Grade 3 Punctuation

Discover Grade 3 punctuation standards

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By third grade, your child will already be comfortable using a range of basic punctuation. This will typically include the period, question mark, exclamation mark and the comma. If you would like a recap of these areas then you can visit our articles on first grade and second grade punctuation.

In this article, we’re going to focus on some new types of punctuation that your third grade child will need to become familiar with as they compose narratives. As they master these skills, they will then be able to confidently add dialogue and plural possessive pronouns into their stories.


Dialogue is a conversation between characters in a story. When writing dialogue, we use quotation marks to show when a character is speaking.

Quotation marks are used at the beginning and end of spoken words.

Why do giraffes have long necks?said the giraffe.

- Words spoken by the character. Dialogue tags identify the speaker.


Dialogue Tags Before Dialogue

The giraffe asked, “Why do giraffes have long necks?”

-Use a comma after the dialogue tag.

Dialogue Tags in the Middle of Dialogue

Use a comma before the dialogue tag INSIDE the quotation marks.

“So you can reach the leaves in the trees,” Will answered, “right?”

- Use a comma after the dialogue tag.


Apostrophes are punctuation marks that are used to show belonging. When they are used in this way, they are named possessives.

When the noun is singular it is just one person or thing. Will is a singular noun.

To show the hat belongs to Will, we add ‘s .

- Will’s hat

Practice Tip: Ask your child to learn about apostrophes for possession by matching the belongings to the correct person in a fun game like this one below.

Matching person with objects

Some plural nouns end with the letter s. Plural means more than one. When a plural noun ends with s, we add an apostrophe after the s to form a plural possessive.

To show the school belongs to ALL of the kids, we add an apostrophe after the s.

- the kids’ school

Drawing of kids

Challenge your third grader to spot which word is missing the possessive apostrophe in this sentence:

- The lizards tongues flicked all at once.

How Night Zookeeper can help

The Night Zookeeper program is a great place for third-grade children to develop their punctuation skills. There’s a wealth of interactive challenges, games and lessons all designed to give them the opportunity to put their knowledge of punctuation into practice.

Related articles:

Grade 3 Reading

Grade 3 Writing

Grade 3 Grammar

Grade 3 Spelling

Punctuation Resources

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