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Written by : Info Box Team

So, you think you know English well? Then try to tell the usage of punctuation marks like hyphen, interrobang, apostrophe etc.

Basically, punctuation is the system of signs or symbols given to a reader to show how a sentence is constructed and how it should be read. That's why today, EeYuva came up to disclose the origin and usage of some punctuations.


In English, the apostrophe is the agent of contraction and possession, shortening words by replacing letters as in: can't for "can(no)t," and designating ownership as in: "The book is Lisa's." The word came to English in the late 1500s as a direct loan from the Middle French apostrophe meaning "aversion" or "turning away." Following its induction into English, the symbol enjoyed extreme popularity in written text, the result of a centuries-long trend to imitate French culture.

Quotation Marks

Also called inverted commas, quotation marks set off the dialogue, any quoted material, titles of short works and definitions, by demarcating a section of the text, like, "Hey, don't blame me," said Puja, as she opened the door.

Before mechanized printing, quotations were indicated by identifying the speaker or using a different typeface, like italics. At the time single quotation marks indicated a pithy comment or quip. But by the 1740s, mechanical printing had taken off and printers adopted quotation marks to indicate speech.


The hyphen is a short line used to connect the parts of a compound word. It may also be used to indicate a connection between the parts of a word that has been divided for other reasons like a line break. The term is derived from the Ancient Greek hypo + hen literally translated as "under one." Historically, the mark was used to unite words or syllables, most likely indicating the way phrases were meant to be sung by Greek and Roman bards. Hyphens are still used today in choral notation to indicate connected syllables.

Question mark

Also called the "interrogation mark," the question mark is placed after a sentence to indicate a question in English. In Spanish, an inverted question mark is placed at the beginning of an inquisitive sentence as well. There is much speculation as to the origin of the question mark, but most attribute its invention to Alcuin of York, leading scholar and teacher in the court of Charlemagne. In the 8th century, Alcuin was the first to use question marks in his writing.

Exclamation Point

This forceful punctuation mark indicates a moment of high volume or excitement at the end of a sentence. Though there is no consensus as to the origin of the exclamation point, many believe that it is an abbreviated composite of the Latin word for "joy," io. After centuries of hurried handwriting, the "i" became a line, placed over the "o," written quickly as a dot. The exclamation point was introduced into English in the 15th century as a "note of admiration."


This hybrid punctuation mark is the only symbol on our list that was born in the USA. The interrobang combines a question mark and an exclamation point to indicate a mixture of query and interjection or shock, as in: "She said what!?" In the case of the interrobang, both word and symbol are portmanteaus in that the word bang was used for "exclamation point" in 1950s secretarial vernacular. Similarly, the question mark is also known as the "interrogation mark."

Punctuation marks are essential when you are writing not only English but any language. If you use them correctly, they make your sentences coherent, more than that sophisticated.

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