About English Punctuation

Out of the many important elements of writing, punctuation may be the most essential. Punctuation helps direct us through written language with its system of symbols and the rules for using them. Correct usage of punctuation symbols like commas and periods, as well as spaces, capital letters and many other conventions, help the reader avoid confusion and understand more clearly what the writer has intended. Punctuation also affects the rhythm of how a sentence is read, as well as the actual meaning of the writing.

To really understand how important proper punctuation is, look at the following simple sentence:

I did it.

With the period at the end, it is a basic statement of fact. If we change the period to an exclamation point - I did it! - there is a distinct sense of pride from accomplishing something. And with a question mark at the end -          I did it? - the writer expresses wonderment and disbelief in having done something.

These minute changes in punctuation alter the entire tone and meaning of the basic sentence. And these three punctuation marks - the period, exclamation point, and question mark - exemplify only a tiny part of the vast amount of power that lies in correct punctuation.

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