English Symbols: A List of Punctuation Marks and Uses

English requires you to have enough knowledge in using basic English Symbols. Alongside an effective conveyance of your main idea, this concept is essential in making a successful output.

A List of Basic English Symbols

gray typewriter showing colon and semi-colon key with other letters
Photo by Connor Pope on Unsplash

1. Period

A period is stricken when you want to end a sentence or a thought. Its purpose is simple when it comes to making a paragraph or long sentences. It shows ending and a beginning at the same time.

Although, if there’s no need to start a new sentence after a period, you don’t have to.

Make sure that when you put this at the end of a sentence, you have already completed its thought.

Suppose this section as a depiction of how to properly input a period.

2. Comma

A comma tells the reader that an introductory clause has ended, while the start of the main point has begun. Sometimes, it’s the other way around. It simply tells the reader about a sub-beginning or sub-ending within the sentence.

I want to go somewhere else, that’s why I went to the store.

However, the comma symbol can also appear when you’re trying to complement two clauses with one another. You can also put it after a clause or phrase that you want to put an emphasis with.

The President of the United States, the most powerful being on Earth, has arrived.

Or for clarity.

He woke up early, compared to yesterday, so he could go to the marathon on time.

3. Quotation Mark

Just as the name itself implies, the purpose of a quotation symbol is to indicate a statement made by a person.

The Judge said, “Let the convict serve his maximum sentence of 78 years without parole”.

Or to emphasize a certain term or proper noun.

The so-called “Thrilla in Manila” happened during a time when boxing was at its rise.

4. Colon

The purpose of a colon symbol is to provide emphasis to something.

He did not do anything that day, except for one thing: mourn.

To introduce a dialogue.

Meanwhile, they shouted: “For the poor!” as the riot police engaged them.

To enumerate.

My favorite food are as follows: chicken curry, rib eye steak, and beef shawarma.

Or clarify.

He named his book: “The Fall of Rising”.

Make sure to use uppercase for the first letter of the corresponding word after the colon.

5. Semi-Colon

The purpose of this symbol is to both indicate an end, but introduce continuity.

I will not run away from life’s misery; but I will make sure to succeed.

6. Question Mark

Its purpose is simple. This symbol shows an expression of inquiry.

Will you marry me?

7. Exclamation Mark

This symbol aims to relate with an extreme emotion which the author wishes to portray to the reader.

I saw the sign! It’s related to the end of time. Beware, oh unwary ones!

To Wrap Up

Now that you have read the examples on English symbols above, you finally learn new things about writing.

You now know what these basic symbols mean by reading the comprehensive list provided in this article. Make sure to take note of each example as a guide to your next writing endeavors.

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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