Punctuation Exercises (Intermediate to Advanced)

Punctuation is the use of symbols in English sentences. These symbols include the period (.), question mark (?), exclaimation (!), comma (,), colon (:), semi-colon (;), apostrophe ('), quotation mark ("), dash (-), em-dash (), and parenthesis (()). Understanding how to properly punctuate sentences is essential for general, academic (EAP), and professional writing.

Feel free to review these pages before doing the exercises:

Many question marks atop eachother

Let the exercise begin. If no punctuation is needed, leave the blank option selected.

Intermediate Punctuation Exercises

  1. Although she was hungry she didn't want to eat.
  2. I don't know who did it
  3. My father loves cooking Tennis is my favorite hobby.
  4. Barack Obama was born in 
  5. Let's go out for dinner, shall we
  6. In the car  she finished the rest of her homework.
  7. I ordered some pizza  a glass of wine.

  

Explanations
  1. When the dependent (subordinate) clause starts a sentence, put a comma at the end of the clause (before the independent clause begins). Read this for help with clauses.
  2. The sentence begins with "I", so this is a statement.
  3. These are two independent clauses. Put a period between them. You should not use a semi-colon here as the sentences are not closely related in topic.
  4. Use a comma between a city and a country's name.
  5. Use a question mark at the end of a tag question.
  6. "In the car on the way to school" is a prepositional phrase. You should put a comma after it so the reader can clearly see that "she" is the subject of the sentence.
  7. Don't use a comma when a list only has two items.

Upper-Intermediate Punctuation Exercises - Group 1

  1. The dog ran outside Then it started barking.
  2. He won a million dollars. In other words, he won 
  3. The boy shouted, "I want some ice cream
  4. The phone rang while I was eating.
  5. "This is the best day of my life said Jim.
  6. You can eat there however, I wouldn't recommend it.

  

Explanations
  1. These are two independent clauses. You cannot join them with a comma (doing so would create a comma splice). To join them, you'd need a conjunction like "and". Because there is no conjunction, the clauses should remain separate with a period.
  2. $1,000,000.
  3. At the end of a sentence, put the final punctuation mark (an exclamation mark here) before the final quotation mark.
  4. Do not use any punctuation here because the dependent clause ("while I was eating.") is at the end of the sentence.
  5. Keep the punctuation inside the quotation mark.
  6. You must use a semi-colon here. There is no conjunction ("however" is an adverb) so you cannot use a comma here (if you do, you create a comma splice). You cannot use a period because "however" is not capitalized.

Upper-Intermediate Punctuation Exercises - Group 2

Note: Select the blank option if no punctuation is needed.

  1. Please bring the following items a hat, sunscreen, a bathing suit, and a towel.
  2. She ordered a pizza, chicken wings, and a salad.
  3. Ottawa is in the province of Ontario.
  4. We went to Chris apartment and then to my parents house.
  5. My mother is a 
  6. Brian picked me up in his car and then we drove to the beach.
  7.  was a day I'll never forget.
  8. She's coming to the meetingI think.

  

Explanations
  1. Use a colon after a complete sentence ("Please bring the following items" is an independent clause) to introduce a list. Help here.
  2. Do not use any punctuation here. You cannot use a colon because "She ordered" is not a complete sentence. Do not put any punctuation between a verb and its object(s).
  3. The phrase "the capital of Canada" is extra information. Use commas, parentheses, or em-dashes to introduce extra information. Help here.
  4. "Chris" is a singular noun, so add an apostrophe + s to it to change it into possessive form. "Parents" is a plural noun ending in 's', so only add an apostrophe to it to change it to possessive form.
  5. The phrase "63 years old" becomes an adjective to describe the noun "woman", so it must be changed to singular form (years > year) and hyphenated.
  6. The phrase 'an old Volkswagen' is extra information describing the car. Use commas, parentheses, or em-dashes to add extra information.
  7. Using the month-date-year format, a comma is required after the year.
  8. Ellipses have three periods, and no spaces before or after.

Advanced Punctuation Exercises

  1. My coach was rightI wasn't prepared which is why I didn't do well.
  2. Expert Joanne Smith explains the cause of the problem Many people are too lazy to recycle.
  3. The website  was created in 2011.
  4. "I don't know whyI cannot find a satisfying job."
  5. The bookdoes not discuss social media.
  6. The countries we visited had delicious restaurants.
  7. The company plans to expand to three countries:
  8. My pet lizard enjoys sleeping.  favorite hobby.

  

Explanations
  1. You can use a colon or em-dash here to introduce the reason why your coach was right. You should not use a comma because "I wasn't prepared" is not extra information; rather, it provides the reason why you believe your coach was right. At the end of the sentence, use a comma before 'which' to introduce a non-defining adjective clause.
  2. After a complete sentence, use a colon to introduce an explanation/reason for the previous sentence. Note that the sentence after the colon can either begin with a capital letter because it also is a complete sentence.
  3. No punctuation is required because the clause is a defining adjective clause.
  4. Again, keep the punctuation within the quotation mark.
  5. This is a good example of the use of an em-dash to emphasize extra information. If you use an em-dash in the middle of a sentence, you need to use one at the beginning of the clause and one at the end.
  6. These countries are extra information in the sentence, so they are offset by commas.
  7. When a list already contains commas, a semi-colon can be used to help avoid confusion.
  8. It is = "It's". Then use "its" to indicate possessive.

Did you find a mistake? Do you have a question? Leave a comment below.

- Exercises created by Matthew Barton (copyright) of EnglishCurrent.com

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26 comments on “Punctuation Exercises (Intermediate to Advanced)

  1. Rose Mary Rai (Posted on 5-7-2023 at 20:35) Reply

    Worth practising!

  2. Afshin (Posted on 5-24-2023 at 00:59) Reply

    The best punctuation exercise

    1. Qamar (Posted on 2-28-2024 at 23:00) Reply

      Good

  3. Afshin (Posted on 5-24-2023 at 01:00) Reply

    Wonderful

  4. Ang (Posted on 7-19-2023 at 21:47) Reply

    Worth!

  5. Jenya (Posted on 7-24-2023 at 08:15) Reply

    I love the exercises and the explanations. They’re brilliant! Thank you!

  6. Aaron Montoya (Posted on 8-17-2023 at 11:45) Reply

    is a litte bit easy

  7. Deepak Sharma (Posted on 9-17-2023 at 06:23) Reply

    Mistakes and Mistakes by me

  8. Mg Jake (Posted on 9-27-2023 at 06:03) Reply

    This is one of my best website for me and my friends. We can gain many knowledge by using this website and Thank you very indeed for invented this. That’s all.

  9. Zareen (Posted on 9-27-2023 at 22:44) Reply

    I think using this website is the best practice before a test. It will help us to learn and gain knowledge about different things because if a mistake is done, the explanation will clear all the confusions. Thank you who invented this website. Best wishes!

  10. Weee (Posted on 10-20-2023 at 09:07) Reply

    Good that was fun

  11. NobodyUKnow (Posted on 10-20-2023 at 10:09) Reply

    It was okay but maybe explain what they are better? It was fun and useful.

  12. Cheezyboi (Posted on 10-20-2023 at 10:13) Reply

    I like it very much

  13. Daddy (Posted on 10-20-2023 at 10:14) Reply

    Nice , ggoood. Job,’”-…

  14. Mirna Castillo (Posted on 11-9-2023 at 06:34) Reply

    Is very important to learn about punctuation marks in order to express in a right way our thoughts.

  15. Lynn Ramos (Posted on 11-9-2023 at 09:04) Reply

    is a good way to better

  16. Benaiah Courage (Posted on 11-26-2023 at 15:03) Reply

    It is really easy

  17. Amara (Posted on 12-7-2023 at 10:17) Reply

    That’s very helpful, thank you!

  18. Mimi (Posted on 12-21-2023 at 12:29) Reply

    Soo good ! :)

  19. K Vishnukarthick (Posted on 1-23-2024 at 21:03) Reply

    Very good excercise

  20. Omg mul kova (Posted on 2-16-2024 at 03:40) Reply

    Good exercise

  21. Kate (Posted on 3-15-2024 at 02:04) Reply

    What means with ; ?

  22. Kobayashi Toyo Kimitsune (Posted on 5-14-2024 at 05:15) Reply

    Good exercise for punctuation.

    1. Adhika buela Askina.R (Posted on 5-20-2024 at 21:55) Reply

      Super exercise

  23. Adhika buela Askina (Posted on 5-20-2024 at 21:56) Reply

    I like the exercise… very easy…. very good ……..l love the exercise ☺️…………. thank you…

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