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Literacy Skills Test: Punctuation

Literacy Skills Test: Punctuation2018-10-27T12:49:36+00:00

When practising for your QTS Literacy Skills Test, getting back into apostrophes and colons isn’t the most exciting work but it is important to know how to use punctuation correctly as you will get tested on it. Try the Literacy Skills Test practice questions below and use the guidance notes to help you recap how to use different types of punctuation and in what scenarios to use them.

Section 1: Punctuation marks and how they are used

Full stop .

Flip to see when used

Used at the end of a sentence

E.G: It is raining.

Capital letters. ABC

Flip to see when used

Used for proper nouns.

E.G. Chris went to Asda at Leeds

Comma ,

Flip to see when used

Commas can be used or separate items in lists, before speech marks and to separate clauses in a sentence.

E.G. Rome, the capital of Italy,

Question mark ?

Flip to see when used

Used at the end of an interrogative sentence.

E.G. Are you ready for the test?

Exclamation mark !

Flip to see when used

Used at the end of an exclamatory sentence and to show strong feeling.

E.G. Help!

Apostrophe ‘

Flip to see when used

Used in contractions and to show ownership.

E.G. I can’t take it because it’s Mary’s book.

Speech marks “ ”

Flip to see when used

Used to show the actual words spoken or being quoted.

E.G. He said, “I can do that.”

Colon :

Flip to see when used

Used before lists or a list of sentences.

E.G. I have lots to do before I am ready for my holiday: do the washing and ironing, take the dog to the kennels, pack, leave a note for the neighbours

Semi-colon :

Flip to see when used

Used to separate two sentences that are linked.

E.G. It’s my birthday; I’m having a party.

Brackets ( )

Flip to see when used

Used to separate or emphasise pieces of related information.

E.G. Rome (the capital of Italy) has many famous tourist attractions.

Inverted commas. ‘ ’

Flip to see when used

Used to emphasise a point.

E.G. He said I must have ‘dreamt’ it.

Dash. -

Flip to see when used

Used informally to add extra information.

E.G. Punctuation marks – explained.

Hyphen. -

Flip to see when used

Used to form a compound word by joining two words.

E.G. Size-zero.

Ellipsis. …

Flip to see when used

Used to show something is unfinished.

E.G. He said he wouldn’t be back…
Section 2: Apostrophes – the ownership rule

Use an apostrophe after the owner or owners.

Ask yourself, “Who is the owner?”


For example:

The cat’s milk = cat is the owner

The cats’ milk = cats are the owner


Add an to each of the following sentences below:

1. The dogs toys are in the garden. (1 dog)

2. The mans chair is ready for collection.

3. The girls school is having an open day (more than one girl)

4. The shops manager is on holiday.

5. The builders apprentice is ill today.


Now for some that are a bit more difficult but the same rule applies: ‘use an apostrophe after the owner or owners.’

For Example:

The womans car is full of toys.  =  The woman’s car is full of toys.

Try these examples below:

1. The Citizens Advice Bureaux is closed on Sundays.

2. The dogs tail is wagging.

3. The governments policies are confusing the students.

4. My mums house is over there in the woods.

5. The worlds religions have both similarities and differences.

6. The horses tails are flicking flies.

7. The childrens bikes are in the sheds.

8. The mens room is closed for repairs.

9. The builders apprentice is ill today.

10. The elephants trunks were covered with mud and flies.

11. The cats collar is loose

12. Britains economy was being studied by the economists

13. The womens books are in the metal cabinets

14. The mans houses are for sale with the local estate agents

15. I’m going to my dads

Section 3: Speech Marks

Note (in the example below) the capital letters, comma, question mark and speech marks.

E.G. He asked, “Why are you doing that?”

The quoted sentence begins with a capital letter because this shows it was the start of the speaker’s sentence.

The end of the sentence will include, as appropriate, a full stop, question or speech mark.

If the text is a dialogue then each new speaker will follow the same rules but will be on a separate line from the previous speaker and indented.

For example:

Omar said, “I really hope the new manager starts soon because the team needs some guidance with the project that is due to start next month.”

Jan answered, “I’ve heard he has to give three months’ notice.”


Insert the correct speech marks and punctuation below:

Julie asked did you do the shopping for tea Mark had no time to answer before she continued saying I knew you would forget. Marks temper was rising and he left the room before he said something he would regret.

An hour later, and hungry Julie was at the womens institute listening to the duo of speakers. We need to take action and you can help. Her colleague interrupted saying helping could be either giving some time to help with the cause or donating money if due to work commitments, time isnt an option.

Section 4: Original Writing

Before we leave the punctuation section it would be useful to check your understanding. Write approximately 50 – 80 words about a person you know or a fictional character who is speaking with at least one other person. Within your text try to use an example of each of the punctuation marks listed above.

Show your tutor your work.