||PUNCTUATION is the art
of using correctly the various stops and marks in
writing. The correct use of these stops and marks
helps the reader to understand the passage exactly
as it was meant by the writer. But the wrong use of
these either changes the very sense (ff) of the passage
| makes it quite meaningless ;as,
1. “The patient,” said
the doctor, “has gone mad."
The patient said, “The doctor has gone mad.”
3. “The patient said,”
the doctor has, “gone mad.” `
You can see that the first sentence given above means
one thing; the second, quite another' and the third,
nothing at all. And it is all due to their Punctuation.
THE PRINCIPAL MARKS OF PUNCTUATION
The following are the principal marks of Punctuation
Let us deal with the use of each in turn.
|1. The Full-Stop (.)
||2. The Mark if lnterrogation (?)
|3. The Mark of Exciamation (!)
||4. The Comma (,)
|5. The Semi-Colon (;)
||6. The Colon (: )
|7. The Hyphen (-)
||8. The Apostrophe (‘)
|9. The Dash (_)
||10. The Inverted Commas (“ ")
(a) It indicates the close of an Assertive or an Imperative
1. lt is very cold today
2. Keep indoors.
(b) lt is also used
after initials and abbreviation; as,
1. M.P.A. --- Member of the Provincial
2. M.N.A. ---- Member
of the National Assembly '
3. Mr. M.B.
Hashmi ---- Mister Muhammad Bashir Hashmi.
4. M.A. ---- Master of Arts.
The Mark of Interrogation.
(a) It is placed at the end of an lnterrogative
1. How old are you ? 2.
Where are you coming from ?
(b) lt is
also placed in the Direct form of Speech, after asking
a question ; as,
“How far is the
post office from here?" asked the stranger.
Remember that it is neither used after
a polite request nor after a question asked in an
indirect manner; as,
you please lend me your camera.
He enquired of me what the time by my watch was.
The Mark of Exclamation.
(a) lt comes after words, phrases or sentences expressing
a wish or some sudden
feeling of joy, grief or surprise; as,
May you live long! 2. How beautiful
the rose is !
3. Alas! He has
been undone . 4. What a delight !
5. ' Hurrah ! We have won the match.
Nonsense! Don’t waste your time,
(b) lt is also used after an Emphatic
Nominative of Address; as,
O King ! Pardon me. (Or) Pardon me, O King !
It indicates the shortest pause in a sentence and
is chiefly used :-
(i) To separate several
words of the same Part of Speech in a sentence; as,
1. Asaf, Arif and lftikhar are real brothers.
2. Eat, drink and be Merry.
3. We require honest, intelligent, obedient and healthy
(ii) To separate pairs
of words of the same class; as,
We treated a like rich and poor, young and old, men
and women, high and low, weak and strong.
(iii) Before and after a word in the Vocative
1. Here is your book, father.
2. Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears.
(iv) Between words and phrases in Apposition;
Quaid-i-Awam Z.A. Bhutto, Prime Minister of Pakistan,
is a man of parts.
(v) After Absolute
Constructions and the Participle Phrases; as,
1. The sun having set, the moon appeared.
2. Having taken her meal, she set to work.
(vi) Before and afterwards or phrases like
“well,” “all the same,” “of
course,” “however,” “at last,”
“on the whole,” “indeed” and
“therefore,” when used independently in
a sentence; as,
1. Well. I know it.
2. The result, on the whole, is not bad.
(vii) To separate a Direct Speech from the
Reporting Verb; as,
He said to us, “Life is not a bed of roses.”
(viii) To mark off words, phrases, Clauses and parenthetic
expressions inserted in a sentence; as,
His condition, to tell you the truth, is very pitiable.
(ix) To mark off words like “yes,”
no” “well,” etc.; as,
1. No, he is not here. 2, Yes, he is.
To indicate the omission of a word or words in a sentence;
To err is human ; to forgive, (is)divine.
(xi) To separate the date of the month from the year;
A Jammu-bound indian plane landed at Lahore on January
(xii) To separate the Co-ordinate Clauses expressed
at full length; as,
1. Life is short, time is fleeting.
2. I went to see him, but he was not at home.
(xiii) To separate always, or almost
always, an Adverb Clause from the Principal Clause;
Naseem will succeed, because she works hard.
But the Comma is not used when the Adverb Clause is
either too short or is very closely connected with
the Principal Clause; as,
She helped you more than (she helped) me.
Think before you speak.
separate Noun Clauses from one another; as,
Nobody knows who he is, where he lives and what he
Remember that a Noun Clause is not, usually, separated
by a Comma from the Principal Clause; as,
Nobody Knows where he has gone.
lt indicates a pause
longer than that of the Comma, and is used :-
(i) To separate closely connected clauses
from one another ;as,
Honesty of purpose has many advantages over deceit;
it is the safer way of dealing with men; it is an
easier way of despatching business; it inspires men
with greater confidence
(ii) To separate
the clauses of a Compound Sentence, when they contain
He was a brave, young man; and we respected him.
a still longer pause than the Semi-Colon. It is used
at the writer’s discretion if he thinks that
the pause is not sufficiently marked off by a Semi-Colon.
But no fixed rules can be given on this point.
Note that it is often used with a “dash”
after it :-
(i) To introduce a quotation; as,
The Holy Quran says: “The believers are but
a single brotherhood."
Before enumeration examples, etc.; as,
The principal parts of a sentence in English, are:
the Subject and the Predicate.
(iii) Between V sentences grammatically independent
but closely connected in sense; as,
Man proposes : God disposes.
It is used to connect the parts of a Compound word;
1. Maid-servant. 2. Twenty-eight. 3. Brother-in-law.
It is also used to connect the parts of a
word divided at the end of a line; as,
1. Bright-en. 2. Laugh-ed. 3. Writ-ten. 4. Need-ed.
It is used :-
(i) To denote the Possessive
Case of Nouns; as,
Aslam’s pen was stolen by his uncIe`s servant.
(ii) To show the omission of a letter
or letters; as,
1. Don’t=do not. 2. I‘ve= I have.
(iii) To form the Plurals of letters and figures;
1. Dot your i’s and cross you t’s.
2. Add three 5’s to six 9’s.
It is used :-
(i) To indicate an abrupt
stop or change of thought in a sentence; as,
If only I had not done this _but why cry over spilt
(ii) To mark off the parentheses or words used in
explanation or in an explanatory and emphatic manner;
There shall come a time --- a blessed time --- when
Kashmir will become a part of Pakistan.
To resume a scattered subject; as,
Rich and poor, high and low, old and young---all fought
Sometimes, Brackets are used
instead of “Dash” to mark off
a parenthetical sentence (i.e. a sentence which is
not grammatically a part of the passage into which
it is inserted); as, _
He gained from Heaven (It was all he wished) a friend.
The Inverted Commas.
These are used to enclose the exact words of a speaker
or a quotation; as,
“Do not kill women and
children, and also spare the old and the aged”
was the order of Hazrat Muhammad (s.a.w)
that a quotation within a quotation is marked by single
lnverted Commas; as,
The counsel replied, “What I mean to say is
that ‘I have killed the man’ was not said
by my client."