Punctuation is an important part of writing in English.

When we speak, some of the meaning comes from our intonation and pauses. This information is lost in writing, so we use punctuation marks instead. Using punctuation marks correctly helps people to understand what you mean.

The most common punctuation marks are below.

punctuation marks
Mark Name
. full stop
? question mark
! exclamation mark
, comma
; semi colon
: colon
' apostrophe
" " quotation marks

When you use a punctuation mark, you need to put a space after it. Don't use a space before the punctuation mark.

Full Stop

We use a full stop at the end of a sentence.

Learn more about using full stops.

Question Mark

We use a question mark at the end of a question.

Learn more about using question marks.

Exclamation Mark

We use an exclamation mark at the end of a sentence to show surprise or strong emotion.

Learn more about using exclamation marks.


Commas have a lot of uses in English. We use them to indicate a pause, to separate items in a list, with some conjunctions, and to set off non-essential clauses within a sentence.

Learn more about using commas.

Semi Colon

We use a semi colon to separate items in a list, and to join two independent clauses.

Learn more about using semi colons.


We use a colon to introduce a list or a quotation.

Learn more about using colons.


We use apostrophes in possessive nouns and contractions.

Learn more about possessive nouns.

Learn more about contractions.

Quotation Marks

We use quotation marks to show that the phrase was spoken by someone.

Learn more about using quotation marks.