Top 10 punctuation marks

February 23, 2021 — by Allison Hartley and Kaitlyn Tsai

10. :

There isn’t anything a colon does that can’t be done with a semicolon or an em dash. And: They’re often misused.

9. !

Unprofessional? Yes! But exciting? Also yes!

8. ()

(For bringing attention to your funny little side notes)

7. “”

They save you from plagiarism, but they come with too many bad memories of writing essays.

6. ?

Show intellectual curiosity in college essays: Why is grass green? What is the etymology of ‘bench’? How much wood…?

5. -

Saving your not-technically-adjective adjectives when your vocabulary fails you. 

4. .

Vanilla. Aggressive in texts. Necessary? Perhaps. But perhaps not.

3. ,

Commas are undoubtedly necessary: They can be the difference between life and death for grandma. 

2. ;

True to their form, semicolons can function as both a period and a comma; they can separate lengthy lists; and they can even indicate the end of a line of code.

1. — 

Less harsh than a colon, more formal than parentheses and stronger than a comma or semicolon — the em dash strikes the perfect balance between other forms of punctuation, making it quite — pun intended — dashing.


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