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– Are marks used to clarify the structure and meaning of sentences.

They promote ease of reading and help avoid ambiguities. However,
the overuse of punctuations is as much an error as their underuse.
The test for the proper use of punctuations is whether it helps to
make the meaning of the sentence clear and to prevent misreading.

“ a sentence may be deprived of half of its force by the use of wrong

punctuations” – Edgar Allan Poe


1. Ampersand ---------------- (&)

2. Apostrophe ---------------- ( ‘ )
3. Brackets -------------------- ( [ ] )
4. Colon ------------------------ ( : )
5. Comma ----------------------( , )
6. Dash --------------------------( _ )
7. Ellipsis point --------------- ( ... )
8. Exclamation point -------- ( ! )
9. Hyphen ---------------------- ( - )
10.Parentheses ---------------- ( ( ) )
11.Period------------------------- ( . )
12.Question mark ------------- ( ? )
13.Quotation marks ---------- ( “ ’’ )
14.Semicolon ------------------- ( ; )
15.Slash -------------------------- ( / )

1.] AMPERSAND – is the name of the symbol “&,” meaning “and.” It is also
spelled “amperzand” and called “the short and.” It is a contraction of
“and per se and.”

1. The ampersand is used in the names of companies. (American
Telephone & Telegraph Co.)
2. The ampersand may be used in abbreviations in general
correspondence. (Please contact the S & L [Savings and Loans]
associations in your area).
3. The ampersand is also used in bibliographies, indexes, listings,
and documentation. (Blair & Robertson, 1920).


The ampersand should not be used in the names of government

agencies. (Securities and Exchange Commission, Department of
Trade and Industry).

Note: Do not use a comma before an ampersand. When an

ampersand is used between the last two elements in a series, the
comma is ommitted. (The law firm of Quaison, Makalintal, Barot,
Torres & Ibarra).

2.] APOSTROPHE – is a mark of punctuation and a spelling symbol. It is

formed either by using an apostrophe and “s” or an apostrophe alone.


1. To form the Possessive case – the apostrophe is used to form the

possessive (genetive) case of nouns and certain pronouns.

1.1 ) Use an apostrophe and “s” to form the possessive of

a. Nouns not ending in “s”. The nouns may be singular or plural

and of one or more syllables. ( men’s, women’s, town’s,
children’s, doctor’s).
b. One-syllable proper names ending in “s” or “s” sound. (Jones’s
truck, Marx’s teaching, Keats’s poems). However some
grammarians use the apostrophe alone for such proper names
(Charles’, Jules’).
c. Proper names with more than one syllable but ends in silent
“s” or “x.(Margaux’s books, Francois’s diamonds).
d. Indefinite pronouns. (anybody’s, someone’s, nobody’s).
e. Abbreviations. (C.O.D.’s transaction, C.B.’s deployment) .

1.2) Use an apostrophe to form the possessive of:

a. Proper names of more than one syllable with an unaccented

“eez” ending. (Jesus’ disciples, Ramses’ kingdom,
Demosthenes’ riches).
b. Singular nouns of more than on syllable ending in “s,’’ “z” or
othr hissing sound. (conscience’ sake, appearance’ sake).

Note: the use of just the apostrophe without the “s” avoids the
awkwardness of too many “s” sound.

c. Plural nouns ending in “s”. (horses’ corral, Justices’ court,

girls’ playmates). If an apostrophe and an “s” are added, the
resulting word would be hard to pronounce.

2. To form Plurals – use the apostrophe and “s” or just the apostrophe:

a. To form the plural words used as words and which have

become fixed expressions. (do’s and dont’s)
b. Use “s’ alone to form the plurals of abbreviations made up of
initial letters. (NGOs)
c. Use the apostrophe and “s” to form the plurals of letters,
words, symbols, sizes and abbreviations with periods:
1. Single letters. (dot your i’s and cross your t’s).
2. Words. (Do not use too many “and’s” in your pleadings).
3. Numerals. (His 3’s look like 5’s).
4. Symbols. (Use x’s in multiplication).
5. Size. (2 by 2’s, 4 by 4’s).
6. Abbreviations with periods. (Ph.D.’s).

2. To indicate Contractions – use the apostrophe to indicate

contractions or the omission of a letter or letters from words
(o’clock – of the clock, can’t – cannot, rock n’ roll – rock and roll) and
figure or figures from numerals (Class of ’50 – Class of 1950, Spirit of
’76 – Spirit of 1976). The letter or letters may be intentionally
omitted to reproduce a perceived pronunciation, like in dialectal
speech, or to give a highly informal flavor to the writing (‘bout time
– about time).

3. To Devise Words – use the apostrophe to devise or invent words

from certain abbreviations particularly those used in informal
writing (ass’n – association, ok’d – okayed, sec’y -secretary).

4. To add “er” – use the apostrophe to add “er” as ending to an

abbreviation to avoid confusion. (AA’er - American Airline
5. To show relationship – use the apostrophe to show relationship.
(Ruben’s sister -in-law, Maria’s best friend).

6. To identify characteristics – use the apostrophe to identify certain

characteristics. (Juan’s big nose).


1. In shortened forms of certain words. (phone, copter).

2. To form the possessive of personal and relatieve pronouns. (ours,
not our’s; yours, not your’s). A common error is the use of “it’s”(the
contraction of “it is”)as the possessive form of “it.” The correct form
is “its.”
3. To show the possession of things. (the legs of the table, not the
table’s legs).

3.] BRACKET – a bracket is a mark, squarish in form and always used in

pairs, for setting off inserted materials remotely or incidentally related to
the texts.


1. To Enclose:

1.1 – corrections in quoted matters. “Max Dela Rosa [Da Rosa] was the

1.2 – the word “sic” in quoted errors. “Juan is of Chinese decent [sic].”

1.3 – the phrase “to be continued on p._” and “continued from p._” in
newspapers and magazines.

1.4 – insertions that supply missing letters or words. “The law was
[en]acted last year.”

2. To Distinguish – brackets are used to distinguish notes supplied by the

author or editor from the original notes. “ The world is a stage [as stated
by Shakespeare].”

3. To indicate Units – brackets are used to indicate units in mathematical

or chemical formula. H3[COOH], X + Y[AB], E[MC]2


Do not use a bracket to set off criticism or other views of the quoted
materials. Transfer such commentary to separate sentences.
Note: Brackets are also used to enclose materials inserted by one in
somebody else’s writing while parentheses are used by someone to write
his own writing.

• Dante [Italy’s greatest poet] wrote The Divine Comedy.

• Dante (Italy’s greatest poet) wrote The Divine Comedy.

4.] COLON – is a sign of a pause, midway in length between the semicolon

and the period. It signals the reader that more information is to come on
the subect of concern; hence, it is a mark of introduction.


1. To Introduce. – A colon is used to introduce:

1.1 An appositive – He had only one vice: womanizing.

1.2 A statement – The General gave a curt reply: “Nuts.”


1.3 A list preceded by a complete sentence or by words like “the

following’ or “as follows’’.

• 100 reams of bond paper, legal size.

• 5 boxes of typewriting ribbons, Zenith brand.

1.4 A sentence which explains another sentence. When a colon ends in

an introductory sentence, what follows begins with a capital letter.

• The alternative is obvious: You either finish the job or you face a
damage suit.

1.5 A colon is used before a series when the introducing series is a

complete sentence.

• The conference was attended by representatives of four

countries: Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Brunei.

1.6 A brief heading, which may be a word, phrase or clause that

emphasizes, illustrates, restates or exemplifies what has already been
stated. Since the colon is not an end mark, do not capitalize the word
unless it is a proper noun.
• He has only one regret: he didn’t top the bar.

1.7 The statements in a dialogue. A colon is also used to distinguish

between the speaker and waht he said in dialogue tests.

• Juan: “Did you bing the money?”

Maria: “Yes.”

• Judge: “Are the parties ready?”

Defendant’s Counsel: “I am sorry, your Honor, my witness has not
arrived yet.”

2. To indicate that something will follow. – What follows a colon is linked

with some element that precedes it, whether as an example, explanation,
illustration, an elaboration or the message after a salutation. (Dear Sir:)

3. To Separate. – A colon is used to separate:

3.1 A chapter of the Bible from the verses (Genesis 2:4-7).

3.2 The hour and minutes in noting the time marked by clocks and
watches (6:10 a.m.).

3.3 The formal salutation of a business letter from the body of a

letter (Dear Sir:).

3.4 To separate terms that are being contrasted or compared

(Distinguish urban: rural life).


3.5 The title from its sub-title and the subject of a book (The Wide
World: A High School Geography).

3.6 Number references to the volumes and pages of books (Vol. 118:

3.7 Numbers in a ratio or proposition (1:3).

4. To express Contrast. – A colon is used to express a balanced contrast

without using conjunctions.

• Speech is silver: silence is golden.


Do not use a colon:

1. To introduce words that fit properly into grammar of the

sentence without the colon.

Wrong: The prohibited activities are: smoking, gambling,

drinking and boisterous conversations.

Correct: The prohibited activities: smoking, gambling, drinking

and boisterous conversations.

2. To separate a preposition or a verb and its object unless the

objects are included in formal list beginning on a succeeding

Wrong: I am fond of: Chinese food. Correct: I am fond of

Chinese food.

Wrong: He likes to watch: TV, basketball games and stage

Correct: He likes to watch TV, basketball games and stage

3. In By-line.

Wrong: By: F.S. Sandoval – just write By F. S. Sandoval =


5.] COMMA – is the most frequently used punctuation mark in English. It is

used to separate items in a series, set off grammatical elements within
sentences, and to coordinate one part of the sentence with another. It
acts like a barrier to keep certain elements from flowing or running into
each other.


1. To introduce – commas are used to introduce:

1.1 An adverbial clause that is fairly long and precedes a main clause.
This is called an introductory dependent clause.

• If you see him, kindly give my regards.

1.2 A dependent clause at the beginning of a sentence even if said

clause is restrictive.
• At the time of the revolution, the commercial intercourse between
the Philippines and Japan was discontinued.

1.3 An adverb with more than one syllable (e.g., however, moreover,
furthermore) that is found at the beginning of the sentence.

• However, the show must go on.

1.4 Commas are also used in phrases like the following:

1.4 A.) An absolute phrase that introduces a clause.
• The contract having been signed, the parties adjourned for the

1.4 B.) An adverb phrase that introduces the main clause.

• Immediately after the hearing, the court issued a temporary

restraining order.

1.4 C.) A prepositional phrase that introduces the main clause.

• At the beginning of rhe century, the population of the country did

not exceed five million.

• To get an answer, send a follow-up telegram.

1.5A direct question or statement.

• You will go, won’t you?
• I wondered, should I tell the group the bad news?

1.5A salutation in an informal letter ( Dear Binang, Dear Inday,).

1.6Words such as “Yes”, “No”, “Well”, “Why” and “Oh.” (Oh, you’re
such a loser.)


2. To Separate. – Commas are used to separate:

2.1 Addressee. –A comma is used to separate the name of he street
from the name of the city or municipality and the name of the municipality
from that of the province. (e.g., 20 Bonifacio St., Malabon, Rizal).

2.2 Adjectives.

2.2 A.) Coordinate adjectives or adjectives that modify separately

the nouns or pronouns following them.

• He gave an erratic, vague testimony.

• He wore an old, dirty coat.

2.2 B.) A series of adjectives. If the two adjectives before a noun

are joined by “and,” a comma is placed after each adjective and before
the conjunction. However, the conjunction “and” may be omitted and
replaced by a comma.

• It is an old, ugly and dilapidated building. (“and” may be omitted

and replaced by a comma).

2.3 Appositives. – A non-restrictive word, phrase or clause in

apposition. It may preced or follow the noun it modifies or explains.

• John, president of the class.

2.4 Adverbs. – two or more adverbs that modify the same word or

• The boat moved smoothly, gracefully through the turns.

2.5 Clauses. - Antithetical clause (He is an idiot, not a moron.)

Coordinate clauses which are short (I came, I saw, I
Exclamations like “Oh,””Oh yes,” and “Ah yes’”(Oh, what
a sight).

3. To enclose. – Commas are used to enclose:

3.1 Abbreviations like “i.e.,” and “e.g.”
3.2 Adverbial, parenthetical, or explanatory words, phrases or clauses
found between the subject and the predicate. (Pedro, I understand,
died at twenty-two.)
3.3 Direct adress (The answer, my friends, is no.)
3.4 Addressee (The address is 5210 Rizal Street, Malabon, Rizal.)
3.5 Parenthetical initials (Johnson, A.D., and Peterson, A.B. are on the
list of promotions.)
4. To indicate omission. – A comma is used to indicate omission for brevity
or convenicence of word/s in a sentence. (Common stocks are preferred bu
some investors, bonds [are preferred], by others.)


5. To avoid confusion. – A comma is used to avoid confusion, misreading

and vagueness. (They marched in, in twos).


1. Do not use a comma after:

1.1 The words “that that”(He sacrifice his life that that freedom might

1.2 The vocative “O.” However, a comma is used after the exclamation
“Oh.” (O God please help me.)

1.3 A phrase or clause placed in an inverted order (From the apartment

above came a loud sound.)

1.4 A short prepositional phrase (For recreation the mayor goes


1.5 A short antithetecal phrase (The more the better).

2. Do not use a comma before:

2.1 The ampersand in a firm name ( Diaz & Associates).

2.2 The word “that” and “which,” when said words signal a limiting
junction and restricts the preceding word or phrase (The judge read the
memorandums that were well written.)

3. Do not use a comma between:

3.1 The word “page” and the numbers following it (page 115).

3.2 The last two surnames in a company or firm name (Quiason,

Makalintal, Barot, Torres and Ibarra Law Firm).

4. Do not use a comma to enclose:

4.1 A conjunctive verb that becomes an essential part of the meaning

of a sentence (The President was therefore justified in dismissing Pedro.)

4.2 A word phrase in italics (People v. Reyes).

4.3 A word in quotations (The word “caprice” comes from the Latin
word “caper”.)


5. Do not use a comma to join:

5.1 Two or more independent clauses if the clauses are grammatically

complete and are not joined by a conjunction as to form a compound
sentence. Use instead a semicolon or a period.

e.g., Wrong: It is nearly half past five, we cannot read in the dark.

Correct: It is nearly half past five; we cannot read in the dark.

6. Do not use comma to separate:

6.1 The abbreviation “etc.” when it ends in a sentence.

6.2 Two adjectives, when the first adjective modifies the combination
of the second adjective and the noun following it (e.g., dirty old man,
illegal drug traffic, cold spring water).

6.3 Short and simple clauses that are closely related in meaning and
are clearly understood (The sun was shining and the birds were singing.)

6.4 Short clauses clauses of a compound sentence when they are

closely connected (He looked but did not see the flying object.)

6.5 Short, introductory adverbial clauses if there is no uncertainty

where the main clause begins e.g., In the alley lay a dead cat.

6.6 The postal number of the house and the street name in an address
e.g., 24 Nihtingale, Green Meadows

6.7 The number of laws e.g., Republic Act 1245

6.8 Telephone number e.g., Telephone No. 631-111-523

6.] DASH – is an emphatic mark used to indicate a sudden shift in thought

or a sharp break in the construction of a sentence. The most common dash
is the em dash which in typeset has the width of a capital M. The en dash
is shorter than the em dash but longer than the hyphen.


1. To add effect –a dash is used to add effect, create suspense, or

emphasize for dramatic effect of words or phrases (Behold- the Prince of

2. To enclose a clause e.g., Most lawyers- and Pedro is no exception- do

not like to appear before provincial courts.

USES OF DASH (cont.)

3. To indicate an area or extent (These books are recommended for

children - from 11 to 14 years old.)

4. To set off:

4.1) A strongly distinguished material

• I was pleased- delighted- to hear the good news.

5. To note authors (Don’t buy trouble-Juan).

6. To soften a statement that could give offense (We cannot accept your
explanation-that is, without further verification).

NOTE: The en dash is also used as a replacement for a hyphen as the

equivalent of “up to and including” when used between numbers, dates or
other notations to indicate range e.g., 1-100, Jan – Dec.

The en dash is also used in replacement of the word “to” between

capitalized names (San Jose-Downtown).

A two-em dash in dicates missing letters in a word, or indicates a missing


A three-em dash indicates that an entire word has been left out or

7.] EXCLAMATION POINT - also called exclamatory mark is used after

exclamatory sentences, or sentences that expresses surprise, emotion or
deep feeling.


1. To express strong feelings:

1.1) A command e.g., Advance!

1.2) Irony and sarcasm e.g., “Big Deal!” he replied.

1.3) Surprise e.g., “That’s Awesome!”

2. To indicate. – The exclamation point is used to indicate:

2.1) A very forceful question. In this case it may replace the question
mark because the emphatic tone is more intense than the question e.g.,
You did what!

3. To express praise e.g., You’re the man!


Never use an exclamation point when another mark will serve adequately
or properly. Except when an exclamation point appears in a quoted
material, it should not be used in legal writing.

NOTE: The exclamation point in quoted passages falls inside the quotation

• “That’s a lie!” shouted the accused.

8.] ELLIPSES – consist of three dots and each point is actually a period.
They are used to indicate an intentional omission from a quoted word,
phrase, clause, paragraph or passage.


1. Ellipses are sometimes used as a stylish mark to catch the reader’s


2. Ellipses are used to indicate:

2.1) An interruption

2.2) The omission of a word, phrase, line or paragraph within a quoted

passage e.g.,

‘’Give me liberty or... death.”

2.3) A pause in dialogues e.g., I think... our friend is guilty.

2.4) That a sentence is unfinished and much more could be said on the


1. Before or after a run-in-quotation of a complete sentence.

2. Before a block quotation beginning with a complete sentence.

3. After a block quotattion ending in a complete sentence.

9.] HYPHEN – is a punctuation used in combining words to form new words

and in dividing words at the end of the lines. It is also used to avoid
ambiguities or to determine the relationship between words and between
parts of the same word.


1. To avoid ambiguities by separating certain words

• 200-odd people (meaning “about 200 people”) and 200 odd people
(meaning 200 people)
• re-cover (meaning to cover again) and recover (meaning to become
well again)

2. To combine:

2.1) Two simple adjectives preceding the noun they modify (ten-foot

2.2) An adjective and a past participle when used before a noun (rosy-
cheeked girl).

2.3) A suffix if the adition would create a sequence of three identical

letters (bell-like).

3. To divide the word at the end of a line when a part of the word is to be
carried over to the next line. The division should be made after a vowel,
unless the resulting break changes the pronunciation (e.g., cri-ti-cism,
liga-ture, physi-cal).

4. To express ratios in words or figures (a fifty-fifty chance, a 2-1 ratio).

5. To indicate:

5.1) A dialectal pronunciation (They wer a-driven the whole week).

5.2) Stuttering or hesitation (“W-e-ll,” Jose stammered, “I like t-t-

5.3) “From-to” travel points (Manila-Cebu, Manila-USA).

6. To separate letters from figures (B-17 bombers) or letters from words



Hyphens are not used :

1.To separate prefixes and suffixes from their main words (anteroom,
antenuptia, misinformed, dishonorable).

2. To separate suffixes from the main words (tenfold, meanness,


3. To separate words that can be written better as one word (teapot,

catfish, handsaw).

4. To separate compound adfjectives of three or more words when they

follow the noun they modify (His report was off the record) or when they
follow thenoun they modify and are not unit modifiers ( He is ill prepared).

5. To separate compound adverbs whose first word endsto in “ly” (highly

developed region).

6. To combine temporarily a long noun and another long noun (television

camera, wildlife sanctuary).

10.] PARENTHESES – arecurved punctuation marks used like commas and

dashes, to enclose new materials inside the sentence. But unlike commas,
the materials enclosed in parentheses have little connection with the
context of the sentence.


1. To enclose:

1.1) Words as appositives e.g., Juan (Maria’s boyfriend) is the leader of

the syndicate.

1.2) The names of a city or province that is inserted into a proper noun
for identification e.g., The Ateneo University (Naga, Cam. Sur).
1.3) Question marks to express doubt or if the accuracy of the
information is uncertain e.g., He was born on April 24 (?), 1950.

1.4) Examples when these are necessary but not important enough to
be defined separately e.g., Crimes against persons (murder, homicide,
physical injuries) are usually considered more serious than crimes aginst

1.5) Exclamation marks used to express irony e.g., Pedro is benevolent,

he donates P100,000 (!) annually to the charity.

2. To indicate. - Parentheses are used to indicate:

2.1) Abbreviations of spelled-out words e.g., Manila Electric Company

(MERALCO). Write out the complete name of the company the first time
you use it then put the abbreviation in parenthesis after the name.

2.2) The authority for the statement, bibliographic data, cross

reference, comments about a text and direction e.g., The procedure for
filing claims with NLRC has been discussed previously. (p.116).

2.3) The error or omission in quoted materials e.g., President Queson

(Quezon) was brn in Baler, Tayabas.

3. To refer the transcript of steographic notes, citations of authorities or

an appendix e.g., Defendant paid his first installment payment on Jan.,
1996 (T.S.N. Aug. 11, 1994, p.18).

11.] PERIOD – next to the comma, the period is the next most used
punctuation. It is one of the three end marks of full stops, the others
being the question mark and the exclamation point. It ends all sentences
that are not questions or exclamations.


1. To End. – Periods are used to end:

1.1) Abbreviations (Mister – Mr., Miss – Ms., feet – ft.).

When the last word of a sentence is an abbreviation, the period after the
abbreviation also serves as the period ending the sentence.

• The train leaves at 7 A.M.

If the abbreviation is placed in the middle of the sentence, a comma is

used to separate it from the rest of the sentence .

• The train leaves at 7 A.M., except on Sundays when it leaves at

10:30 A.M.

1.2) A period is used to end complete sentences (The defendant’s

counsel is absent.)

1.3) Declarative sentences (Decisions of the Court of Appeals are

appealable to the Supreme Court.)

1.4) Imperative sentences that do not command or express strong

emotion, like a request (Please take this book Juan.)

1.5) Indirect questions, which are statements that recast direct

questions in the writer’s own words. Likewise, when a question is
intended as a suggestion and the listener is not expected to answer, a
period is used as part of the sentence.

• Judge Reyes asked whether the letter had been mailed.

1.7) Words or phrase used as a sentence (Yes. Delighted, Okay. Agree).

2. To Guide. – Periods are used to guide a reader’s eye across to a page of

reference in tables of contents of books. For this purpose, a line of periods
called “leaders” are used.

3. To Separate. – Periods are used to separate:

3.1) Parts of abbreviations (B.C. – Before Christ, A.M. – ante-meridian,

P.M. – post meridian).


3.2) To separate letters and numbers used to enumerate items in a
vertical list

The events are: The cities are:

a. The Bay of Pigs 1. Baguio City

b. Tug of War 2. Cebu City
c. Russian Roulette 3. Tacloban City

4. To Indicate. – Periods are used to indicate:

4.1) The omission of certain words from a quoted passage. In this

case,three periods are used.

• “Who the h...ll you think you are!”

4.2) Hesitation or interruption in a dialogue or a narrative. For this

purpose, four periods are used if they are placed at the end of the
sentence and three if they are placed inside the sentence.

• “Are you ...the one?”

• “I think they are going to....”


Periods are not used in the following cases:

1. After abbreviations of well- known publications (DMHM).

2. After acronyms (CATV, MERALCO, UNESCO)

3. After headings or titles (The Flight of The Phoenix)

4. After items in a tabulated list if one or more of the items are not
complete sentences

The Chapter is divided into:

1. The introduction
2. When to use a period
3. When not to use a period

5. After sentences that are included within another sentence and enclosed
in parentheses.

The snow (I caught a glimpse of it as I passed the window) was

falling heavily.
6. After sentences that end with an abbreviation. If a sentence ends with
an abbreviated word the period after that word is enough. In other words,
do not use two periods to end a sentence.

12.] QUESTION MARK – sometimes called the “interrogatory point,” is a

terminal mark of punctuation. Like the period and the exclamation mark, it
is a full stop. In speech, the speaker raises his voice at the end of the
sentence to show that he is raising a query.


1. To Indicate. – A question mark is used to indicate:

1.1) A doubt or uncertainty. A question mark enclosed in parentheses

and placed after a word in a sentence means that the word is of doubtful

• Pedro was born on April (?) 1, 1950

1.2) A request (Will you please send my October bill?)

1.3) A series of questions in the same sentence (Are you joining? Is

your sister? Your brother? Pedro?)

2. To terminate. – Question marks are used to terminate:

2.1) A direct question or interrogation e.g., Who is the one who did

Sometimes a sentence begins as a statement and ends with a question

e.g., You will return the book tomorrow, will you not?

2.2) An expression that asks a question and stands as a statement e.g.,

How many lawyers attended? Sixty?

2.3) A humor. The question mark is enclosed in parentheses and placed

after the element it describes e.g., The newspapers reported that the
President delivered a short(?) speech.


Do not use a question mark in a technically, superficially interrogative

sentence. These are merely requests prompted by courtesy, anger or
some strong emotions.

• Will you please pass the butter.

• Will you pass the butter please!
13.] QUOTATION MARKS – is a mark of enclosure for words, phrases,
clauses, sentences and even paragraphs and groups of paragraphs to
indicate the beginning and end of quoted materials. It is used to set-off
the exact words said or written by somebody. The word “quotation”
means “copying or repeating what someone has said or written.

A quotation mark, also called a “quote” consists of two inverted commas (

“ ) at the beginning of a sentence, and two apostrophes ( ” ) at the end of
a sentence in the case of double quotes. A single quote is consist of one
inverted comma at the beginning of the sentence and one apostrophe at
the end of a sentence.


1. To Emphasize a thought by enclosing an expression having specific

limited usage.
2. To Enclose. – A quotation mark is used to enclose:
2.1) A different level of writing e.g., Pres. Garcia told Speaker Perez
that the resolution of the House was “cockneyed.”
2.2) Words or phrases borrowed from others.
2.2) Short sentences falling within longer sentences e.g., “Throughout
our mission, the spirit was “Never say die.”
2.3) Words of marked informality or which are considered odd or
unusual, like a jargon used in formal writing.
• I thought she was a “knockout.”

2.4) The representation of sounds e.g., “Ooh,” “Ssshh,” “Mmm!”

2.5) Technical terms e.g., This is a heavily “watered stock.”

3. To Indicate. – Quotation marks are also used to indicate:

3.1) The definition when a word and its definition appears in the same
sentence e.g., The word “caprice” comes from the Latin word “caper.”

3.2) The names of ships, trains and airplanes e.g., The cargo was
loaded on the “SS Travel Star.”

4. To Set Off. – A quotation mark is used to set off:

4.1) The words of a speaker from the rest of the sentence e.g., “The
flight is scheduled for Tuesday,” said the pilot.

5. To Show a Change of Speaker. - A quotation mark is used to show a

change of speaker in a dialogue. The quoted statement is placed in a
separate paragraph.


The single quoattaion mark is used to enclose a quotation within a

quotation. In a quotation within another quotation, the correct
punctuation marks are first, double quotation marks for the main
quotation, single marks for the quotation within and double marks again
for the last quotation.


1. Do not enclose indirect discourses and questions, unless they represent

quoted dialogues.

• The question is, somos o no somos?

2. Do not use quotation marks as a display or ornament to the text rather

than as part of the text itself.

3. Legal maxims, proverbial expressions and familiar phrases of literary

origin are not enclosed in quotation marks.

4. Titles of books, movies, newspapers or magazines unlike articles or

chapters of books, are not enclosed in quotation marks.

5. In formal writing, unlike in informal writing, words which are referred to

as words, are not enclosed in quotation marks. The words are put in italics
or are underlined.

6. Do not enclose in quotation marks the words “yes” and “no,” except in
direct discourses.

14.] SEMICOLON – is a mark of separation or division. It is never used to

introduce, enclose or terminate a statement. “Semi” means “half” and
therefore semicolon is “half a colon.” There is a suggestion that a
“semicolon” be called “semi-period,” “half-period,” “reduced period” or
“double comma” because of its functions.
A semicolon performs a function that is between that of a comma and a
period. It is stronger than a comma because it marks a more definite
break between two sentence elements. It is weaker than a period because
it indicates a readily discernible relationship between sentence elements.


1. To Separate. – A semicolon is used to separate:

1.1) Two or more coordinate clauses which are closely related in

thought e.g., Jose Reyes was a poet; he was also a bricklayer.

1.2) Coordinate clauses joined by adverbs. If a sentence consists of two

or more clauses, each of considerable length and containing commas, the
clauses may be separated by semicolons for clarity.

(Arellano follows Greek, Roman and Byzantine architecture; but Recto

uses his own original design.)


1.3) Coordinate clauses joined by a special kind of adverb used as a

conjunction (conjunctive adverb), like “also,” “anyhow,” “as a result,”
“besides,” “consequently,” “for example,” “furthermore,” “hence,”
“however,” “in addition,” “indeed,” and “in fact.”

• Modern husbands are slaves of the wives; for example, they now
babysit and bottlefeed their wives.

1.4) To separate clauses and phrases of great length.

• Success in life, so some maintain, requires intelligence, industry and

honesty; bot others, fewer in number, assert that any personality is

1.5) To separate elements of equal parts of a sentence even if these

elements are less than complete statements.

• The Bible reading for the day includes Genesis 2:4-6; Judges 2:3;
Romans 2:1-4.

2. To show Changes. – A semicolon is used to show a change in the

speaker in the transcript of proceedings.


Do not use a colon when a period is more appropriate.

NOTE: A semicolon at the close of a quotation falls outside the quotation
marks e.g., Read Holmes’ “The Common Law”; then write a report about
common law.

15.] SLASH – is a short diagonal stroke or slanting mark used as a mark of

separation. The slash is also called a bar, virgule, diagonal, solidus,
oblique,slant or slant line. “Virgule” is a pedantic word from the Latin
“virgula,” meaning a rod.


1. To indicate alternatives. It may show that either the two woords may be
used in interpreting the sense of expression e.g., yours/mine

2. To replace the words “per” (100 Km/Hr), “divided by” (price/earnings;

men/women ratio) and the word “to” (Manila/Cebu).

3. To replace a word in an abbreviation (w/o meaning “water in oil”; c/o

meaning “care of”).

4. To separate numbers in dates like month-day-year combination in

informal writing (6/9/10)

5. To indicate delivery of items free of charge (520/500 meaning 520 items

deliverd for P500 only).