A Quick Review of Basic Punctuation Rules
By Professor Amy Rofail
This information was extracted from Help Yourself: A Guide to Writing and Rewriting, Mattson, Leshing, & Levi, 3rd Edition. Englewood Cliff: Prentice Hall, 1993. (out of print). The information contained herein is consistent with all major style guides for Standard American English Language usage.
Punctuation Cheat Sheet
The Period [.]
Rules: 1. Use a period at the end of each declarative and imperative sentence. 2. Use periods with certain abbreviations.
Ending declarative and imperative sentences Examples: • The earth is not quite round. • He came to the rehearsal carrying his cello on his back.
Imperative sentences express a command or request and ends with a period unless it is said with urgency. Examples: • Get me a hot dog. • Take the tools outside.
Use in some abbreviations. Examples: • B.A. Bachelor of Arts • Etc. Et cetera
The Question Mark [?]
Rule: Use a question mark at the end of a question.
Examples: • Who invented the electric ice cream freezer? • Is the cellist’s bow broken?
The Exclamation Mark (Exclamation Point) [!]
Rule: Use an exclamation mark at the end of an exclamatory expression.
Examples: • I hate him! • Run for your life!
The Apostrophe [’]
Rules: 1. Use an apostrophe to show omission. 2. Use an apostrophe to show possession.
Showing Omission Examples: • I + am = I’m • They + are = they’re • Are + not = aren’t • Over = o’er (more artistic form in poetry and lyrics) • The 1990s = the ‘90s
Showing Possession Examples: Adding ’s • The fender of the car = the car’s fender • The hobby of the boy = the boy’s hobby
Adding ’ to a word ending in s or z