Apostrophe ( ’ )
Possession. E.g. horse’s tail. E.g. all the horses’ saddles.
Contractions, e.g. don’t, won’t, can’t,
English “o’clock” is Peoplese “oclock”.)
Asterisk ( * )
A single asterisk, to add a space
between paragraphs, signifying a difference in meaning .
Two asterisks side by side at the
end of a paragraph indicate a bigger division.
Three asterisks could indicate the
end of the article or story, or an even bigger division.
Colon ( : )
Divides distinct but related sentence
components such as clauses in which the second elaborates on the first.
Indicates that a list follows the colon.
When designating time, separates hours from
minutes. E.g. 4:30 means 4 o’clock plus
The word after a colon is not generally capitalized.)
Comma ( , )
natural pauses. E.g. in around parenthetic expressions,
prepositional phrases at the beginning of a sentence aren’t normally
In the beginning I believed him. (No comma after “beginning".)
After each item in a series.
Use “and” before the last item only if there are no other items in
series, i.e. only if the series is complete.
A, B, and C are the first three letters of the Roman alphabet.
If the series is not complete, omit “and”.
A, B, C are letters of the Roman alphabet. Because “and” is
omitted, other letters exist.
(English: A, B, C, etc., are letters of the Roman alphabet.)
He’s tired, hungry, thirsty. Implied: and that’s not
all. (He may also be irritable.)
To introduce a quotation.
E.g. He asked, “Which way?”
numbers: after each three figures of a
number. E.g. 2,026 apples, 1,400,000,000
Year dates have no comma, which
distinguishing them from numbers. E.g. year 2026.
Insert as few commas as possible
without sacrificing clarity.
If without inserting a comma, the reader might be temporarily confused,
The goal is to move the reader along as
quickly and smoothly as possible without he or she noticing the writing.
Adjectives in a series generally do
not require commas.
Manage adjectives so that they are
E.g., The quick brown fox leaped over the white waist-high picket fence.
After one or two introductory
prepositional phrases, a comma is not inserted unless needed for clarity.
E.g., In the little red house on the corner of Maple and Pine streets
lived an old woman.
E.g., By year 1997 in USA, Internet was still new. (If no
comma, it would read “USA Internet” - confusing.)
E.g., a short thin bald man with big brown eyes (no commas needed)
E.g., the seven-days-long religious ceremony. E.g., the thick
Dash ( – ) A dash
looks like a long hyphen.
Separates a clause
within a sentence more abruptly than a comma.
E.g. Bob is at the door – not again!
Exclamation mark ( ! ) Indicates an exclamation.
Hyphen ( - )
signify that an adjective modifies the following word in a three-word
E.g. the pale-blue rug (because “pale” modifies "blue", not "rug")
A two (or more) word number modifying a noun, follows the above rule.
E.g. Is a football field one hundred meters long? (no
E.g., one-hundred meter track (“one” modifies “hundred”, not
“track”, so is hyphenated)
Hyphens separate all two-digit numbers when they are spelled using two
E.g., twenty-four, fourteen, sixty-eight.
are sometimes used when transliterating words from other languages.
Hyphens are inserted between all Chinese characters. E.g.
Shang-hai, pu-tong-hua, Mao Ze-dong.
Between a double “o” with each “o” a separate syllable.
E.g. co-operate, do-or (one who does something), go-or (as in “church
Within hyphenated words used in pairs or in a series.
E.g., the foreign-created and -supplied proxy government
(meaning: the foreign-created and foreign-supplied proxy
both adjectives of “government”, not “proxy”, so hyphenated)
of the various uses for hyphens can be used simultaneously.
Example: a harm-less-sounding word, cigarette-package-size
Note: Hyphens are not used to create new words (unlike
English). Hyphenettes are used to create words.
are used purely for grammar.
Hyphen-ette ( ۔
) A hyphen-ette is a short hyphen.
Following prefixes with fixed
meanings. See Unique Prefixes list. E.g. A kilo۔meter-long fence. Re۔state sentence.
Preceding suffixes with fixed
meanings. See Unique Suffixes list. E.g. school۔mate, harm۔less snake.
Mid-dot ( ∙ ) A mid-dot is a raised period. Click link for separate page.
Question mark ( ? ) Indicates a question.
Quote Marks ( " )
Double-quote∙marks ( “...” )
To frame dialog.
For titles of articles, short stories,
songs, poems – in which the main words are capitalized.
To highlighting words within a
sentence. E.g., She pronounced the word
(‘ ...’ )
quotes within quotes. E.g. “I asked him, 'How much?’”
E.g., ‘I’ll never go,’ she decided.
Note: Placement of quote∙marks is
logical (using the British, not American system):
E.g. It’s hard to
pronounce ‘rhythm’. (Not American
English, It’s hard to pronounce `rhythm.’ )
Semi-colon ( ; )
separate a sentence into two related parts, when each part could stand
alone as a separate sentence.
E.g. Peoplese seems a bit strange; it’s like
English, yet it’s different from English.