قوانین علامت گذاری زبان انگلیسی برای Writing

A written message is much clearer when the sentences have appropriate punctuation. Punctuation provides structure to writing and so enables the writer to separate ideas and refine the information being presented. While there is some freedom to choose how to use punctuation, there are certain standard practices and all students need to be familiar with these. Below are common forms of punctuation that you should be able to use appropriately.

Capital (upper case) letter
  • A capital letter is always used to open a sentence.

  • Capital letters are also used within a sentence in a variety of ways:
    • people's names Teresa Smith
    • street names University Drive, Northbourne Avenue
    • days of the week Monday, Sunday
    • titles before a persons name Mr, Dr, Prime Minister
    • city/town names Canberra, Sydney, Queanbeyan
    • months of the year February, July. but not for the seasons (spring, summer)
    • nationalities Australian, Vietnamese
    • country names Australia, China
    • public holidays Labour Day
    • specific groups of people Inuits, Europeans
    • state/province names Queensland, Yunnan
    • religious festivals Christmas, Ramadan
    • religions Islam, Christianity
    • specific building names the Australian War Memorial, the Empire State Building
    • public events Tour de France, Olympic Games
    • languages Tamil, Spanish
Full stop (.)
  • A full stop is mostly used to:
    • signal the end of a standard sentence (Today is the last day to submit assignments.)
    • separate the parts of a web address (
    • show that a word has been abbreviated (not always, so confirm that you need it)
    • indicate decimals (2.1), section numbering (Section 3.4) and time. (7.08).

A sentence contains one main idea or thought. Help in determining whether you have written a sentence can come from reading your work aloud and listening for the idea you are writing about. The number of words in a sentence varies. A short sentence with one idea is much less confusing to the reader, and probably also to you as a writer, than a long sentence that contains a number of poorly connected ideas.

Comma (,)

The comma is the most frequently used type of punctuation used within a sentence. It indicates a short pause and so helps make the meaning clearer to the reader. It is essential that you use commas in your writing. Below are examples of the most common ways to use the comma.

Comma Use
  • To separate adjectives or adverbs that are being used next to each other in a sentence. Note: Often, but not always, there is no comma between the last adjective and the noun it is describing.
    • Examples:
    • The large, wet, brown paper parcel was abandoned on the path.
    • Thomas gave a slow, clear and concise speech in the debate.
    • Red, white and blue, and green, orange and white are common combinations of colour in national flags.

  • To add meaning, elaborate, or somehow interrupt the main topic or idea of the sentence.
    • Examples:
    • The author, who realised the data was sensitive, did not provide any details regarding his sources.
    • It was Friday already so the students, looking forward to a break, were working hard to complete their exercise today.

  • To separate out a word or phrase that is not part of the main idea but merely introduces the sentence. Usually it is a word that helps connect the sentence to the preceding and/or following sentences (a transition word/phrase).
    • Examples:
    • However, the child in the blue coat was not willing to speak with anyone about the accident.
    • Finally, there was the owners explanation of who had been painting his house when the fire started.

  • To separate the main clause and a dependent or subordinate clause in a sentence when the dependent or subordinate clause comes first. Note:
    • Examples:
    • Although punctuation can be hard to apply, it has an essential function in communication.
    • Punctuation has an essental function in communication although it can be hard to apply.

  • To prevent ambiguity or misreading
    • Example:
    • To the young, chicken blood soup sounds exotic.

  • Before a conjunction: ie the for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so
    • Example:
    • It is easy to learn grammar rules, but it is much harder to apply them.
Semicolon (;)
  • A semicolon is useful for providing a pause that is stronger than the comma and weaker than the full stop. For example, when two ideas are so closely related you do not want to use two separate sentences, use a semicolon instead of a full stop.
    • Example:
    • They concluded their discussions late last night; further negotiations will have to be conducted by email.

  • A semicolon is also useful to separate items in a list that already has commas in use.
    • Example:
    • We bought several samples to add to our collection: a garnet from Mexico; a shiny, silver-coloured mineral called galena; and two large quartz crystals.
Colon (:)
  • A colon is used at the end of a clause that introduces a list, especially when the following or as follows is used.
      • Examples:
      • There are many different types of marsupials found in Australia: kangaroos, wallabies, numbats and so on.
      • The children should line up as follows: Jane, Tom, May, Paul, Maria and Sandy.
    • A colon is also used to introduce a summary or an explanation.
Apostrophe ('s)
  • An apostrophe is used in formal writing to indicate possession. That is, the noun that owns the item has an apostrophe added to the end of it.
    • Examples:
    • The boy's shoe was left by the side of the road.
    • The accident was reported on the front page of Saturday's newspaper.

  • For plural nouns that end in s the apostrophe comes at the end of the word.
    • Examples:
    • The nurses' pay increases have also had an impact on healthcare industry finances.
    • The flowering plants bright red petals seem to be particularly attractive to honey eaters.
  • Apostrophes can also be used in contractions such as it's (=it is) and don't (= do not), you should not use contractions in academic and professional writing.
Question mark (?)
  • The question mark signals the end of a question.
    • Example:
    • Why did he come to town?

  • If you have a question inside a sentence, then the question mark is treated as a comma and no capital letter follows.
    • Example:
    • The man with the new umbrella asked, "When is it going to rain?" but the man who had neither a coat nor an umbrella kept quiet.

  • Be sure to use a question mark only for direct questions. There is no question mark used when the question is indirect such as in:
    • Example:
    • The child asked when she could use the computer.
Exclamation mark (!)
  • The exclamation mark signals the end of an expression that is filled with emotion such as pain, sorrow or surprise. It is rare in academic writing.
    • Example:
    • Watch out for the car! I passed my exam!
Quotation punctuation
  • Use exactly the same punctuation as in the original text when you are quoting.
    • Example:
    • "I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it." (Pablo Picasso)

  • If you add something to the original text, use square brackets to identify what is added.
    • Example:
    • "How do psychological scientists grapple with this problem [of confounds]?" (Sternberg, Roediger & Halpern, 2007, p.137)

  • If you omit something from a quotation, use an ellipsis (three dots with a space on either side) to identify that something has been omitted.
    • Example:
    • Fur traders carrying disease and trade goods unintentionally contributed to the decline of ... indigenous religious belief. (Cook, 1995, p. 6.)

  • In each case be sure that you do not change the original meaning of the quoted text.

Quotation marks ( " ... " )
  • All quotations taken from texts must have quotation marks around them. The words quoted must be exactly as they appear in the original.
    • Example:
    • "A paragraph is coherent if all sentences are related to one another." (Flick, Millwood, 1999, p. 339)

  • Long quotations may be indented and placed in a contrasting font:
    • Example:
    • Our punctuation system has evolved in tandem wiht the traditions of writing and printing. Elements of modern punctuation made their appearance in England in the seventeenth century, but it was only towards the end of the eighteenth that their use was formalised into a system. (Peters, 1995, p. 621)
Parentheses (brackets)
  • Use parentheses, more commonly referred to as brackets, to separate out information. Frequently this is non-essential information, so brackets should be used sparingly.
    • Example:
    • The afternoon sun came through the window (which faced west).
Dash ( - )
  • Use a dash only occasionally in academic writing. Properly used, the dash adds variety and informality to writing but it is not a substitute for clear thinking or accurate information.
    • Example:
    • We were asked - actually told - to take our food with us.