Follow us @chooseenglish Connect with your favourite social network.
Best viewed using the Google Chrome browser

Punctuation

The exclamation mark, the question mark and period are all ends of sentences and have clear and different purposes.

The period or full stop for the British.

A period ends a sentence. That seems simple enough, but it is not that simple as many students write without putting the period in the correct place.
 
Another thing about the period you have to remember is that a capital letter always comes after it.
 
A period ends a sentence, which means it ends a complete idea.
 
Whatever comes after the period is already a new idea and of course one idea flows to the next, building on the previous idea.
 
But for good English we do not have rambling sentences containing many ideas. We separate our ideas up into shorter sentences and ending each idea or sentence with a period.
 
Independent clauses
 
Another thing to remember about the period is that once you have a sentence with a complete independent clause and you do not have another independent clause with a conjunction, and, but, so, or, or a semi-colon that means your sentence is finished.
 
Run-on sentence
 
If you have two independent clauses in a sentence and you do not have the conjunction, you do not have the semi-colon, means you have a run-on sentence.
 
A run-on sentence is a sentence that has two subjects, two verbs, no spacing, no conjunction, no period.
  • Laura and Sarah went shopping at the mall with Simon and Peter they bought new clothes.
Does this sentence seem okay to you? If it does, there is a problem.The sentence has two separate ideas and therefore two separate sentences.
 
A simple way to divide the two ideas is to separate them with a comma and add a conjunction.
  • Laura and Sarah went shopping at the mall with Simon and Peter, and they bought new clothes.
However we are talking about two completely separate ideas and we need to separate them into two sentences.
  • Laura and Sarah went shopping at the mall with Simon and Peter.They bought new clothes.
Remember we do not hear punctuation in speaking only in writing so every time you write, check your sentences.
 
If you have two independent clauses without a period between them or two combinations of subject and verb without a period or semi-colon between them or even a conjunction between them then you have a run-on sentence.
  • As a result, the police evacuated the tenants of the building they thought this would be safer.
  • As a result, the police evacuated the tenants of the building. They thought this would be safer.
  • As a result, the police evacuated the tenants of the building; they thought this would be safer.
  • As a result, the police evacuated the tenants of the building because thought this would be safer.

Question mark

The thing about a question mark is that it makes sure there is a question.
 
When you hear a question the tone of the end of the sentence rises emphasizing that it is a question. However in writing we need to show the reader this is a question so we use the question mark.
  • What happened last night?
Which is not the same as a statement even though it is a what, when, where statement.
  • What happened last night should not have happened.
So be careful and make sure that you understand even if it looks like question you need to make sure there is actually a question there.
 
You can easily identify and question because the subject and verb will be inverted.
  • Are you coming?

The verb comes before the subject and there is going to be a question.

  • Are you coming to the party at Simon’s house, it will be fun.
  • Are you coming to the party at Simon’s house? It will be fun.
If I am speaking maybe you may not hear the rising tone (stress) and therefore miss that it is a question.
  • Are you coming to the party at Simon’s house it will be fun.
This sentence is what we call a run-on sentence there is a question but the sentence is pretty much finished, two separate ideas each with its own punctuation.
  • What happened last night?
  • What happened last night should have not happened.

Exclamation mark

Exclamation mark shows emotion like can be shock, anger or surprise.
  • Stop!
We use exclamation mark because it is a very strong expression and sometimes we can use an exclamation mark with a question mark.
  • Why are you doing this to me!?
We are showing we are a little bit angry or a little bit upset but we are also asking you a question.
 
The thing about the exclamation mark is that you should rarely use it.
 
Many native and non-native English users like to use an exclamation mark.
 
They think every time they are making a strong sentence hey need to show that it is a strong sentence but in reality they do not.
 
If you write a direct and clear sentence hat is enough, you can use an exclamation mark but make sure that it is really necessary in that situation.
 
Some novelists and creative writers who have to show emotion in their writing rarely use exclamation marks.
 
If you do not use them very often when you do use one it is has much more power.
 
In academic writing there is no reason to use exclamation marks as you are not supposed to be showing emotion in academic writing unlike creative writing that is full of emotion you can use it but not very often.
  • Wow!

 

Leave a Comment