Introduction to Punctuation

Identify Common Punctuation Marks and Their Rules for Correct Usage

In this short skit, comedian Victor Borge illustrates just how prevalent punctuation is (or should be) in language.

As you’ve just heard, punctuation is everywhere. While it can be a struggle at first to learn the rules that come along with each mark, punctuation is here to help you: these marks were invented to guide readers through passages—to let them know how and where words relate to each other. When you learn the rules of punctuation, you equip yourself with an extensive toolset so you can better craft language to communicate the exact message you want.

a collection of different punctuation marks, including parentheses, brackets, an exclamation point, an apostrophe, quotation marks, and a period.

As we mentioned at the beginning of this module, different style guides have slightly different rules for grammar. This is especially true when it comes to punctuation. This outcome will cover the MLA rules for punctuation, but we’ll also make note of rules from other styles when they’re significantly different.