There is a wide variety of punctuation marks available to writers, and we at TextRanch believe learners should know how to use each and every one of them.
The great thing about English is that it allows for a lot of freedom in expressing thoughts, presenting information, and crafting a writing style. To take advantage of this, you can add the five marks below to your repertoire.
There are three types of dashes: the hyphen, the en dash, and the em dash.
Create compound nouns and adjectives with it.
The brand-new equipment looked shiny and spotless.
En dash (–)
Slightly longer than a hyphen. It goes in between ranges of numbers, dates, and times.
Read pages 55–68 in your history textbook.
Em dash (—)
The longest of the three. This is a versatile tool that can set off extra information by replacing a comma/colon.
There are two bouquets of flowers here—roses and daisies.
(Note: Some style guides discourage em dashes in formal writing)
Semicolons (;) are more powerful than a comma but not as strong as a full stop. Use them to join two related independent clauses, no conjunction needed.
I want to buy some shoes; let’s go to the mall.
Much like the em dash, you can add parentheses () to a sentence to include an additional detail. A common reason to do this is to quickly explain a thought related to the sentence.
Our fitness instructor gave us a break (since we had finished the exercise).
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