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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).
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.
dash(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.