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English Punctuation

Discover the rules for using apostrophes, braces, brackets, colons, commas, dashes, ellipses, hyphens, italics, parentheses, periods, question marks, exclamation marks, interrobangs, quotation marks, semicolons, and slashes in written American English with the following guides for punctuation rules.

Apostrophes

Punctuation Rules for Apostrophes in Written English explains the use of apostrophes to form possessive nouns, to indicate contractions and omissions, and to pluralize lowercase letters and words used as words.

Braces

Punctuation Rules for Ellipses and Braces in Written English explains the use of braces to denote numeric sets and to indicate equal choices.

Brackets

Punctuation Rules for Brackets in Written English explains the use of brackets to enclose parenthetical information inside other parenthetical information, to provide clarification of information inside quotation marks, to indicate errors in quotations, to revise quotations, and to indicate word origin.

Colons

Punctuation Rules for Colons in Written English explains the use of colons to introduce lists, to introduce appositives, to introduce quotations, to introduce elaborations and emphasizations, to introduce rules and principles, in business salutations, in time notations, and in Bible references.

Commas

Punctuation Rules for Commas in Written English explains the use of commas to separate items in a series, to separate verb clauses, after an adverbial the precedes the main clause, to separate coordinate adjectives, to separate nonrestrictive adjective clauses, to separate nonessential appositives, to separate contrasted coordinate phrases, to separate nonessential adverbs and parentheticals, to transition between quotations, and in dates, geographical places, numbers, personal titles, direct addresses, and brief interjections.

Dashes

Punctuation Rules for Dashes in Written English explains the use of dashes to separate appositives with commas, to introduce explanations, to introduce emphasizations, and to introduce explanations of series.

Ellipses

Punctuation Rules for Ellipses and Braces in Written English explains the use of ellipses to mark omissions and to indicate pauses and interruptions.

Exclamation Marks

Punctuation Rules for Question Marks, Exclamation Marks, and Interrobangs in Written English explains the use of exclamation marks to end sentences and to separate emphatic interjections.

Hyphens

Punctuation Rules for Hyphens in Written English explains the use of hyphens with affixes, in compound nouns, in coequal nouns, in compound modifiers, in phrasal modifiers, in numbers, and to avoid confusion and misreading.

Interrobangs

Punctuation Rules for Question Marks, Exclamation Marks, and Interrobangs in Written English explains the use of interrobangs to end sentences.

Italicization

Rules for Italicization in Written English explains the use of italicization in written English to identify titles of major works, to emphasize words and phrases, to identify letters and words used as words, to identify linguistic examples, and to identify foreign words and phrases.

Parentheses

Punctuation Rules for Parentheses in Written English explains the use of parentheses to enclose numbers and letters in a list, to enclose clarifications, to introduce emphasizations, and to enclose asides and additional information.

Periods

Punctuation Rules for Periods in Written English explains the use of periods to end sentences, as decimal points, with abbreviations, in computer files and Internet addresses, and in play and poetry citations.

Question Marks

Punctuation Rules for Question Marks, Exclamation Marks, and Interrobangs in Written English explains the use of question marks in written American English to end sentences and in dates and numbers.

Quotation Marks

Punctuation Rules for Quotation Marks in Written English explains the use of double quotations with direct quotations, minor titles, translations, and novel uses and the use of single quotations marks inside double quotation marks, with translations, and in titles.

Semicolons

Punctuation Rules for Semicolons in Written English explains the use of semicolons to join related verb clauses, to join other verb clauses, and in series with commas.

Slashes

Punctuation Rules for Slashes in Written English explains the use of slashes in fractions, in dates, with abbreviations, to separate alternatives, to indicate lines breaks, and with files names and Internet addresses.

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