Basic Punctuation Rules Everyone Needs to Know 

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<strong>Basic Punctuation Rules Everyone Needs to Know </strong> December 18, 2023

Modern communication methods, like social media platforms and message apps, have allowed us to convey our message to others effortlessly. However, the advent of these apps has also changed our communication style. Now, most of us don’t pay any attention to the spelling or punctuation mistakes in our messages. The primary focus while chatting through these apps and platforms is on the message, not the grammar. 

However, this practice cannot be followed while writing a blog, Email or article.  You need to pay full attention to grammar and punctuation while writing such content to inspire your readers and encourage them to revisit your website. 

Similarly, while writing academic essays, you cannot even think of neglecting a minor mistake, as it can annoy your teachers and may affect your grades. Therefore, it is essential to learn about grammar rules to enhance your English writing abilities. Punctuation is one of the most integral parts of grammar. 

As a writer, you must have a strong grip on punctuation marks and familiarity with English punctuation rules to craft flawless text. 

In this blog post, we will shed light on basic punctuation rules that every writer must know. So, keep reading this article to learn the complete information.  

What are Punctuation Rules? 

Many people find it unimportant to learn the rules of punctuation and consider it only a waste of time. The primary question they have in their minds is, why should I pay attention to punctuation so much? Well, if you desire to impress your readers or inspire your teachers and get good marks, then your writing should be well punctuated. 

Familiarity with punctuation rules is essential in this regard. 

However, punctuation rules are a set of instructions that you must follow to make your sentences flawless.

Unfollowing these rules while writing will definitely affect the readability of your content and may transform the meaning of your text.   

Most Important English Punctuation Rules 

Punctuation is a vast term that has various rules and marks. In this blog, we will discuss the most common yet useful punctuation rules in English. So, let’s start without any further ado! 

Rule # 1: Insert a colon to introduce a list of items

There are plenty of ways to use a colon correctly, but to avoid any mistakes and use them appropriately, you need to follow two things: 

  • Add a complete sentence before the colon.
  • Add an item list following the colon. 


I am planning to go on a world tour, where I will visit the following three cities: London, New York, and Rome.

In the above example, “the following three cities” is used to introduce the list adequately.  

Rule # 2: Add A Semicolon to Separate Two Complete Sentences 

A semicolon is a punctuation mark used to create a pause that is longer than a comma but not as long as a period.

Many people often make mistakes when using a semicolon, especially when they want to join ideas. 

The following example will show you the incorrect use of semicolon:

We all visited different cities yesterday, and it was a good experience.

Here, you see that the sentence before the semicolon is complete, but the sentence after the semicolon is not. You can easily find out that there is a sentence fragment because it’s missing a subject.

The following example will show you the correct use of a semicolon:

We all visited different cities yesterday, and it was a good experience.

In this example, you can see that the semicolon is used correctly because the ideas both before and after the semicolon are complete sentences.

Now that you have learned how to use semicolons to join two ideas. Let’s move toward the next punctuation rule.  

Rule # 3: Never Make Words Plural by Adding an Apostrophe 

It has been found that many individuals try to make words plural by adding an apostrophe. This act makes their sentences incorrect. You need to understand that an apostrophe can never make your words plural, in any case. 

An apostrophe is mainly used to show possession of another noun or omission of a part of a word. Other than that, you cannot use an apostrophe for any other purpose. 

For instance, you can use an apostrophe for: 

  • Singular possessive noun (Sam’s Dog)
  • Singular possessive noun ending in -s (Miles’s car)
  • Plural possessive noun (my brothers’ home)
  • Contraction (can’t, don’t, shouldn’t)

If you use an apostrophe outside of these events, such as making a word plural, then it will be considered a grammatical mistake.  

Rule # 4: Never Join Two Complete Sentences with A Comma 

This mistake is performed by newbies and professional writers as well. Combining two complete sentences with a comma may result in a comma splice. 

The following example will help you learn about the incorrect method of using commas to join sentences:

I’m going to have dinner in a new restaurant tomorrow; I hope I will like the taste.

Here, you can easily see that these two sentences are related. You can’t directly add a comma to join them. Instead, you can use any of the methods mentioned below to combine these sentences. 

  • Combine two sentences with a semicolon:

I’m going to have dinner in a new restaurant tomorrow; I hope I will like the taste.

  • Combine two sentences with a period:

I’m going to have dinner in a new restaurant tomorrow. I hope I will like the taste.

  • Combine two sentences by adding a comma and a coordinating conjunction:

I’m thinking of having dinner in a new restaurant tomorrow, and I hope I will like the taste. 

Rule # 5: Mention a Direct Address With A Comma

To avoid any grammatical mistakes, It is imperative to learn that whenever you want to address someone, you must note them through the use of a comma. 

Here’s an example:

“Hello, sir. May I visit your office today?”

This punctuation rule seems like an easy one, but this can save you from making a grammar mistake. 

The missing punctuation mark (comma) can change the meaning of the sentence. 

Example sentence #1:

“Let’s eat, Father!”

Here, a family member is asking Father to eat with him. This sentence perfectly uses a comma when directly addressing Father.

Example sentence #2:

“Let’s eat Father!”

Here, the person seems so hungry that he’s suggesting they actually want to eat father.

These examples would have helped you learn how a missing comma can affect the meaning of a sentence. 

Rule # 6: All Punctuations Should Be Parallel 

This punctuation rule defines that when a main clause is interjected with a comma or a dash, it should be interjected with the same punctuation marks at the beginning and the end. Besides, it also defines that you cannot include a semicolon to differentiate just one item in a list. 

  • Incorrect: All the girls, boys from Our School-went to the playground.
  • Correct: All the girls, boys from Our School, went to the playground.
  • Incorrect: Sam has visited London, England, Rome, Italy, and Sydney, Australia.
  • Correct: Sam has visited London, England; Rome, Italy; and Sydney, Australia.

Rule # 7: Only Use One Exclamation Mark at a Time 

Many of you might have seen two exclamation marks to show excitement (such as !!). But, it is important to understand that this kind of notation is all right for texting. But, in formal writing, you should only use one exclamation mark at a time. 

Here are the examples:

  • Looking forward to meeting you soon! 
  • I hope to see you soon!
  • Never listen to him!

It is advised not to use exclamation marks altogether in academic writing. But, if you are crafting a story or discussing an argumentative statement that may need emphasis, try using only one exclamation mark. 

Rule # 8: End Punctuation Marks Belong Inside Quotation Marks 

Many writers often place the end punctuation mark inside the quotation marks when punctuating a quote. End punctuation marks may include exclamation points and periods.

Here are the examples:

He asked, “Who took the book from my table?”

“Don’t shout!” my brother said.

“You don’t have to meet him,” said Shaw.

Above, you can see that in the last example, where the statement’s period is replaced by a comma, it’s placed inside the quotation marks. The only situation where you can leave a question mark outside the quotation is if it’s part of the sentence, not the quote. 


Brad said, “I’m not coming”? 

Final Words: 

The information shared in this blog post would have helped you learn about the basic punctuation rules in English that every writer must be familiar with to craft engaging content. We hope that learning the important rules of punctuation rules will improve your writing skills and enable you to convey your ideas or information in a perfect manner.