A Detailed Overview of English Punctuation and usage:
Using Punctuation in English Language:
To me, this is the most important feature of any language. For it makes things look beautiful as well as meaningful for readers. Salient features of punctuation are discussed below:
The mark is used to show that either a complete list of things or a thought or quotation completing the idea or meaning is yet to be expressed in words after it. It means an introduction precedes a colon and a conclusive phrase, clause or list of things follows it. Examples are: Here are few of the tasks we need to perform:
a) Waking up early in the morning
b) Having light breakfast
c) Taking things easily.
He told us: Pakistani society is hypocritical or We went to Kashmir: a valley named as paradise. He is a weak student: hard work is necessary for him.
Semicolon " ; " It is used to combine two sentences or clauses which are interrelated either as to usage or meaning. Examples are:
He went to Marree for a week; it was a splendid period for him.
Pakistan has a huge army incompatible to its weak economy; India has a strong army with a relatively strong economy.
Comma: " , " It is used to separate more than two items in a given sentence. For example: He bought a cup of tea, a burger and a coke.
It is also used to explain a phrase or even a single word e.g. We went to Kashmir, a splendid valley, for one week. It may also be used for separating different phrases in a given sentence e.g. We went to Marree, bought a few items and came back to Rawalpindi.
Exclamation Mark " ! ": Generally, it is used to express emotions and feelings. For example, We have won the game! However, at time it is also used as a replacement of question mark in sentences like: You have again lost! It is used for ironical remarks as well. He won! (It shows opposite meaning here.)
Apostrophe " ' ": It is used in combination of a small s to denote possession e.g. Aslam's car, Amjad's mistake etc. Words ending on s or z do take apostrophe but s is excluded e.g. Suez, Nafees. In preceding examples only apostrophe has been used and proceeding s has been omitted intentionally.
Note: It is never used for giving possession to non living objects (usage will be incorrect) like wall's color, Bike's engine. The simple rule is that non living objects can't be given possession. Therefore, word of is used for such possessions e.g. color of wall and engine of bike.