Punctuation Exercises

Test your knowledge with these punctuation exercises!

In order for you to achieve your academic goals, it is important to present your writing in a way that is professional. Not only is it important for you to be cautious of what you are saying, but also how you are saying it.

One of the first steps to ensure you’re on your way to becoming the writing-savvy expert, is to ensure that you use correct punctuation in your writing.

Did you know that many people won't take you seriouslly if your writing has a bunch of grammatical mistakes and incorrect punctuation? Don't let this happen to you.

Below is a series of lessons on periods, question marks, explanation marks, apostrophes, quotation marks and parentheses.

After each lesson there are punctuation exercises to test your understanding of the material.

**Please Note: Commas are not explained on this page. To learn how to use commas, click here to learn the ten comma rules.


A period is an end punctuation that comes at the end of a complete sentence.

For more information on what a complete sentence is, click here to learn how to write a sentence.

A period should be used in two circumstances:

  1. After a complete sentence (independent clause) – If you are not sure what an independent clause is, click here to learn about independent and dependent clauses.
  2. Secondly with abbreviations (Mr. Mrs. A.M.).

Punctuation exercises: Add a period where necessary in the following passage.

Ms. Smith was my favorite high school teacher She really was nice Also, she took the time to get to know us There is so much I learned from her I will never forget Ms Smith

For the answers to this exercise, please click here. If you got a lot wrong in this exercise, take the time to review how to write a sentence by clicking here.

Question Marks:

Question marks (?) are used at the end of a complete sentence that is asking a question. Use a quotation mark when a sentence is asking a direct question.

Punctuation exercises: Put a question mark next to the sentences below that need a question mark.

  1. Do you think we are going to be late to the party
  2. I wonder if I should wear my red skirt tomorrow
  3. She asked me if I had two dollars she could barrow
  4. He looked at the girl and asked, “where have you been”

For the answers to these exercises, please click here.

Exclamation Points:

An exclamation point is used to show strong emotion, excitement or to indicate a strong command. Do not over use the use of exclamation points or it will lose its power.

Punctuation exercises: Add an exclamation point to the sentences below that need it.

  1. You scared me to death
  2. Chuck knew they had to stay calm
  3. Stop—it’s a red light

For the answers to these exercises, please click here.


The apostrophe (‘) is used to express a contraction (words in which certain letters have been omitted). In this case, the apostrophe is placed where the missing letter(s) would have been: it’s (it is) or shouldn’t (should not).

An apostrophe is also used to show possession (who or what owns something). Add an apostrophe to a noun or indefinite pronoun to indicate possession. Don’t add an apostrophe to an already possessive noun like his or her.

Example: Samantha’s essay about chimps got an A+. [The apostrophe here indicates that the essay belongs to Samantha].

  • If the noun is already plural, add an apostrophe after the s.

Example: The trees’ apples fell during the storm. [The placement of the apostrophe tells the reader that there are two or more trees.]

  • If two or more people share the possession, then add the apostrophe and an s after the last name.

Example: Bill and Sara’s car broke down on the freeway. The car belongs to both of them so the apostrophe goes after the last name of possession].

Punctuation exercises: Add, delete or move the apostrophe in the following sentences as need. If the sentence is correct, write "C" to indicate that the use of the apostrophe is correct.

  1. Theyre going to be leaving in three days.
  2. My schools cafeteria is open until 9:00 p.m.
  3. The cats were sleeping in the backyard.
  4. The bosses email stated we all were up for termination.
  5. I received all As on my report card.

For the answers to these exercises, please click here.

Quotation Marks:

Quotation marks (“ “) are used to specify a direct quotation or dialogue, to indicate the title of articles, or to specify that a word is used ironically.

Example: Bill Smith said, “Society should never come together just for the sake of peace, but rather for a just cause” (12). [This sentence states a direct quote from Bill Smith.]

Remember you must use correct citation when quoting the words of other. Click here for information on how to use quotes.

Example: In the article, “Healthy Mothers Again” Heather really explains the importance of a mothers overall well-being. [This sentence uses quotation marks to show the title of an article]

Example: “Can I have the check?” he asked the waiter. [This sentence uses quotation marks to specify dialogue]

Example: The word “writing-savvy” is used frequently by individuals who feel confident with their writing. [This sentence uses quotation marks to show emphasis or to define a term]

To learn how to use quotations in your writing, click here. Punctuation Exercises: Place a quotation marks where needed in the following sentence. If the sentence is correct without punctuation marks, write "C".

  1. Stop right now, said the mother.
  2. He asked where the bathroom was.
  3. I love the song Days of Love.
  4. My favorite article is Rise Now or Never Again by Keith Smith.

For the answers to these exercises, please click here.


Parentheses ( () ) are used to give information in citations, to offset nonessential information or to indicate abbreviations.

Example: Bill Smith said, “Society should never come together just for the sake of peace, but rather for a just cause” (12). [The parentheses are used in this sentence to indicate the page number of this quote.]

For a detailed explanation on how to cite sources correctly, click here. Example: The Principal (who also is a teacher) is really excited about the new classrooms coming this fall. [The parentheses here is used to indicate that the information in the parentheses is not essential information]

Example: The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved the new medication. [The parentheses here are used to indicate the abbreviation for the term Federal Drug Administration]

Punctuation Exercises: Add or delete the parentheses in the following passage as needed.

I was surprised to get a list of recipes (I had to cook for the show) that was easy to remember. I love getting easy recipes. It reminds me of a saying I read in the article “Keep the Faith, “Don’t sweat the small stuff, it will all work out how it is supposed to” 46.

For the answers to these exercises, please click here.

By using the correct punctuation in your writing, you can be confident that you are conveying the message you intend to. Remember practice is key. Learn the methods above and practice incorporating them into your writing. Then you will be well on your way to start writing-savvy.

If you need additional help on understanding the use of punctuation or for additional punctuation exercises, please don’t hesitate to click here to contact us.

We are always happy to explain and assist our readers in any way possible.

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