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Punctuation marks are signs such as periods, commas and question marks. You use them in sentences to make the meaning clear.
You put a period at the end of a sentence.
He drew a horse.
Albert is my good friend.
Please don’t be late.
The bird is sitting on a branch.
It’s snowing heavily today.
There’s a rainbow in the sky.
This big house belongs to a rich man.
I can swim.
Ethan is good at drawing.
They all enjoyed playing baseball.
Use a comma between nouns and noun phrases in a list.
I bought two apples, three oranges and some grapes.
He enjoys tennis, badminton, skating and football.
At school we study English, math, science, history and geography.
Use commas between adjectives when you use several of them to describe something.
A giraffe is a tall, long-necked, long-legged animal.
He is a tall, handsome, smart and ambitious young man.
Use a comma after yes and no, and before please in sentences. You also use a comma before or after the name of the person you are speaking to.
No, it has stopped.
Good morning, sir!
Can you tell me what time it is, please?
Yes, it’s a quarter past three, George.
Commas are used to show where there is a brief pause.
Unfortunately, she injured her knee skiing.
She was in the bedroom, listening to music on the radio.
An exclamation point is often used after a command, an interjection or a word that shows surprise or anger.
What a surprise!
You are fired!
I told you not to do that!
Put the knife down!
Eeek! A ghost!
Use a question mark after a question.
How are you?
What’s your name?
How many stamps do you have?
Where do they come from?
Who has taken my pen?
Can you lend me your bicycle?
Where are you going?
Why are you always late?
What’s the meaning of this word?
Do you know the answer to this problem?
Use an apostrophe with an s (’s) to show who owns something. The ’s is added after singular nouns or names.
This is Peter’s bed and that is Michael’s bed.
A squirrel’s tail is big and bushy.
We all like Mom’s cooking.
Amanda clears everybody’s plates after dinner.
John’s dog is very friendly.
All the pupils have a month’s vacation in June.
I spent the evening at David’s playing video games.
I took a ride in Tom’s car.
Father is holding Susie’s hand.
Jane is wearing her mother’s shoes.
We’re going to our aunt’s house.
There is a bird’s nest in that tree.
Our dog’s collar is brown.
Is this Portland’s tallest building?
Follow the same rule when a name or a singular noun ends in -s. Write an apostrophe first and then add another s.
The princess’s golden ball fell into a well.
A rhinoceros’s skin is very thick.
Dad is at his boss’s party.
For plural nouns that end in -s, put the apostrophe after the -s.
Birds’ beaks are all different shapes and sizes.
Miss Lee is marking her pupils’ work.
This is my parents’ wedding photo.
Dresses are upstairs in the ladies’ department.
Henry goes to a boys’ school.
Dr. Kim parked his car in the doctors’ parking lot.
My brothers’ bedrooms are always messy.
The girls’ bedrooms are usually tidy.
A flood has destroyed all the farmers’ crops.
Some plural nouns do not end in -s. Just add ’s to these plural nouns.
There are slides and swings and seesaws in the children’s playground.
The men’s changing room is occupied.
The bookstore sells newspapers, comics and women’s magazines.
Doctors look after people’s health.
You can also refer to a person’s office or shop by using a possessive form with an apostrophe.
I’ll buy some bread at the baker’s.
I was reading a book at the dentist’s.
It’s time you went to the barber’s.
You can also refer to your friends’ homes in the same way.
I’m going next door to Peter’s.
I stayed the night at Susan’s.
How do you make a possessive form of two people joined by and, such as Peter and John or Mary and Anne? Put ’s only after the second name.
Barbara and David’s house
Jill and Andy’s party
These possessive forms of names and nouns can be used without a following noun.
Which desk is Susan’s?
George’s is in the back row.
This room is my brother’s.
The apostrophe can also be used to show that one or more letters in a contraction have been left out.
I’ve finished my math, but I haven’t finished my spelling.
We’ll come to your party, but Sue won’t be able to come.
He’s gone to the library.
Dad wasn’t at home and the children weren’t at home either.
I don’t like potatoes and Susan doesn’t like tomatoes.
I didn’t watch which way I was going and I can’t find my way home.
We’re late because we couldn’t find your house.
Mom’s finished her shopping but she hasn’t gone through the checkout line yet.
Mary’d like a cat as a pet, but she wouldn’t like a turtle.
You are taller than Peter, but you aren’t as tall as I am.
The words has and is are often shortened to ’s after a noun or proper noun.
The mail has arrived.
The mail’s arrived.
Sally is here.
He hates cheese.
Who is your teacher?
Stop that man.
Good morning, madam.
George, are you okay?
Peter, David, and Susan are playing hide and seek.
Mom bought meat fish and vegetables at the supermarket.
What is the time now?
Anne is a pretty girl.
This is Peter’s bike.
Paul can’t find his shoes.
Miss Lee is marking the pupil’s papers.
They are all on the children’s playground.
Don’t make so much noise!
Doctors take care of people’s health.
They’re having a game of tennis.
Jack doesn’t look well.
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