a list.

            Bring these things with  you: a book, a pencil, and a dictionary.

7.  A dash ( Ė ) usually indicates a break in thought.

            Iíll have a hot dog with mustard Ė no, make that ketchup.

8.  A hyphen ( - ) separates syllables to make a word easier to read.

            co-ordinate        re-elect     pray-er

          A hyphen also separates syllables when  itís necessary  to continue a word on the follow-

          ing  line.

9.  Parentheses ( )  or a pair of dashes contain extra information.

            John (my brother) is coming to the party.

            John Ė my brother Ė is coming to the party.

10.  An ellipsis (...) shows that information is missing or deleted.

            ďTo be or not...the question.Ē   (ďTo be or not to be. That is the question.Ē)

11.  Quotation marks (ď  Ē) enclose the exact words of a person.

            Maria said, ďWhere are the keys?Ē

12.  An apostrophe ( í ) is a substitute for a letter or letters (in a contraction).

            isnít = is not    canít = cannot    donít = do not    Iíll = I will    Iím = I am    Heís sick. = He is sick.

            Bobís rich. = Bob is rich.    Whatís new? = What is new?   Theyíve worked. = They have worked.

            í99 = 1999 

          An apostrophe also shows possession.

            This is Saraís book.  (Donít say:  This is the book of Sara.)     Where is the dogís dish?

14.  Begin all sentences with a capital letter (i.e., capitalize the first word in all sentences) and end all sentences with a punctuation mark.   =

          Capitalize the first word in a sentence and finish the sentence with a punctuation mark.