Punctuation Marks Exposed

From commas to question marks and lesser-used punctuation such as brackets and colons, TheVisualCommunicationGuy.com has put together an infographic that ranks punctuation marks based on how hard or easy they are to learn to use. As a public relations professional, I am constantly thinking about grammar and punctuation in my everyday work. However, I found some new ways to utilize punctuation that I frequently use in my writing.

The infographic ranks punctuation marks by how many rules or applications that they have. The comma has the most, so it is deemed the hardest punctuation mark to learn to use with 15 applications. The period is the easiest to use with only one application – to end a sentence.

There are a few punctuation marks listed that I am not very familiar with, for I rarely, if ever, have used them the correct way. These are the en dash, em dash, ellipsis and brackets. The applications for each are listed below.

En dash. Replaces the word “through” or “to” when suggesting a duration of time. Example: The instructions were written on pages 12-35.

Em dash. Expands with emphasis a main clause, separates and draws special attention to ideas, or suggests an interruption in thought or change in direction. Example: No one—not even the captain of the team—realized how good the opposing team was at penalty kicks.

Ellipsis. Indicates an omission of words in a quote or hesitating speech in dialogue, or it suggests that something is being left out. Example: I … tried to do what was best.

Brackets. Indicate editorial comments by someone other than the author or asides or other parenthetical information already in parentheses. Example: I don’t care what he [Poe] meant by it, the line sounds great but makes no sense.

These are just a few of the 15 punctuation marks exposed on the infographic. To see the full graphic, click here.