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English Grammar: Punctuation Rules and Practices for English Language Learners

teacher avatar Top Skills &., Skills for job & work success

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

11 Lessons (47m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Comma

    • 3. Colon

    • 4. Semicolon

    • 5. Speech marks

    • 6. Apostrophe

    • 7. Hyphens

    • 8. Dashes

    • 9. Parentheses, brackets

    • 10. Slash

    • 11. Finish a sentence

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About This Class

English Grammar: Punctuation Rules and Practices for English Language Learners

Join the class and learn practical punctuation rules and practices. The class improves English language skills, and by learning with us you can improve the accuracy of your written communication. Real life examples used throughout the class help you to learn faster and more effectively.

Participation in this class will enable you to understand how and when to use punctuation in your written communication. Learning punctuation is important, using it properly also shows quality of your written English (might be challenging - especially if English is not your first language). This class will help you to write clearer messages when you write email, reports. The class shares practical advise on how to use punctuation in your writing every day.

At the end of this class you will be able to use punctuation with great confidence. Have a higher English level at writing emails, letters, messages, and also have a higher English level at reading. Your written sentences will be clearer, and you will make a better impression. Below are just a few of the topics that you will master:

     Decide when to use comma (,)

     Confidently write using colon (:) and semicolon (;)

     Use speech marks (") and apostrophe (') properly

     Integrate hyphen (-), dash (-) and slash (/) into your sentences

     End your sentences with the correct punctuation (., ?, !)

Looking forward to seeing you in the class. If you have any question please just add to the Discussions section.

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Top Skills &.

Skills for job & work success


The Top Skills and Business English Academy is specialised for management skills and business English teaching, involving state-of-the art technology in the educational process.

Our high-quality E-learning courses help people to learn practical skills like MS Excel, and professional English for work purposes.

We are based in the United Kingdom. We are committed to share only the most common and relevant real-life examples informed by business practice. Helping you to perform better at work is our passion. Our management team has 30+ years of business experience from Cambridge to London City, as well as MSc and PhD business degrees from Europe and the United Kingdom.

Students who complete our courses are able to work more effectively, and significantly increase their... See full profile

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1. Introduction: how to use punctuation correctly in the English language. You'll learn things like apostrophes, commerce brackets and many more interesting things. A confident that you will improve your English with us. I look forward to welcoming us. One of our students thanks very much. 2. Comma: an essential part of the English punctuation. To know it is the common. They're the comma is no very difficult, and the main difficulty will be for you to know when to use the comma or aunt. So when to use the comma versus and is one of the most important things to view to know we use the common for many things. So it is not possible to give you one rule to say when you should say when you strike to comment or use. And but to start with some of the most important ways to use the comma, we can. First, the cat lists. OK, so when you want to say more than one thing, you want to say something, another thing, another thing. Something else. Another thing. Use a comma in between the words. So you say bag comma for comma wall is so we used the list. We use the comma to make a list, and this is very common in the mid in a sentence. So you don't say a bag on phone on while it's you would say bag Well, it's if he wants to say only two things in your list. You can lose the lose the comma and you can simply say bag on phone. You have three things you can say Bag, Phone. Andi will it with the comma between bag. And if you want to say four things, it would be the last calmer you lose and you have. And so there is a rule with the cop with making a list. Use a comma apart from the last one use. And okay, the second way that you could use a comma is for adjectives. So when you are listing the adjectives off something like a big, expensive house, use a coma between big and expensive. You can't say big on expensive, but it's more common and normal to say a big, expensive house when you're using adjectives, you could use this. You could you many, many adjectives you could say a nice, big, expensive country house, a nice, big, expensive, um, Victorian country house so you could keep adding these adjectives to make the house more specific and to tell people more information about the type of house. Okay, so that's a good way to to use the comma to make your sentence more that true and more complex. The third way that you can use the comma is to connect to ideas in one sentence. So you could say, for example, I like marketing. That's the first idea. The second idea would be that I've studied marketing at university, for example. So how do we connect these? We need a word which connects the two, and we need a common. So you would say I like marketing come up, which to be at which I studied at university so we can do this in many different ways. You could say something like, um, I am going on holiday very soon Coma. So I need to finish my work very soon. So again, we're connecting to ideas were using another word connecting word like which, or so we could use words like but Or however, these are ways in which we can connect to ideas using the common Okay. We can also use the comma to express non essential ideas. For example, you may say someone's name. Sonya. Comma daughter off call Common is 28 years old. So with this use of a comma, we are saying that the most important idea in the sentence is Sonia is 28 years old. It is not essential for you to know that Sonja is calls daughter. But you can add this extra detail if you want to use another example, you could say Sonia, comma, 28 years old is called Stop. So you see, the difference on this means that the most important idea in that sentence is Sonia is called starter. The least important idea is that Sonja is 28 years old. So using the comma weaken put one idea is more important than another. The next way to use the common is for numbers. So there are different rules of how to use the comma in different countries for numbers in much of Europe, use the comma. If you want to say part apart, a fraction off something, so you may say one comma 70 euros. That would be one euro 70. But in the English speaking world, we do not use the comma. We use the full stop period, so use the point says sometimes you would have you always. You would hear people say one won't one euro 70 or if you, if it was you, a number rather than currency you would say 1.7. So no one comma seven, but one point step. Okay, we do use the common for numbers, but it's for very big numbers. So if we have a number like 1.7 million, we would write this as one comma 700 comma 000 That is a way which we talked about really big numbers. If we were to use the number 20,000 the common would be used. It would be 2020 comma 000 So that's how you write numbers in English, which is really, really important for everybody today. Now, another way that we could use. The comma is a more advanced way, and it's called the Oxford Comma, the Oxford comma. It's where you use a comma, Andi, the word at So you use the comma on. Then you say Aunt also so, like I said, it's not essential to do to use the Oxford comma, and some people think it is wrong, but it is good. It is fine. So you can say I went to the shops and bought some things. This sentence is equally her. Equally valid on it is acceptable if you leave the car. If you lose the comma and simply say, I went to the shops and bought some things, so that is your choice. What you do now? I hope those those five or six ways to use the common have helped you and started to make you think some more about how to use the comma. It is common in all all of the English language. We never say the word comma. So when you're saying when you're speaking in English, you never say the word comma. It is always silent. Well, I hope this has been helpful to you recommend if you have any questions to read, watch this video again to help you become more familiar with the different ways in which you can use the comma in when you're trying to communicate in English thinking. 3. Colon: the colon is really important part of punctuation in the English language, because it's often used in a variety of different formats in a variety of different ways of communicating, such as e mails in documents. We use the colon without saying it when we speak, so we never say the word cola when we speak. But it is implied. So it is great to understand how to use the phone, and that's what going to explain to you now. Firstly, so we use the Kolat firstly, to make a list. So whenever you need to make a list, you could use the colon. This will help you to clarify what your list ISS shortly clearly So, for example, please include the following and then you have to come up. Then you might have some bullet when it's underneath like I have, you might have some numbers or some letters A B, C. 123 But here it's bullet points, so please include the following bullet 0.1 your name to your age. 30 Bullet point Why you want to the job. So these examples of something you might find on a on a job advertisement asking you to create a cover letter, a letter to explain to the potential employer about you and why you want the job. So there is one example of using the colon to make a list, so this helps you to make the point more clearly to say things short so you can express what what you need in this. Advertising can say what they need from you, and they can say these ideas very easily, So we might find these in things like contracts. If you are. If you have a contract for product or use a service perhaps over the Internet, you could find the terms and conditions on. Often they will have clauses. Sentences which have cones and then the colon will be followed by a list off one thing or another. Men usually more than one thing you have in a list after you may also find the colon, it's summaries. So in business, for example, when there is a lot of information or data, sometimes it's best to give the general idea general ideas so that someone does not need to read too much. For example, you may have summary of financial performance. One mother and you may say the financial performance Waas as follows. And then you might have some bullet points or numbers reflecting on, for example, the revenue or profit costs, the number of customers and so on and so forth. So here we creating another list, another way to say many things. In one sentence, no one sent many, many points in one place. Now there are some ways in which using car long is incorrect. So if you were to say I won't colon X wise it, this would be inappropriate. So it would be better to say I want these things ex wise it so you cannot use the code on when this sentence makes sense. When the sentence is good, you cannot insert a colon. It needs to be that I want these things is one sentence that works and then you have colon after because I want these things. It's good I want Does not make is bad English. You need to want something. I want these things kulak x wise. It 4. Semicolon: one of the more confusing parts of punctuation in the English language is a semi colon. Semi colon confuses some English people as well as foreign people, so don't worry. But I will help you now to understand semi colon so that you can if you need to use the cynical and if you don't need to use it, then at least you. You can understand it when you need to read English writing and you can understand what what it means. So essentially, the semi colon is used to join two related sentences together. That's the main idea that you need to remember. It is a way to essentially, say, on between two sentences, so you have one sentence which is complete and which ends in a full stop or period. And then you have another second sentence, which is complete, and that ends in full stop or period or some other fun for perhaps a question medical exclamation mark. If you want to join the sentences together, you can do so using the semi colon, as you see, and it looks like it does. It looks like a call a comma on a full stop because that's what it does. It joins the two sentences where there normally is. No no connection. Normally you have simply a full stop. It's like a comma because it joins two things together. But we need they are. They are not. You cannot simply join them with common because the grammar would no be right. So you need to use a semi colon that will connect the two sentences and make them very close and related. So you need to remove the full stop and you need to add this Emmy. That's how you how you used this Emmy. Like I said, it makes the two sentences to closer together So you could use this brutes all with something like two sentences such as these. He had felt extremely stressed at work. He quit. So what you do is you put a semi colon in between and then you connect the feeling off being stressed to the decision to quit his job. So you bring the two together and you connect them. That's all it is. A second example would be the sentence the author stated. X y is it the office stated. Ex West stated something on the sentence. The book suggests it is true good. The book suggests it is true, so we can connect these to, say, the office stated. X Y. Said Semi Colon. The book suggests industry that connects the two things and suggest it is what the author said. So we bring these two together now. When do you actually find the sandy? Well, it's only the main. I would say 1999% of the occurrences off a Semi co are in books or academic work, so you might find it. If you are reading a novel, you might find that the author writes in a very long way and wants to connect many sentences together in one paragraph. Or you may find in an academic essay that there are many ideas in one paragraph on the person writing. The person writing wants to connect all of those ideas together. So, really, for every day, English for business, English, for English, for traveling off tourism. You don't necessarily need this any longer, but it's not something to worry about because, as I've explained, it's very simple. It's only to connect two sentences to make them a bit closer together. So don't worry if you don't feel confident in using it. You don't need to. You can always simply use a full stop and starts a new sentence. Hopefully, that's helped you to feel less confused about this. Any hope. 5. Speech marks: speech marks really important. If you're reading a lot in English, you need to know what they mean. What the meaning of speech marks is when you wrote So you speech box for a few different reasons. The 1st 1 is to give direct quotations. So exactly the same words that someone says you use speech marks. Sometimes people actually use this with their hands. They do this. They on this, these two fingers on either the's means speech box so you can see how they look similar to the lights of the speech boat Now example of this would be Hay said that screen. So you can see, he said, That's great and that's great, is what he said. So we can simply say, he said, That's great. Another way that we can use speech marks is for referencing book names or names of works of art. So sometimes in academic work you may see speech marks depending on your style of referencing. That could mean a certain book, Phil Play publication said for different clients. If a piece of public works about you can actually use speech marks Teoh give the title, for example, you may see the name Harry Potter in speech box. So this is a one example of how you can use uses beach marks for for a second reason, which is book names over our names. Ah, final way that you can use speech marks is for new words in English. So sometimes in English, we create new words and add these to the language because they express an idea which is not expressed by the existing words in English. For example, two new words which have been created in English, a combination off existing words to create a new meaning with the 1st 1 is staycation. Okay, so this combines the word stay onto the word vacation and it creates them into the word staycation, which means a type of vacation where you stay at home so your vacation is not spent in another country or another city, but you stay in your house and have your vacation. Another example is entertainment, so normally this does not exist in the dictionary. But in recent years, the combination off education and entertainment has meant that we have created a new word, which is entertainment and used the speech box When you, when you introduced this idea, either in writing or like I said with your hands when you're speaking, because it is a new idea and you need people to know what you mean. So sometimes you may say entertainment is the combination off education and entertainment. So this is another way in which we can. We can say something has two qualities, or it's a new word. We use the speech marks, so you may find that these examples of speech marks are very common in books because obviously we have quotations in books. When there is a dialogue, when people speak, you need to use the quotation marks. You may find them in magazine interviews. So when someone speaks in in a magazine to the interviewer, they do you want to see the speech marks because you need them to show that it is what the person is saying also may find them in journals, academic business journals, trade publications. Thes could refer Teoh, other other works of off our books or academic books, business books, different types of types of publications. And you could you could see this in journals as well and finally, would would likely see these speech marks in academic work. So an academic work, whether it be something artistic or something, like an essay or dissertation, depending on your style of referencing, you're likely to see some speech marks used on probably some quotations as well in some academic work. So these are some different places. You find speech marks on hope that helps you to understand a few of the different ways in which we can use them in English to your advantage when you need to communicate. 6. Apostrophe: the apostrophe is one of the most importance and most confusing parts of punctuation in English language. The apostrophe is the line which will see in the middle of a word or at the end of a word. There are two main ways in which we use the apostrophe in the English language. These are very different. And you need Teoh recognize when you read a word with the apostrophe, which one it means. Okay, so the 1st 1 is possession. This means that something is mine or yours or his or hers or ours or theirs. But there's other ways to say that we don't always say it is minorities yours. We have been used the apostrophe and s to to show that something belongs to. So, for example, you may say Marx bag. So someone who is called Mark and they they have a bag. You can say the bag is marks. Bag. Okay, so you add the apostrophe and that s that's the regular way for you to do it because it ends in K even ended in an s like Mattias his bag. That is a different. This incident s so we had an apostrophe after this and then we don't Readiness. Okay, so that's this firstly marks bag, which is apostrophe plus s. Secondly, Matias name isn't tinnitus. Matias is back. Is explosive apostrophe. Okay, so the two ways in which you can show possession on that that rule is the same any time that you see on s at the end of a word or an apostrophe s. But there is another way, so sometimes you will see its. So it's it's can be misunderstood sometimes by English people as well as foreign us. And this shows the second way of using an This is contractions. What I mean by contractions is too short words. So when you short of words, you can combine two words into one An example would be do not becoming Don't another example. This will not becoming won't. Furthermore, you could use the example you will to become your I will becomes ill and it is becomes its so these are quite simple. But remember the pronunciation. So when you see the apostrophe, that letter afterwards do not pronounce it the same way as you would pronounce the two words. So this is do you know what, but we changed this, saying the pronunciation from Do not to don't Okay, so try not to say it the same way, but it it means exactly the same thing. Do not don't are exactly the same Now it's like a set can be confusing because it's apostrophe s means it is. It does no mean it as a possession. So you could refer Teoh a business or an animal as it You can do that in English, refer to an animal. Is it rather than well as well as he or she you can call it animal it and you may say it. It has a A column. So you may say a dog wears a collar around its neck. Now, would you say that this is its color with an apostrophe or without an apostrophe? Actually, it's without. So when you see it apostrophe s, that means it is so you should not use that for its color. This would be without now. Like I said, remember the pronunciation when you're reading English or when you're when you're listening because it is different. The difference between you'll and you will, or the difference between marks on bond markets obviously clear But finally, I'd like to say the times when you can find the apostrophe very common. So you will find the apostrophe in spoken English in e mails in business, the one place that you will probably not see the apostrophe very much is in academic English. So in academic English on some formal written English like contracts, for example, you will not see the contractions very much. So you can still use the apostrophe pork for possession in academic English. If you want to say marks bag or to say the businesses it, please businesses. Employees, you don't add a letter because it ends in X, the businesses employees. You can use this apostrophe in that sense, but you would not use the contractions. See would not use words like Don't, won't you? I'll, for example, these will not be found in four words in English. I hope that this has helped you. Like I said at the beginning, it's a little confusing if you can study the differences off when you use apostrophes for possession when you use an apostrophe, too short words to bring to works together, and it really help you to understand not only when you read English, but when you when you listen to other people, native speakers because they are so common throughout the spoken English on written English . 7. Hyphens: the hyphen is another piece of punctuation that you can use on. You find regularly in English so well, we never say iPhone. We do use it in. All right, so it comes up very often, and it looks explain now how to use it. To use this, use the hyphen when we need to add words together so often you find two words on it together. Two or three or four words, and it together on it saves you some words. It can make the sentence smaller and shorter. If you use the hyphen, for example, you may say two colors blue and red. Maybe you could say the bag is blue and red, or you can say that bag is blue Hyson. This is a way to cut down the words in the sentence and to emphasize that it is a mixture off two things or more on example that we could use to really emphasize how this can change the sentence dramatically is this example. So what was initially a sentence, which is very long, becomes a very short sentence. So the sentence I work in the office, which is out of the town, is quite a long sentence. We could make this a lot shorter by saying I work in the out of town office so we don't need words unnecessarily. Like which or is we can delete these words when we simply go with shorter sentence. Another example that you might you might find useful is the product has a state of the art design. Okay, So this, rather than being a a way to make a sense and shorter state of the art, is a specific phrase which means really new and innovative means something really creative . Something like you may say the iPad has a state of the art design, or maybe it is being copied now. But the idea is that if something is state of the art youth use these hyphens to to describe that that way of being really new and creative. So some some phrases simply have the hyphen in a long time, and you can you can ignore Sometimes you you put two words together, Andi, you find that he actually means the same thing if you don't have a hyphen. So don't worry too much about the hyphen, but very mind when when you when you see it. Usually it is. It means it is some kind of combination. So because it is often for new ideas and new words to combine words in new ways you might find the hyphen is commonly used in articles with that would be on the Internet, online foreign magazines. So when they're discussing new new things, new ideas, new ways to talk about things they commonly produced hyphens to create it, you idea. 8. Dashes: the dash or dashes or another part of punctuation that you should know. Essentially, these mean aunt and you can use one, too, in one sentence. We use this when we need to add another idea to the sentence. But maybe an idea which is not very, very, very connected to the to the main idea in the sentence. For example, you may say James Dash and his wife, Dash Waas, welcome. So we are saying James Waas, Welcome. That's the idea. But then we add a second idea into the sentence using dashes. So this is a way which we can include another idea. But it is not needed for the for the first idea. So the sentences OK, but we can add more depth. We can add more information, more detail. We can improve the quality of the writing by adding and adding these two dishes. Another example using only one dash would be. Matt loved walking. He was dash. He was very fit to hear. The main idea is mad love loved walking, but we are adding the secondary idea were saying he was very fit. So this is relating to the first idea. But we do not need. He was fit because the sentences is good anyway. It's a way to improve the sentence to add more detail. So these dishes you may see commonly in books and magazines you will find them in books and magazines, especially because there are ways in which to improve the quality of the writing. There are ways which you can wish you can add more detail, whereas perhaps in spoken English on in things like e mails in business English, maybe you need less detail. To be more direct is a better way of communicating. 9. Parentheses, brackets: briquettes are really important in English because they are used quite often on Sometimes. The information in the breakfast is really important for you to do not lose or miss the main idea which you need. So we use brackets to add extra information to your writing. We never say brackets, so you never When you are speaking, you would never say that word brackets. You would only use it in your written English, and it really means something similar to on. And as you can see, you always use two brackets, so you never just use one. So brackets is always there, always used as a pair on. So if you open brackets, you must always close them. There are two forms of brackets. There are round brackets, which normally are referred to as simply break. It's only brackets, that's enough. And then there are square brackets. Normally, you hear them revert to this way a square brackets, but sometimes you may see see them referred to as parentheses. Now parentheses is not. It is not a common word in English. So many people don't know this word originator believe from Latin, so it's he's got a brute in other Latin languages, but in English, we normally say brackets rather than parentheses. Now which of the two do you use? Normally, you should use the round brackets is really quite bread for you to use the square brackets , the parentheses on if you want to speak. If you're communicating in e mails where if it is a piece of academic work, it is a business publication. Normally you would use the round brackets. There are only certain types of referencing, which maybe you need to use in academic work, which would, which you would need to use the square brackets for, especially in your in your reference list. The list of books that you have used to help you create a dissertation or or an essay. But like, as I said, brackets are used to meet to add an extra eso an extra detail to the sentence so you can use this to add some information that may be is too long to put in the main idea. It's too long to put in the sentence so you can use the brackets to just add some extra information. Maybe it's not critical. Maybe maybe it's not essential, but if you're reading English. Sometimes you may find it really important information for you in the brackets, So that's why it's important to know that you can. You can always understands the brackets as like it's like on. And so brackets simply mean on. So generally you will find brackets used in everyday communication like emails on Hopefully , this will make it easier for you. You can see a few examples here of how we can use brackets, and hopefully that helps you. 10. Slash: the slash is a very important part of punctuation. As you can see, it is a diagonal line which it used essentially to mean. Or so we use this slash in order to say when two things are equal or to save, there are options or choices. So when you have two choices which are written, for example, let me know if you are vegetarian. Slash if you have any food allergies, this is something you might see in an email. If someone is asking you what food you want for an event, so tell me if you are vegetarian slash have any food allergies? Another example that we can use is, for example, I am a musician slash photographer. So this is when you are saying you have to jobs and you are saying they are equal. You don't want to say you you There is not really a word which you can say to say you are a musician and photographer. So you concerned musician slash photographer. So it's a way for you to say different things in 11 way. So we actually also used to slash when we are speaking about So, as I have told you, you can say I am a musician, slash photographer said. This is a way that we actually use the word. It's not only punctuation, which is written in this way. It is quite different from some of the other parts of punctuation, such as a full stop period, which you don't necessarily say when in your spoken English, so that makes the slouch slightly unique. And like I said, often we use the slash to to show different options and choices. So you may see this in e mails when someone is asking you different, different options or choices for you to make. Or you may also see this in a survey. If someone is providing you with two different choices, or or even three or four, you can use many slashes as you want and that can. That can also be transferred to your spoken English. So when you speak, you can use slash more than one time as well 11. Finish a sentence: when you're finishing a sentence, it's really important to use the correct punctuation. There are three types of punctuation to end a sentence I'd like to talk to you about in this video. The first is the full stop. Also referred Teoh s period in the UK we refer to This is the full stop. She can see what it is exactly the same thing in the USA, where they refer to it as a period now. Usually the full stop is never, never say the full stock. So it's only is silent completely. But sometimes you may hear it's set in America. Sometimes if people want to emphasize its spoken English to emphasize the full stop to emphasize the period, they would say their sentence and then say period. So, for example, I hope we win the competition period. So this would be to say that they really hope they win the competition. That's the most important thing they hoped for. Okay, so that's the first type of punctuation. The second type of punctuation we we can use to finish a sentence is the question mark. The question mark is used when you want to ask something to somebody again. You do not say this in your spoken English, but it z essential in your Britain. English. You need Teoh. Use the question mark in order to let the reader know that you have asked a question. This is very common. It's the only way to ask a question so unique. It's absolutely essential to know how to use the question Mark. But for example, before I move on to the next way, Teoh use to finish a sentence. A question? Well, we may use an extended example like this. How is your business? Performing question, Mark. So it's something where you expect a reply from the person. Perhaps this would be used in an email very frequently. Any time you email somebody, usually you will ask a question even to ask. Is that Okay? I would want to ask. Do you have any questions for me? A question mark. Okay, so the next way to finish your sentence would be the exclamation mark. You may see the exclamation mark a lot, but I do not believe that you need to use the exclamation mark very much. We used the exclamation mark in order to finish a sentence like you are shouting, speaking very loudly or to finish a sentence with anger. So if you are angry, you can finish this sentence with an exclamation mark. Also, sometimes it can mean a surprise or excitement. So you may. You may not need this. Uh, sure. You don't need to use the exclamation mark for business English? Usually when you are traveling, you do no need to need. Teoh. Use that the exclamation mark as well. Normally you would see the exclamation mark off from things like films. Perhaps TV Siri's possibly also social media. So you could you could perhaps receive some email, some emails that you do not want to receive Some spam. Now, you might respond to this email saying replying by Please don't Please don't email me or please stop emailing me exclamation mark, This shows that you are not happy with the person that email to you. Okay, so again, this is not very common. And it is if you use the exclamation mark in your general writing, it does sound like you are shouting. So it is not polite. You would say that an exclamation mark is usually in polite. Okay, so remember that most of the time you use a full stop unless you asking a question. When you when you use a question mark on some occasions very, really. You can use the exclamation mark as well.