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’
    • ‘It was obviously a well thought out text, it even had punctuation - well a full stop.’
    • ‘Now with the typed word and quick messages, that measure is simply the ability to use proper grammar and punctuation.’
    • ‘The comma thing does make me aware how much I use punctuation in general and commas specifically for intonation in my writing.’
    • ‘I will insist on writing in proper sentences and using proper punctuation.’
    • ‘I've never liked putting closing punctuation inside quotation marks.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Sadly these days, the problem is not really just one of bad punctuation but of bad writing in general.’
    • ‘Be careful about your use of punctuation, particularly exclamation points.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Of course the rules of grammar and punctuation add to an understanding of the text, that can't be denied.’
    • ‘I support and uphold the norms of standard written English in spelling, punctuation, word usage and grammar.’
    • ‘There are no back slashes nor punctuation to mark the end of the assignment.’
    • ‘Team leaders randomly listen into calls to assess the emotions conveyed, accent, alertness, grammar and punctuation.’
    • ‘It reviews the parts of speech and teaches the parts of a sentence and punctuation.’
    • ‘He stood straight up from his task on the deck of his boat, a mark of punctuation for his words.’
    • ‘Attention to grammar, punctuation, spelling and style is expected.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Winter might last only one day - a minor punctuation in a long sentence of heat.’
    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).