Definition of punctuation in English:



mass noun
  • 1The marks, such as full stop, comma, and brackets, used in writing to separate sentences and their elements and to clarify meaning.

    ‘you will notice that no punctuation is used’
    ‘satisfactory standards of handwriting, spelling, grammar, and punctuation’
    • ‘He stood straight up from his task on the deck of his boat, a mark of punctuation for his words.’
    • ‘I support and uphold the norms of standard written English in spelling, punctuation, word usage and grammar.’
    • ‘As a former teacher I can state that verbal literacy did not come from numerous lessons in grammar, punctuation, spelling and usage.’
    • ‘The writing collapses into incoherent ranting, lacking grammar or punctuation.’
    • ‘Be careful about your use of punctuation, particularly exclamation points.’
    • ‘Team leaders randomly listen into calls to assess the emotions conveyed, accent, alertness, grammar and punctuation.’
    • ‘In the realm of punctuation, a comma is used for a brief pause, a semicolon for a more moderate pause, and a period as a full stop.’
    • ‘The comma thing does make me aware how much I use punctuation in general and commas specifically for intonation in my writing.’
    • ‘Sadly these days, the problem is not really just one of bad punctuation but of bad writing in general.’
    • ‘However, the reverse is not true: if a spoken text is written down, the position of many tone-group boundaries cannot be marked by punctuation.’
    • ‘Of course the rules of grammar and punctuation add to an understanding of the text, that can't be denied.’
    • ‘The grammar and punctuation in these messages is appalling, and the spelling is what I've come to expect from the comprehensive system these days.’
    • ‘Winter might last only one day - a minor punctuation in a long sentence of heat.’
    • ‘It was obviously a well thought out text, it even had punctuation - well a full stop.’
    • ‘I've never liked putting closing punctuation inside quotation marks.’
    • ‘Now with the typed word and quick messages, that measure is simply the ability to use proper grammar and punctuation.’
    • ‘Attention to grammar, punctuation, spelling and style is expected.’
    • ‘I will insist on writing in proper sentences and using proper punctuation.’
    • ‘There are no back slashes nor punctuation to mark the end of the assignment.’
    • ‘It reviews the parts of speech and teaches the parts of a sentence and punctuation.’
    punctuation marks, points
    View synonyms
  • 2Biology
    Rapid or sudden speciation, as suggested by the theory of punctuated equilibrium.


Mid 17th century: from medieval Latin punctuatio(n-), from the verb punctuare (see punctuate).