Actions

::Punctuation

::concepts

Marks::point    English::title    Language::first    Century::comma    Location::question    Texts::which

{{#invoke:Hatnote|hatnote}} {{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||$N=Use dmy dates |date=__DATE__ |$B= }}

{{#invoke:Infobox|infobox}} 'Punctuation is "the use of spacing, conventional signs, and certain typographical devices as aids to the understanding and correct reading, both silently and aloud, of handwritten and printed texts."<ref>Encyclopaedia Britannica: "Punctuation.</ref> Another description is: "The practice, action, or system of inserting points or other small marks into texts, in order to aid interpretation; division of text into sentences, clauses, etc., by means of such marks."<ref>Oxford English Dictionary, definition 2a. </ref>

In written English, punctuation is vital to disambiguate the meaning of sentences. For example: "woman, without her man, is nothing" (emphasizing the importance of men), and "woman: without her, man is nothing" (emphasizing the importance of women) have very different meanings; as do "eats shoots and leaves" (which means the subject consumes plant growths) and "eats, shoots, and leaves" (which means the subject eats first, then fires a weapon, and then leaves the scene).<ref name=Truss>Truss, Lynne (2003). Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation. Profile Books. ISBN 1-86197-612-7.</ref> The sharp differences in meaning are produced by the simple differences in punctuation within the example pairs, especially the latter.

The rules of punctuation vary with language, location, register and time and are constantly evolving. Certain aspects of punctuation are stylistic and are thus the author's (or editor's) choice. Tachygraphic language forms, such as those used in online chat and text messages, may have wildly different rules. For English usage, see the articles on specific punctuation marks.


Punctuation sections
Intro  History  Punctuation of English  Other languages  Novel punctuation marks  See also  References  Further reading   External links   

PREVIOUS: IntroNEXT: History
<<>>