The peri­od gives your thought a hard stop before begin­ning a brand new, self-sus­tain­ing sentence.

Exclamation Points

The num­ber one rule? Don’t overuse them. Use your words to imply excite­ment, don’t rely on an excla­ma­tion point.

Question Marks

Only use one when you’re actu­al­ly ask­ing a ques­tion. Then be sure to answer it.


An apos­tro­phe should either indi­cate a con­trac­tion or indi­cate own­er­ship. It does not make sin­gu­lar words plural.


If you’re not sure about adding a com­ma, read your sen­tence out loud. If you nat­u­ral­ly pause any­where, it could prob­a­bly use a com­ma there.


This replace­ment for and” should only be used in offi­cial names, nav­i­ga­tion­al labels and short, title case headlines.

Dashes and Hyphens

Did you know em dash­es, en dash­es and hyphens aren’t inter­change­able? They each have dif­fer­ent pur­pos­es. We’ll teach you what they are.


These can be tricky to use cor­rect­ly. Read this sec­tion to learn when they’re nec­es­sary and when they aren’t.


If you’re find­ing your­self want­i­ng to use a semi­colon, read this sec­tion first. Chances are you prob­a­bly don’t need one, or you could use an em dash instead.


Information includ­ed in paren­the­ses is sup­ple­men­tary to the rest of the sen­tence, like an exam­ple of what you just described or an addi­tion­al clarification.

Quotation Marks

It’s right in the name — quo­ta­tion marks go around a quote, which is some­thing some­one said. But they don’t stop there.


Use this punc­tu­a­tion when you need to con­dense a direct quote, not when you need to add emphasis.

Divider Punctuation

When we need to sep­a­rate dis­tinct pieces of infor­ma­tion on a sin­gle line, we use the mid­dle dot” instead of a pipe or a shift in typography.