Skip to main content


OWL logo

Welcome to the Purdue OWL

This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.

Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.

This vidcast provides a quick overview of several common elements of punctuation, including commas and semi-colons. Punctuation is not just a matter of correctness; it also contributes to meaning by helping readers understand how pieces of information within a sentence relate to one another. The accompanying handouts discuss in further detail how punctuation contributes to meaning and emphasis in sentences and share strategies for taming comma usage. 

Note: Closed-captioning and a full transcript are available for this vidcast. 


The Meaning of Punctuation (PDF)

Proper punctuation plays an important role in well-constructed sentences, be it a dash to add emphasis to an idea or a semi-colon to signal the closeness of two independent thoughts. This handout explains the purpose and use of the semi-colon, colon, dash, and hyphen, as well as offers suggestions to practice proper punctuation. 

Taming Commas (PDF)

The comma is a common punctuation mark that occupies an important place in well-constructed sentences. This handout outlines the proper use of commas and explains the role of the commas in connecting such things as coordinating conjunctions, independent and dependent clauses.