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punctuation [Lat.,=point], the use of special signs in writing to clarify how words are used; the term also refers to the signs themselves. In every language, besides the sounds of the words that are strung together there are other features, such as tone, accent, and pauses, that are equally significant (see grammar and phonetics). In English, stress, pausing, and tonal changes interlock in a set of patterns often called intonations. Such features are represented by punctuation, indicated by signs inserted usually between words, and often following the feature they mark.

The intonations of declaration are classified in three types, symbolized by the comma (,), used to separate words or phrases for clarity; the semicolon (;), used to mark separation between elements in a series of related phrases, generally in a long sentence; and the full stop, or period (.), used to mark the end of a sentence. Other intonations are shown by the exclamation point (!); the interrogation point, or question mark (?); the parenthesis [( )], used to set off a word or phrase from a sentence that is complete without it; and the colon (:), typically used to introduce material that elaborates on what has already been said. Quotation marks (“ ”) indicate direct quotation or some borrowing, and usually demand special intonation. The ellipsis (…) is used to indicate the place in a passage where material has been omitted or a thought has trailed off. The long dash (—) is especially used in handwriting for incomplete intonation patterns.

Punctuation of material intended to be read silently rather than aloud—the far more usual case today—has introduced refinements designed to help the reader: brackets ([ ]), a secondary parenthesis; capital letters; paragraphing; and indentation. Two other frequent signs are the apostrophe ('), marking an omission of one or two letters, or a possessive case, and the hyphen (-), marking a line division or an intimate joining, as in compound words. These last two are practically extra letters, and their use, belonging with spelling rather than with punctuation, is highly arbitrary.

Each written language has its tradition of punctuation, often very different from that used in English; thus, in German nouns are capitalized, and in Spanish the beginnings of exclamations and of questions are marked with inverted signs. See also accent.


See W. D. Drake, The Way to Punctuate (1971); Words into Type (3d ed. 1974); D. Hacker, A Writer's Reference (4th ed. 1999); Univ. of Chicago Press, The Chicago Manual of Style (15th ed. 2003).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a punctuation mark in the form of a straight horizontal line (—). In the European writing systems, it has a space at either side.

In Russian punctuation, the dash indicates a pause between words or parts of a sentence. It is also used to emphasize intonations in written dialogue that are caused by the emotionality of utterances, and is used between a subject and predicate to replace a copula. In addition, the dash separates direct speech and introductory words from the rest of the sentence and separates coordinating conjunctions to emphasize contrast. The dash must be distinguished from the hyphen.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A flight made at a very high, or near maximum permissible, speed without taking into consideration high fuel consumption. A dash may be made in enemy territory at very low heights, ignoring high fuel consumption temporarily.
An Illustrated Dictionary of Aviation Copyright © 2005 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved


(1) See Amazon Dash and dashboard.

(2) (Dash) (Digital cASH) A privacy-capable cryptocurrency that was derived from the Bitcoin protocol. Run by a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) and launched in 2014 as Xcoin, Dash is faster than Bitcoin and takes less than two seconds for a Dash transaction to complete. Transaction fees are minuscule compared to Bitcoin.

Dash was briefly branded as Darkcoin because of its earlier use on the Dark Web. However, users have to invoke Dash's PrivateSend function to be entirely anonymous, and only a small fraction of Dash users employ this feature.

The Dash platform is a mix of blockchain, cloud storage and Web protocols. Providing human readable names and its own wallet (DashPay), merchants around the world increasingly accept Dash as payment. See DAO, cryptocurrency and privacy coin.
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References in periodicals archive ?
The difference between dash of flavour and 'essences'
Plus everyone who takes on the dash will receive free goody bag and a rosette.
For example, the order page for that box of Hershey assorted candy bars you were jonesing for not only has a link to a virtual Dash button, but also to a subscription button, too.
Interestingly, some groups began debating whether the turn of 90[degrees] should be included in the length of the race and thought it should be calculated because it was a number in the Blockly coding and it was a movement Dash made.
THINKWARE is on the front lines of dash cam innovation, and will also be showcasing many of its latest products during the week, including:
A decision was recently made by Liverpool City Council to close the Churchill Way flyover which has been the most photographed part of the Santa Dash course.
The Claire House Splash Dash will raise funds for Claire House Children's Hospice, a charity which helps seriously and terminally ill children live life to the full.
Upon closing, GTCR will complete its investment in Dash, which it began when it architected the 2017 merger of Dash and the LiquidPoint division of Convergex.
The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet has been studied extensively, has demonstrated effectiveness in reducing blood pressure and is recommended to prevent cardiovascular disease.
THAT JANE AUSTEN USES THE DASH frequently throughout her works and letters is incontrovertible; why and how she uses it is the focus of this essay.
THE UK's biggest road safety charity IAM RoadSmart has warned that the rush of drivers investing in dash cams may not yield any increase in prosecutions for dangerous driving as many hope - and may also lead to fewer visible traffic patrols as officers spend more time analysing amateur footage.
Researchers randomly assigned 103 people with high blood pressure or prehypertension to either a typical American diet or a DASH diet (rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, and low-fat dairy, and low in red and processed meats and sugary drinks).