Punctuation is key

What does ‘a range of punctuation’ mean?

Look at the following examples of punctuation and judge how well you can use each in your writing.

You probably know a great deal more than you think.

Punctuation Examples

Key skills:

  • You should be able to use capital letters to being sentences and full-stops, question marks or exclamation marks to show the end of a sentence.
  • All other punctuation has a specific use. You can revise all the punctuation you are not confident about using accurately – needed for the higher bands in AO6.

Which is which?

Look at the following text with highlighted punctuation. Identify which description of punctuation is relevant for each highlight. It is assumed that capital letters and full-stops are understood!

Using the drop down list select the correct description

Fifteen years ago , when I was only five years old my parents decided to move house over thirty miles away from my friends. Not long after my girlfriend s tears on the phone forced me to go back to where I felt I belonged not with my parents . How could I do that to my parents Well let s see bullied every day not allowed my own phone forced to complete homework every night no chance to go out what would you have done When you look at the way I was treated who would disagree Parents are meant to make your childhood happy children are meant to have happy childhood. Leaving all your friends behind is not part of the plan My parents choice led me to knock on gran s door. Just come in Michael. was all she said. I felt great already.

  • Commas in a list
  • Comma to end a clause within a sentence
  • Comma after a discourse marker
  • Comma after a fronted clause
  • Comma after a fronted adverbial
  • Apostrophe to show a missing letter
  • Apostrophe to show single ownership
  • Apostrophe to show plural ownership
  • Question marks to signify a question
  • Colon to start a list
  • Dash for extra emphasis
  • Semi-colon to merge two sentences
  • Inverted commas for direct speech
  • Exclamation mark for highlighting a dramatic point
  • Brackets for additional comments

Using Punctuation to Emphasise Meaning

In this exercise you are given a piece of narrative writing that has had all punctuation removed.

Work with a partner to discuss where punctuation should be added to make the text make complete sense for the reader.

You can check the answers later.

The following text is part of a creative narrative describing the scene after a powerful storm has hit a small town.

Select your changes and select a different colour to make your corrections stand out.

I don't know how we survived (if you can call it survived'). All we have left are the clothes we were wearing, a few children's toys and our gratitude. It doesn't take long to tear away everything from your past, to strip away the buildings that housed this family's possessions; it doesn't take long to lose your hope. Oh, don't get me wrong, we have our lives - that's true - but what about the future? She's playing with Marcie right now. However, Angie's face is not smiling as the game occupies her mind for a while. It's called ‘Hide from the Storm' and poor Marcie is being made to run and run as fast as her plastic-moulded body can manage! I wonder if Marcie will still be here in ten years' time? Will we? "Daddy, I'm hungry. When are we going to eat?" What do I tell her? "Don't worry, it's fine, we'll eat soon Angie." She seems happy with that, so lets get going, lets live for the children. So, what do we do now? Where do we go?