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Why do we need punctuation?

Punctuation marks are essential when you are writing. They show the reader where sentences start and finish and if they are used properly they make your writing easy to understand. This section gives practical guidance on how to use commas, semicolons, and other types of punctuation correctly, so that your writing will always be clear and effective.

You may find some aspects of punctuation harder to grasp than others (for example, when to use a semicolon or a colon). If so, just click on the relevant heading in the list to the left. There are also handy sections with advice on using punctuation when writing direct speech, lists, or abbreviations.

Types of punctuation

You can read more rules and guidelines about punctuation on the Oxford Dictionaries blog. Here you will find further information and examples of correct and incorrect use of punctuation.


See also

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Grammar and usage