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English definition of “punctuation”

punctuation

noun [U]     /ˌpʌŋk.tjuˈeɪ.ʃən/
B1 (the use of) special symbols that you add to writing to separate phrases and sentences , to show that something is a question , etc.: His letter was completely without punctuation.Punctuation Grammar:PunctuationThe most common punctuation marks in English are: capital letters and full stops, question marks, commas, colons and semi-colons, exclamation marks and quotation marks.Grammar:Punctuation: capital letters (B, D) and full stops (.)We use capital letters to mark the beginning of a sentence and we use full stops to mark the end of a sentence:Grammar:Punctuation: question marks (?) and exclamation marks (!)We use question marks to make clear that what is said is a question. When we use a question mark, we do not use a full stop:Grammar:Punctuation: commas (,)We use commas to separate a list of similar words or phrases:Grammar:Punctuation: colons (:) and semi-colons (;)We use colons to introduce lists:Grammar:Punctuation: quotation marks (‘…’ or “…”)Quotation marks in English are ‘…’ or “…”. In direct speech, we enclose what is said within a pair of single or double quotation marks, although single quotation marks are becoming more common. Direct speech begins with a capital letter and can be preceded by a comma or a colon:Grammar:Punctuation: dashes ( – ) and other punctuation marksDashes are more common in informal writing. They can be used in similar ways to commas or semi-colons. Both single and multiple dashes may be used:Grammar:Punctuation: numerals and punctuationIn British English the date is usually given in the order day, month, year.Grammar:Saying email and internet addressesGrammar:Symbols and typographic conventions
(Definition of punctuation noun from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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