It's important to know the rules of English punctuation when you write, as
using the wrong punctuation may lead to misunderstandings. Using the correct
punctuation is especially important when you are writing to impress, such as
when you are applying for a new job.
Here is a guide to the rules for using the more common punctuation marks in
When to use capital letters
1. At the beginning of the sentence 在句子的开头
It's cold today.
2. For the personal pronoun "I" 第一人称“I”
I live in a big city.
3. For "proper nouns" 专有名词
- names and titles: Sarah, Mr Stevens, Doctor Roberts
- places and countries: London, England,
- nationalities and languages: He is French, She speaks Italian
- companies, products and brands: Microsoft, Coca Cola
- institutions: The Ashmolean Museum, The Department of Trade
- religions and religious festivals: Christianity, Ramadan
- abbreviated names: The BBC
4. For books, television and radio programmes, newspapers and magazines
The Simpsons, The Times.
5. Days of the week and months of the year 星期和月份
Wednesday, August 10th.
6. Historical periods or events 历史时期或事件
The Russian Revolution
7. Rivers, mountains and lakes and geographical regions 河流山川和其他地理区域
The Amazon, The Middle East
8. In addresses 地址
Flat 2, 16 London Road.
When to use commas in English
1. To separate items in a list 在列表中区分单独的项
We need coffee, tea, sugar and milk.
美式："We need coffee, tea, sugar, and milk."
*British English writers do not normally put a comma before "and", although
English, a comma can be used.
2. To separate clauses which are related in meaning区分意义上的从句
Do you know the answer, or should I ask Tony?
*Where the clauses are short, commas are not used:
"I was tired so I went home."
3. After introductory phrases 在介绍性短语后
Unfortunately, I cannot send you the information.
4. Before and after a word or phrase that interrupts the main clause
Some children,if they are gifted, attend special schools.
5. Before and after non-defining clauses 在非限制性定语从句前后
The factory workers, who were in a meeting, decided to accept the pay
= All the factory workers were in a meeting.
*Compare with a defining clause (which restricts the noun).
6. To show millions, thousands and hundreds 数字中
5, 890, 2811
When to use a full stop (or "period" in American
1. At the end of the sentence 句末
Thank you for your letter.
2. As a decimal point 作为小数点使用
When to use a colon
1. To introduce a list 介绍一系列项目
You will need to bring the following: a waterproof jacket, a change of
clothes, a battery-operated torch and some matches.
2. To introduce explanations 给出定义
There is one thing to remember: the nights can get cold, so bring a warm
3. To write the time 时间
The 10:40 train to London is late.
4. Between the title and subtitle of a book 书名的副标题
Shakespeare: The Complete Works
When to use a semi-colon in English
Semi-colons show a pause which is longer than a comma, but not as long as a
full stop. Short clauses which are related in meaning can be separated by a
comma. However, if the clauses are longer, you will probably need a
We'll need to hold some meetings abroad with our suppliers; please could
you check your availability in April.
1. To separate long items in a list在列表中区分较长的项目
Our writing course includes several components: correspondence,
letters and emails; style and vocabulary choice; punctuation; layout and
2. To give balance to sentences, or to link parallel sentences
We went out for the day; they stayed in.
When to use an apostrophe in English
1. With an s to show possession 与s连用表示所属关系
The company's profits.
2. To show abbreviation 表示缩写
I don't like smoking. (= do not)