Learn more with dummies

Enter your email to join our mailing list for FREE content right to your inbox. Easy!

By Geraldine Woods

Punctuation creates meaning by helping your reader understand where one thought ends and another begins, what’s quoted or possessed, when a list follows, and a host of other things. Use these grammar quick tips for correct punctuation:


  • To set apart the name of a person being addressed

  • To separate items in a list

  • After an introductory expression

  • To separate extra, nonessential statements from the rest of the sentence


  • To join two complete sentences without using and, but, and similar words

  • To separate items in a list when at least one item contains a comma


  • Following the Dear Sir or Madam line in a business letter

  • To introduce a long quotation or a list


  • To separate and emphasize an extra comment in a sentence

  • To show a range


  • To show possession (Hermans hermit, the girls gym class)

  • To substitute for missing numerals (’07)

  • To substitute for missing letters in contractions (isnt, whats, and hes)


  • To divide words or syllables at the end of a line

  • To link two words, creating one description (second-string quarterback)

  • To attach prefixes to capitalized words (anti-Communist)