Outcome: Punctuation

Explain common punctuation marks and the rules for their correct usage

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

Click here to download a transcript for this video

As you’ve just heard, punctuation saturates our language. Punctuation guides readers through sentences, passages, and books; it lets them know which words and ideas are related (as well as how close that relationship is). The rules of punctuation can seem daunting, but just remember that punctuation is here to help.

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.

What You Will Learn to Do

  • Explain the role of end punctuation: periods, question marks, exclamation points
  • Explain the role of commas
  • Explain the role of semicolons
  • Explain the role of colons
  • Explain the role of hyphens and dashes
  • Explain the role of apostrophes
  • Explain the role of quotation marks
  • Explain the role of brackets
  • Explain the role of ellipses
  • Explain the role of parentheses