English punctuation

English punctuation

If you interview several English teachers or just those who speak English at a sufficient level, then half of them will say that they put commas at the level of intuition. The second half is divided into those who do not put them at all in order to avoid mistakes, and those who place all the signs according to the rules. 


Period, exclamation and question marks 

All of them, first of all, are put as standard at the end of the sentence, depending on whether it is affirmative, exclamatory or interrogative. 

  • I am in the bus right now. 
  • Don't look at me! 
  • What are you reading? 

A period can also be placed at the end of abbreviations or abbreviations, however, if the abbreviation ends with the last letter of the word, then it is not needed. Do not put a dot in titles and headings. 



Usually quotation marks or direct speech are highlighted in English. They can also help to highlight a word that in a speech is distinguished by an ironic intonation, often accompanied by a gesture showing quotation marks. Simply put, quotation marks can emphasize one specific word in a sentence. The punctuation mark at the end of a sentence is placed in quotation marks, and not outside them. 

  • "She's crazy!" Mary said to her mother. 
  • Were you really “busy” or just didn’t want to pick up my calls? 



If you need to clarify something, or list. Sometimes before a direct speech, if it is long enough. 

  • He brought home a lot of useless things: old iron, faded chair, 



Used to include clarifications in the sentence. If the punctuation mark does not refer to the content of the brackets, then it will come after it. 

Square brackets are often used in newspapers and books, mostly for explanations. Information is placed there that was not said out loud, but was implied. 

  • He [the boy she met yesterday] was now looking at her. 



Its use has a number of features. 

- abbreviation of words 

We all know the abbreviations of auxiliary verbs and particles “not”: 

  • Am + not = amn't 
  • Is + not = isn't 
  • Are + not = aren't 
  • Do + not = don't 
  • Does + not = doesn't 
  • Did + not = didn't 
  • Was + not = wasn't 
  • Were + not = weren't 
  • Have + not = haven't 
  • Has + not = hasn't 
  • Had + not = hadn't 
  • Will + not = won't 

Separately, it is worth mentioning the use of a negative particle with model verbs, where an apostrophe will also be used. 

- possessive case 

The case of the English language, answering the question "whose?". Nouns in this case end in -‘s in the singular, and just an apostrophe in the plural (as a general rule). 

  • Cat's toy - cat' toys 
  • Richard's house 
  • Boys' books 

When forming the plural form of the possessive case not according to the general rule, -‘s is added to the word 

  • Children's assignment 
  • Men's business 

- a place 

Sometimes the -‘s construction can indicate a place, indirectly used in the possessive form 

  • Baker's 
  • Greengrocer's 
  • Butcher's 

- genitive form of words of Greek origin 

When using some Greek words or historical names, an apostrophe will be used to create the genetive case 

  • Xerxes' orders