Punctuations and Capitals


      4.   Punctuations and Capitals                                                                                               

4.1      List of Important Punctuation Marks

4.2      Rules Regarding Usages

4.3      Use of Capital Letters

4. Punctuation and Capitals

Punctuation marks have a great importance in every language. Punctuation marks make the meaning and sense of the writer clear and precise. Wrong punctuation marks can distort the meaning and cause confusion in the mind of the reader. Sometimes they can completely change the entire meaning.

4.1 List of Important Punctuation Marks:

1. Full stop (.)

2. Comma (,)

3. Colon (:)

4. Semicolon (;)

5. Mark of interrogation (?)

6. Mark of exclamation (!)

7. Dash (-)

8. Parenthesis brackets ( )

9. Inverted commas or quotation marks “ ’’

10. Hyphen (-)

11 Apostrophe (‘)

4.2 Rules Regarding Usages:

Rules of full stop(.) 

Rule 1: It is used at the end of every complete assertive or imperative sentence. It is not used at the end of interrogative or exclamatory sentences.

Rule 2: A full stop is also used after every letter of an abbreviation.

Example: M.L.A; M.P.; D.S.O; S.T. Lamba

Full stops are also used in such shortened expressions as

Etc., e.g., i.e., Ibid., op. cit.

Rules of Comma (,) 

Rule 1:  To separate a series of the same part of speech from each other. Before the last word in the series conjunction and is added and before the  and a comma may or may not be used.

Example: A student should be sincere, devoted, industrious and well behaved.

Rule 2:  To separate pairs of words used in the same series

Example: They sell here books and magazines, note-books and diaries, greetings cards and picture-books.

Rule 3: To separate two or more than two adverbs or adjectives phrases coming after each other.

Example: Then after cleaning for more than an hour, the floor seems shining.

Rule 4: To separate small co-ordinate clauses in a compound sentence.

Example: All that I am, all that I hope to be, I owe to my uncle.

Rule 5: To make a nominative of address or vocative subject.

Example: Sir, I can do this easily.

Rule 6: To separate a noun and its phrase in apposition. A comma is placed on both the sides of such nouns or phrases.

Example: Shakespeare, the great dramatist, was an English man.

Example: please bring my book when you come next time

Rule 7: On both the sides of some typical words, phrases or clauses used within a sentence.

Example: He, therefore, came down and talked to the stranger.

Rule 8: To separate an adverbial clause from the principal clause. But if the adverbial clause comes after the principal clause, no comma is used. 

Example: When you come next time, please bring my book. 

Rule 9: A comma is placed between the name of a person and his degrees or titles. If there are several degrees, a comma is placed after each degree.

Example: G.S. Santosh, M.B.B.S., M.D., FRCS

Rule 10: A comma is also used between a long subject and its verb.

Example: All that he said about the journey, was very much interesting. 

Rule 11: To separate direct quotation from the rest of the sentence.

Example: He said, “I am a dancer.”

Rules of colon (: or ;) 

After full stop the next complete pause is expressed by colon. The colon is written as (:) or (:-).

Rule 1: Before writing a quotation.

Example: The president said: “My countrymen, let us celebrate our Republic Day with all gaiety”.

Rule 2: Before drawing list of some articles or giving example.

Example: The seven days of one week are: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday,Friday, and Saturday.

Rule 3: Before grammatically independent but closely connected sentences.

Example: He can never see anything: he is an absolutely blind man.

(4) Rules of Semicolon (;)

Rule 1: Between the clauses of a compound sentence when these clauses can be converted into complete independent sentences.

Example: This is Ram’s house; though he does not live here.

Rule 2: To separate co-ordinate clauses in a compound sentence when they are connected by a conjunction, and when commas have also been used in them.

Rule 3: A semicolon is also used between the co-ordinate clauses of a compound sentence, which are not joined by any conjunction and which have their separate subjects.

Example: He came, he stayed with me, he dined with me; and yet he did not appear to be


(5) Mark of interrogation (?)

Mark of interrogation is used at the end of an interrogative sentence in the direct interrogative form.

Example: Where are you going?

(6) Mark of exclamation (!)

Mark of exclamation is used at the end of an exclamatory sentence, or after an interjection or any word or phrase suggestive of some sudden feeling.

Example: Alas! He was drowned.

(7) Rules of dash (-)

Rule 1: In case of sudden stoppage or change of thought or feeling.

Example: Most emotions may be grouped into two major groups- those that produce a feeling of pleasantness in the individual, and others that produce the feeling of unpleasantness.

Rule 2: To collect scattered or stray thoughts

Example: Clothes, furniture, stationeries –all were burned in the fire.

(8) Parenthesis   (brackets)

Parenthetic words, phrases and clauses are written within brackets. They keep the parenthesis separate from the main sentence. The parenthesis has no grammatical connection with the main sentence.

Example: He gained from heaven (it was all he wished) a friend.

(9) Inverted commas (“_____”)

Inverted commas are used to mark out the exact words of a speaker or a quotation. Double inverted commas are used at the beginning and end of a statement or a quotation using exact words. If there is a quotation within a quotation, the internal quotation is closed within single inverted commas, and the whole sentence or quotation within double inverted commas.

Example: He said, “I have consulted many famous doctors, but I have not been able to find

               the cause of my head ache”. 

(10) Hyphen (-)

The mark of hyphen is smaller than the dash, and it is used to make compound words.

Example: co-operative, mother-in-law, small-pox

It is also used to connect the first part of a word written at the end of a line, the second part of which is carried over to the beginning of the next line.

Example: Small-pox has been eradicated from our country.

(11) Rules of Apostrophe (‘)

Rule 1: Apostrophe is used to make a possessive case.

Example: Politician’s speech, Minister’s car, Boy’s hostel

Rule 2: Sometimes some words are shortened by dropping some letters from their spellings, and in place of those letters an apostrophe is used.

Example: She didn’t eat (i.e., did not)

Can’t - can not

Don’t – do not

Didn’t- did not

Aren’t-are not

Couldn’t-could not

Won’t-would not

Rule 3: To write O’ clock

Example: It is 7 O’ clock

Rule 4: To make plurals of letters and figures

Example: 3’s, 4’s

4.3 Use of Capital Letters

Rule 1: The first letter of the first word of a sentence is written with a capital letter.

Example: He is singing a song

Rule 2: Every new line of a poem begins with a capital letter.

Example: The woods are lovely dark and deep,

               But I have promises to keep.

               And miles to go before I sleep.

Rule 3: All proper nouns or adjectives formed by proper nouns begin with a capital letter. All surnames also begin with capital letters. If a name has two or more parts, all parts begin with capital letter.

Example: New Delhi, Kolkata, Dr.B.R. Ambedkar

Rule 4: Every letter of an abbreviation is capital.

Example: U.S.S.R., U.S.A, M.B.B.S., B.A

Rule 5: All nouns and pronouns used for God begin with capital letters.

Example: God; Lords; the Almighty

Rule 6: Pronoun I and interjection O are always written in capital form.

Example: This is the book I was searching for.

                O! For a beaker of vintage.