The Importance of Punctuation in Writing an Essay.

  • Avatarby David Ray
  • Sep 14, 2018
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Why Punctuation is Important in Essay Writing?

The students don’t often use or ignore the punctuation marks as they don’t really understand the importance of punctuation while writing their essays or other written tasks. While writing, they mainly concentrate on the other parts of writing like organizing their Ideas, vocabulary, and sentence fluency, ignoring the other important aspect knows as Conventions as they have to finish lots of coursework in a short span of time. But in order to write an excellent assignment they should first understand the importance of Punctuation and after that, use it where required.

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Using Punctuation marks gives proper meaning to your sentences and also helps the reader to understand properly what the writer exactly wants to convey with those sentences.

It is important in academic writing that it must be perfect to be considered worth giving marks by the tutor. However, the students can score good grades if they focus on the Punctuations too. Most of the time they write a good content and ignore the punctuation after that think they didn’t score expected marks after providing a good work. I would like to tell you all that if you want to score really what you expect to use and understand the importance of Punctuation, where required.

Let me explain to you what are the different Punctuations present in English Grammar. It will help you all to understand why and where they are used so that you can use it properly in your work.

Types of Punctuation Marks

There are 14 commonly used Punctuation marks in English grammar. They are as follows:

1. Full Stop or Period ( . )

A full stop is placed at the end of the statement, declarative sentences and after the abbreviations.


2. Question Mark ( ? )

A question mark should be used at the end of the sentence when a direct question has been asked.


When are you getting married?

Note: You don’t use a question mark at the end of a question in reported speech:

For Example, He asked if I had seen her yesterday.

3. Exclamation Mark ( ! )

The main use of the exclamation mark is to end sentences that express an exclamation, direct speech that represents something shouted or spoken very loudly or something that amuses the writer. An exclamation mark can also be used in brackets(!) after a statement to show that the writer finds it funny or ironic.


  • As an Exclamation – Hello! How are you?
  • As a Shout- ‘Storm is coming!’ Jon Snow yelled.
  • As an Amusement – Included on the list of banned beverages was ‘aerated drinks’!

4. Comma ( , )

A comma proves a slight break between different parts of a sentence. Commas make the meaning of sentences clearer by grouping and separating words, phrases, and clauses. There are many scenarios when you should use a Comma and are as follows:


  • In a List – I would like to buy groceries, a belt, shoe cleaner and some batteries.
  • In a Direct Speech – He replied, ‘Not today.’
  • To separate clauses – I first met her in London, where I used to live before coming here.

5. Semicolon ( ; )

The main use of the semicolon is to mark a break in the sentence that is stronger than a comma but not as final as a full stop. It is used between two main clauses that balance each other and are closely related or linked with each other that can be written in one sentence only, without writing two separate sentences.


The road runs through a beautiful valley; the railway line follows it.

6. Colon ( : )

A colon is used after a word introducing a quotation, an explanation, an example, or a series or between independent clauses when the second explains the first or to emphasise something.


  • He is going to visit four cities: London, Liverpool, Manchester and Bristol.
  • I didn’t meet him: I was already late.
  • There was one thing she loved more than any other: her dog.

7. Dash and Hyphen ( – )

Dash and Hyphen are often confused with each other due to their appearance.

Dash: Is used to separate words into statements. There are two common types of dashes: en dash and em dash.

  • En dash: It’s slightly wider than a hyphen in appearance and is displayed through a symbol (-) that is used in writing or printing to indicate a range or connections and differentiation.


He has studied there for 1990-1995.

  • Em dash: It’s twice as long as the en dash, the em dash can be used in place of a comma, parenthesis, or colon to enhance readability or emphasize the conclusion of a sentence.


He gave her his answer – Yes!

Hyphen: Is used to join two or more words together into a compound term and is not separated by spaces.


He does that as a part-time.

8. Brackets or Parentheses (), Braces {} and  Square Brackets []

Brackets, braces and parentheses are symbols used to contain words that are a further explanation or are considered a group.


  • David and Daisy (who were actually half brother and sister) both have Ferrari.
  • Solve the following: 2{1+[23-3]}=x
  • His father [Mr. Smith] was the last person visited her.

9. Apostrophes ( ‘ ), Quotation Marks ( ” ” ) and Ellipses ( … )

The last three punctuation in English grammar are the apostrophe, quotation marks and ellipsis.

Apostrophe: Is used to indicate the omission of a letter or letters from a word, the possessive case, or the plurals of lowercase letters.


  • The omission of letters from a word – I’ve seen that movie several times.
  • Possessive case –  Maria’s dog bit the guest.
  • Plural for lowercase letters – Six people were told to mind their p’s and q’s.

Quotation Marks: Are a pair of punctuation marks used primarily to mark the beginning and end of a passage attributed to another and repeated word for word. They are also used to indicate meanings and to indicate the unusual or dubious status of a word.


“Don’t go outside,” she said.

Ellipsis: Is most commonly represented by three dots or periods (. . . ) or occasionally demonstrated with three asterisks (***). The ellipsis is used in writing or printing to indicate an omission, especially of letters or words. Ellipses are frequently used within quotations to jump from one phrase to another, omitting unnecessary words that do not interfere with the meaning. Students writing research papers or newspapers quoting parts of speeches will often employ ellipsis to avoid copying lengthy text that is not needed.


  • The omission of words – Jack began to count, “One, two, three, four…” until he got to 100, then went to sleep.
  • Within a quotation – “Smile, because it confuses people. Smile, because it’s easier than explaining what is killing you inside,” Joker said.

Once you understand the use of all the above Punctuation marks, it will be easier to use them while writing your assignments. It will help you to convey what exactly you want to tell your reader about the topic.

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David Ray
Nkunzwenmana Valens / March 2, 2020

A very good content dear friend. I’m Valens, Rwandan English teacher in secondary school.


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