I have compiled a list of the most common punctuation marks and special characters in English and how they are used.
|.||Dot / Full Stop / Period|
|1.)To mark the end of a sentence. (Dot etc.)
2.) 0.75 (Decimal point)
|,||Comma||1.) Indicates a short pause within the sentence and / or separates different sentence parts.
2.) To separate different items.
|;||Semicolon||A semicolon is something between a comma and a full stop. It's used to separate two main clauses.|
|:||Colon||To introduce lists, quotations.|
|?||Question Mark||At the end of a question.|
|!||Exclamation Mark||1.) To express strong feeling.
2.) At the end of a command.
|" "||Double Quotation Mark||1.) For quotations
2.) As scare quotations. (Scare quotations are used if the author wants to imply that he is sceptical or disagrees with the word / quote used.)
|'||Apostrophe / Single Quotation Mark||1.) In contractions like he's. Here an apostrophe indicates where letters have been omitted.
2.) To show possession: Sarah's horse
Never EVER use it in a plural please!
|-||Hyphen / Minus Sign||Used to separate the different parts of words, especially adjectives which are a combination of two words: "self-employed"|
(Named after the length of the letter n or m respectively)
|1.) Em-Dash: "A dash is a mark of separation stronger than a comma, less formal than a colon, and more relaxed than parentheses." (William Strunk, Jr, and E.B. White, The Elements of Style)
Do not confuse it with a hyphen!
2.) En-dashes are used to replace the word to e.g:
July 6–August 25
They can also be used in phone numbers.
|/||Forward Slash||1.) To separate words, letters etc.
2.) In URLs.
|\||Backslash||Used mainly in computing.|
|( )||Left / Right Round Bracket / Parenthesis||1.) To enclose words in a sentence (which could have been omitted).
2.) For an aside remark: Simon left the country (and was never seen again).
|[ ]||Left / Right Square Bracket||Used in quotations to signal that words have been added (mostly for clarification) by an editor.
"This year's budget deficit fell by 1 million [pounds]"
|<||"Less Than" Sign / Left Angle Bracket||Used in mathematics and source codes like HTML or Java etc.|
|>||"Greater Than" Sign / Right Angle Bracket||Used in mathematics and source codes like HTML or Java etc.|
|+||Plus||1.) Used in mathematics.
2.) Can be used as an abbreviation for the word "and"
|=||Equal||Used in mathematics.|
Used for example in company names, coll aborations etc.
|@||At Sign||1.) In email adresses
2.) To address someone in online discussions: @Phil
|%||Percent||To indicate the percentage of an amount as a proportion of a hundred.|
|_||Underscore||1.) In computing
2.) In email adresses
|°||Degree||1.) To indicate temperature in Celsius or Fahrenheit: 15 °C, 80 °F
2.) To represent the degrees of an angle
|*||Asterisk||1.) Used to add inforamtion in a foot- / endnote
2.) In lists
3.) To indicate that corrections have been made (for example a misspelled word)