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Punctuation 01 - Capitals and Marks
"What horsepower is your motorcycle" - Which punctuation mark should end this sentence?

Punctuation 01 - Capitals and Marks

‘lakshmis mother asked why havent you finished your home work no mom I have a splitting headache replied arpana her mother wondered what will i do with this child’

Did you mange to make sense of this sentence? Is it one sentence? Can this sentence be reorganised so as to make sense to anyone who reads it?

If the same sentence is spoken, most certainly all of us who know English will understand. Why not so when written? The way to bring more meaning into sentences in writing is to use the correct punctuation.

Punctuation marks are somewhat similar to traffic rules. If everyone follows traffic rules then the traffic flows smoothly and people can go about their business without hindrance. Similarly, punctuation marks help all of us to understand a written piece and hopefully, all those who read the piece will get the same meaning - the one that the writer intended.

Now, let us see how we can make our first sentence more meaningful. Take a look at this rewriting of it:

Lakshmi’s mother asked, “Why haven’t you finished your home work?
“No, Mom, I have a splitting headache” replied Arpana.
Her mother wondered, "What will I do with this child!"


You will notice that we have made three sentences from one string of words. In order to break the sentences we have used certain marks in them. These are called punctuation marks. Now, with the proper punctuation marks in place the three sentences make much more sense. Also, note that some words are capitalised.

Full-stops, exclamation marks and question marks are punctuation marks that signal the end of a sentence, which is an expression of one single thought. In our example above, we have used all three and we can see how relevant they are. Take the quiz that follows and learn how to use the punctuation marks to express yourself better.
1.
Which of these statements is true?
It is all right not to use a capital for the first letter in the name of a city.
Proper nouns should be written without any capitals.
Capitalisation is not a part of punctuation.
Capitalisation is a part of punctuation.
Capitalisation is vey much a part of punctuation and the rules are fairly easy to remember. A sentence is always begun wth the first letter of the first word capitalised. Proper nouns, names of cities, buildings, streets and titles always begin with a capital. Days of the week also begin with a capital
2.
Choose the option with the correct punctuation marks.
Meanwhile, the girl had reached the mall. She was there to purchase a pair of new shoes.
Meanwhile, the girl had reached the mall she was there to purchase a pair of new shoes.
Meanwhile, the girl had reached the mall. she was there to purchase a pair of new shoes.
meanwhile, the girl had reached the mall. She was there to purchase a pair of new shoes.
Remember to write the first letter of the first word in a sentence in capitals. This is a vital part of punctuation. The two sentences express two separate thoughts and hence need full stops or periods as they are sometimes called
3.
Choose the option with the correct punctuation marks.
Is Virat Kohli the new poster boy of Indian Cricket? Yes, Virat Kohli is the new poster boy of Indian Cricket. What a player he is!
Is Virat Kohli the new poster boy of Indian Cricket. Yes, Virat Kohli is the new poster boy of Indian Cricket. What a player he is!
Is Virat Kohli the new poster boy of Indian Cricket? Yes, Virat Kohli is the new poster boy of Indian Cricket! What a player he is!
Is Virat Kohli the new poster boy of Indian Cricket? Yes, Virat Kohli is the new poster boy of Indian Cricket. What a player he is.
All the nuances of punctuaions for ending a sentence including capitalisation are in play in this answer. In answer 2, the first sentence has to be a question. In answer 3, the second sentence is a declarative sentence and hence full stop is the correct ending punctuation mark. In answer 4, the third sentence is an exclamatory sentence and hence the use of the exclamation mark
4.
Which statement is false?
Conjunctions, adjectives, nouns and verbs are part of punctuation.
Full-stops or periods, commas, colons and semi-colons are part of punctuation.
Quotation marks, parantheses, brackets, braces and apostrophes are part of punctuation.
Hyphens, dashes, ellipses, exclamation marks and question marks are part of punctuation.
There are fourteen punctuation marks that help us to express ourselves better. Conjunctions, adjectives, nouns and verbs are all parts of speech rather than punctuation
5.
Which of these statements is false?
A period or full stop is used at the end of a complete sentence that is a statement.
Question marks and exclamation marks can be used to end a sentence.
A question mark is used to end an imperative sentence.
The first letter of the first word in a sentence has to be capitalised.
A question mark is used to end an interrogative sentence. For instance, 'Why are you not coming with me to the concert?'
6.
Choose the option with the correct punctuation marks.
Ambatti Rayudu wanted to know when he would be selected to play cricket for India!
Ambatti Rayudu wanted to know when he would be selected to play cricket for India?
Ambatti Rayudu wanted to know. When he would be selected to play cricket for India.
Ambatti Rayudu wanted to know when he would be selected to play cricket for India.
Although there is a question implicit in the sentence, it is an indirect one and the sentence qualifies as a declarative or assertive sentence needing a full stop and neither a question mark nor an exclamation mark. Answer 3 is wrong because both the phrases cannot stand by themselves and, therefore are not sentences
7.
Choose the option with the correct punctuation marks.
Kindly deliver the package to raghav.
Kindly deliver the package to Raghav?
Kindly deliver the package to Raghav!
Kindly deliver the package to Raghav.
The sentence is an imperative sentence and hence needs a full stop. Answer 1 should have used a capital R for raghav as proper nouns always begin with their first letter in capitals. Answer 2 is wrong because it is not a question and so needs no question mark. Answer 3 is not expressing an emotion and so its use of exclamation mark is wrong
8.
"Don't you dare leave this house" - Choose the punctuation mark that correctly ends the sentence
Question mark - ?
Exclamation mark - !
Period or full stop - .
Comma - ,
The sentence appears to be a question, but it is not. The sentence is also not an imperative or declarative sentence. It is an exclamatory sentence and hence the exclamation mark is used
9.
Choose the option with the correct punctuation marks for the following sentence or sentences - What horsepower is your motorcycle it is 20 horsepower
What horsepower is your motorcycle! It is 20 horsepower.
What horsepower is your motorcycle. It is 20 horsepower.
What horsepower is your motorcycle? It is 20 horsepower.
What horsepower is your motorcycle? It is 20 horsepower?
The statement is two sentences, one a question and another an answer to the question. Thus, we use the question mark for the first sentence and the full stop for the second sentence, which is an answer to the question. Both are complete sentences and need an ending mark. In answer 4, the question mark would have been all right if the sentence read 'Is it 20 horsepower?'
10.
Choose the option with the correct punctuation marks.
Ah, there goes that Saurav? I can hardly take my eyes off that hunk!
Ah, there goes that Saurav! I can hardly take my eyes off that hunk!
Ah, there goes that Saurav! I can hardly take my eyes off that hunk?
Ah, there goes that saurav! I can hardly take my eyes off that hunk!
Both sentences are exclamatory sentences and hence use exclamation marks. Answer 4 should have used a capital S for saurav as proper nouns always begin with their first letter in capitals
Author:  V T Narendra

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