Punctuation Rules

Periods, Question Marks, and Exclamation Points

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  • Use a period at the end of a declarative sentence. A declarative sentence makes a statement. Examples:

Our team uses a code to make up plays.
The key is a carefully kept secret.

  • Use a period at the end of almost every imperative sentence. An imperative sentence gives a command. Some imperative sentences express excitement or emotion and therefore end with exclamation points. Examples:

Do not ask me to reveal our code.
Stop! Don't tell the other team!

  • Use a period at the end of an indirect question. An indirect question reports what a person asked without using the person's exact words. Examples:

Indirect question:
The coach asked if our team code has been broken.

Direct question:
The coach asked, "Has our team code been broken?"

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Question Marks

  • Use a question mark at the end of an interrogative sentence. An interrogative sentence asks a question. Examples:

Did the other team break the code?
Have they figured out all our plays?

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Exclamation Points

  • Use an exclamation point to end an exclamatory sentence. An exclamatory sentence expresses strong feeling. Examples:

What a terrible situation!
That was the worst football game in history!

  • Use an exclamation point after an interjection (a word or phrase used to express emotion) or any other exclamatory expression. Examples:

Oh! I have an idea!
Wow! Tell us!