Punctuation marks are used to clarify the meaning of sentences and phrases. Period (.), comma (,), question mark (?), an exclamation mark (!), colon (:), and semicolon (;) are some punctuation marks.
Punctuation is necessary to make our writing meaningful. While speaking, we pause, raise our voices to emphasize something, or adopt a questioning tone. These gestures make our conversation more understandable. Similarly, when we write, we use punctuation to clarify our meaning.
In this article, I’ll be differentiating the two most commonly used punctuation marks, that is, a comma and a period. Both have a different function in a sentence. However, commas have more uses as compared to a period.
Commas are used to take a short pause, whereas a period is mostly used to end a statement. Moreover, I’ll also discuss the placement of these marks.
What Does A Comma Mean?
Aldus Manutius (sometimes called Aldo Manuzio) was an Italian scholar and publisher in the 15th century who popularized the use of commas to separate words.
Commas are derived from the Greek term koptein, which means “to cut off.”A comma suggests a small break. According to certain writers, a comma is a punctuation mark that divides words, phrases, or concepts within a sentence.
We use a comma to pause a statement that switches between topics. It is used to separate clauses in sentences.
- Mr. John, the grandfather of my friend, has left for America.
- Yes, I enjoy riding my bike.
- Mary, the author of this book, has died.
- I do, however, enjoy watching movies.
- Lilly, having locked the door, went away.
What Does An Oxford Comma Mean?
The Oxford comma (also called the serial comma) is used in several items.
- Please bring me a shirt, trousers, and a cap.
- My house, car, and mobile phone are my favorite things.
- Ensure that he does not consume any walnuts, bread, and onions.
- Before leaving on the vacation, we must be sure to pack, clean the house, and turn off the lights.
- John, Charles, Emma, and Laura will attend the event today.
In the first sentence, the Oxford comma is used right after the word “trousers” because this is the last comma of the sentence. It is mainly added at the end of a list. It is identified as the Oxford Comma because editors, printers, and readers at Oxford University originally employed it.
Although all writers and publishers do not use it, it can help clarify the meaning of a statement when the elements in the list are more than just single words. Anyway, using a “serial comma” is not compulsory, and you can always skip it.
Basic Uses Of Commas
- To separate a clause or a phrase from the rest of the sentence. e.g. Even though Jack prepared for his exams, he failed.
- Use a comma to separate a phrase or a noun in a series. e.g. Steve, Alex, and Sarah are all classmates.
- To separate the name of the second person. e.g., James, I asked you to keep quiet.
- To separate appositives. e.g. Mr. Brown, the person behind this project, is on leave.
- To separate nonrestrictive clauses. e.g., the patient’s condition, to tell you the truth, is quite serious.
- It is also used before a direct quotation. e.g. He said, “I am amazed to see your progress.”
- To separate the word “please”. e.g. Could you show me around, please?
- It is also placed after words like well, now, yes, no, oh, etc., e.g., Yes, it is true.
What Does A Period Mean?
Periods are the punctuation marks used to separate lines or reference list components. A period’s principal function is to indicate the conclusion of a sentence.
In addition to exclamation marks and question marks, a period is among three punctuation marks signifying the end of a sentence. It’s a little circle or dot that serves as a punctuation mark. It appears at the bottom of a printed line, without a space, and immediately follows the preceding character.
Periods denote a stop. A person will briefly pause between sentences; in written English, the period reflects that pause. The pause signaled by a period is more noticeable than that produced by other punctuation symbols, such as commas or semicolons.
A period is most commonly used to indicate the conclusion of a sentence, but it is also used to indicate abbreviated words or material that has been omitted. It also serves as the “dot” in “dot com” in mathematics and computing.
According to one survey, periods are among the most prevalent punctuation markings in English, accounting for about 50% of all punctuation marks used.
A period (also called a full stop) has two roles in English grammar.
- to finish a sentence.
- to indicate an omission.
- They cleaned their lounge, kitchen, bedroom, and other areas throughout the day.
- The abbreviation for the United Kingdom is the U.K.
- She inquired as to why I had skipped school the day before.
- Dr. Smith teaches us about plant biology.
- The average cost of items increased by only 2.5%.
Basis Uses Of Periods
- Periods are used to bring a sentence to a close.
- To finish a sentence with a citation or quotation, use a period.
- Periods are used to bring a block quotation to a close (before the citation).
- Between reference list entries’ elements, use a period.
- Periods are used in specific abbreviations.
- In website addresses, we use periods.
The Use Of A Period In American English vs. British English
A period is commonly referred to as a full stop in British English. Aside from the nomenclature, there are only minor distinctions in how a period (or a full stop) is used.
For example, people from the United Kingdom are considerably more likely to shorten their country’s name. It is written as the UK. However, it is written as the U.S.A. within the United States of America.
Similarly, American English seems more interested in writing someone’s name with a period after it, such as ‘Mr. Jones,’ whereas in British English, it is more often written as ‘Mr Jones.’
Apart from these minor distinctions, the period and full stop are employed similarly, particularly in declarative sentences.
The Significance Of Commas
Commas assist the reader in understanding a sentence more clearly. However, using commas wrongly can be confusing to the reader. It signifies a lack of understanding of writing norms or carelessness.
Example of a sentence without a comma
I will go to the market to buy meat vegetables fruits flour and rice.
Example of a sentence with a comma
I will go to the market to buy meat, vegetables, fruit, flour, and rice.
The Significance Of Periods
It is an important part of punctuation. Each phrase will continue into the next if you don’t use a period or a full stop at the end of it. For the listener and reader, this would be confusing. The period marks the conclusion of an idea.
Example of a sentence without a period or a full stop
Food is the third greatest essential source of energy and development for living creatures it is among the most complex chemical groups food has an important role in promoting health and preventing disease food has an important role in promoting health and preventing disease
Example of a sentence with a period or a full stop
Food is the third greatest essential source of energy and development for living creatures. It is among the most complex chemical groups. Food has an important role in promoting health and preventing disease. Food has an important role in promoting health and preventing disease.
The Difference Between A Regular Comma And an Oxford Comma
Although they both are commas, the Oxford comma is referred to as a serial comma. It’s used after each word in a list of more than three things and before the words “and” or “or.”
The Difference Between A Comma And A Period
|The difference in their meaning|
|A comma is a punctuation mark that divides words, phrases, or concepts within a sentence.||Periods are the punctuation marks that mark the completion of a phrase or a sentence. It represents a single complete notion.|
|What is the difference in their usage?|
|We use a comma to pause a statement that switches between topics. It indicates where you should pause in the middle of a statement.||A period is most commonly used to indicate the conclusion of a sentence, but it is also used to indicate abbreviated words or material that has been omitted.|
|The difference in their symbols|
|The commas are dots that have a short tail.||Whereas, periods do not have a short tail.|
|The difference in their purpose|
|A comma denotes a specific detachment between sentence elements, like the start of a new independent clause or the conclusion of a parenthetical comment.||The ending of a sentence is indicated with a period.|
|The comma represents a pause.||The period represents the stop.|
|Is there any difference in how they look?|
|This is what a comma looks like (,)||This is what a period or a full stop looks like (.)|
|My friend is intelligent, hardworking, and above all, honest.|
May I ask your name, please?
|She inquired as to why I had skipped school the day before.|
Dr. Smith teaches us about plant biology.
- Punctuation marks like commas and periods are crucial. They help in clarifying the meaning of sentences and phrases.
- A comma indicates a pause in a sentence. It often separates clauses and elements within a sentence.
- The Oxford comma, also known as the serial comma, is used after each word in a list of more than three items. It is also used before “and” or “or.”
- On the other hand, a period is primarily used to mark the end of a sentence, indicating a complete thought.
- Comma usage helps readers understand sentence structure and can prevent confusion.
- Correctly placed periods are essential for breaking text into manageable, meaningful sentences.
- While these punctuation marks may seem small, their placement significantly impacts sentence clarity.
- Understanding when and how to use commas and periods is essential. It helps in effective writing and communication.
- What Is the Difference Between Awesome and Awsome? (Explained)
- How Much Difference Can 10lb Weight Loss Make in My Chubby Face? (Facts)
- What Is The Difference Between A Novel, A Fiction, And A Non-Fiction?
- I’ll Miss You VS You Will Be Missed (Know It All)
- What’s the Difference Between “In” and “On”? (Explained)