Suppose you are presenting a speech. If you speak too quickly, your audience will not be able to understand what you are saying. It is important to stop and take a breath a few times as you read from your notes. But how do you know where to pause, where to change your voice, and where to stop? The answer is easy. You can use the punctuation marks you encounter as a guide for your pacing.
Punctuation marks provide visual clues to readers, telling them how they should read the sentence. Some punctuation marks tell you that you are reading a list of items while other marks tell you that a sentence contains two independent ideas. Punctuation marks tell you not only when a sentence ends but also what kind of sentence you have read. This chapter covers different types of punctuation and the meanings they convey.