Punctuation Business Vocabulary

Words and phrases are used to talk about punctuation, with example sentences. Free for students of business English who need to learn business vocabulary. Business English for ESL learners.


Punctuation, also known as interpunction, is the use of white space, traditional signs (also known as punctuation marks), and specific typographical methods to help readers understand and interpret written material correctly, whether they are reading it quietly or loudly. "It is the practise, action, or method of adding points or other tiny marks into texts to facilitate understanding; segmentation of text into phrases, clauses, etc., by means of such marks," is another definition.



The actress Catherine Zeta-Jones has a hyphenated surname, meaning it has two parts joined by a hyphen.


Writers can put a dash in the text if they want readers to pause for a moment when reading.


exclamation mark; exclamation point (N Am)

Exclamation marks are sometimes called exclamation points in North America.


sharp; pound sign

The sign for sharp in music is also called a pound sign if it's on a phone keypad or a computer keyboard.



If you're writing a formal document, don't replace the word "and" with an ampersand.


If a list has bullets or dashes instead of numbers, it's an unordered list.

( )

(round) brackets; (round) parenthesis

After each song's title, put the composer's name in brackets.



If a word or phrase is followed by an asterisk, it usually means there's a note about it further down.



If you use two or more adjectives in a row, shouldn't you put commas between them?


1 full stop; period 2 point

Put a full stop at the end of the sentence.


ellipsis points; ellipsis dots

Why do you think the writer ended the sentence with ellipsis points instead of a full stop?


slash; oblique (Br)

has two slashes. Can you see them?



A colon can introduce a list, a quotation or an explanatory clause.



For a slightly longer pause, use a semicolon instead of a comma.


question mark

Are question marks used in other languages as well?

[ ]

(square) brackets; (square) parenthesis

When I edit a document, I put notes on the text inside square brackets.



The backslash is only used in computer commands, isn't it?


underline; also to underline (v.)

I've checked the document and underlined the parts that need correcting.

“ ”

quotation marks; inverted commas

Our teacher said, “Don't forget to use quotation marks when you're writing dialogue.”


If you want to add a second footnote, use a dagger instead of an asterisk.


Punctuation marks are those pesky little symbols that we use to break up our sentences. They might not seem like much, but they can actually be quite important in conveying our meaning clearly.

Without punctuation, our writing would be one big, run-on sentence. Punctuation marks help to break up our thoughts and ideas into manageable chunks. They can also be used to emphasize certain words or phrases.

While we might not give them much thought, punctuation marks are an important part of our written language. The next time you sit down to write, take a moment to consider how you'll use punctuation to help your readers understand your message.