Grade 5 Punctuation

Discover Grade 5 punctuation standards

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Punctuation is important to ensure the reader clearly understands the intended meaning of a sentence. This is a lesson that your fifth-grade child will have been taught earlier in their school years, where they will have covered such basics as using sentence ending punctuation and quotation marks.

Once your child moves through the grade levels, the complexity of the punctuation they are expected to use increases, however many children still benefit from reviewing previous learnings. If you would like to go through some of the earlier grade content with your child, then it is all available from the links in the navigation bar above. We have prepared this article to talk you through some key concepts and examples of punctuation use that they’ll be expected to know by the end of Grade 5.

Commas and Semicolons in a Series

A series is a list of three or more items.

If those items are single words, then we can separate them using a comma.

After each item in the list, we include a comma:

- Sam the Spying Giraffe likes to eat bananas, apples, pizza, and ice cream.

If the items in the list contain commas, then we separate the items with a semicolon. Often, you will use a colon (:) to introduce this type of list.

Example: There are lots of talented animals in The Pink Punk Birds band: Florence the flamingo, vocals; Fingle the fox, flute; Viola the vole, violin; and Chan the cheetah, cello.

  • Each item in the list includes the animal’s name, species, and role in the band
  • A semicolon separates each item in the list
  • A comma separates the animal and their instrument within each item

Practice Tip: You could challenge your child to take a quiz involving missing colons or incorrectly placed colons. You could create some questions very simply on paper, or you could use the quizzes available on just like the one pictured below.

Selecting sentences on Night Zookeeper game

Commas in Sentences

Sentences are made up of clauses, which are different parts of a sentence. A main clause is a complete thought, which makes sense on its own. Another name for a main clause is an independent clause.

Sometimes we add an introductory element to the beginning of a sentence before the main clause. The introductory element can be a dependent clause (a clause which doesn’t make sense on its own) or an adverb.

The introductory element begins the sentence. Always follow an introductory element with a comma. The independent clause makes sense on its own as a complete thought.

Dependent Clause Example:

When he got home, Will grabbed a drink and went up to his room.

Adverb Example:

Earlier, Riya made a beautiful collage for Florence.

Commas in Dialogue

When we respond to a question, we need to use commas to help make our response clear. If you respond to a question with yes or no, always separate these responses from the rest of your sentence with a comma.

Example 1

“Did you have a good time?” asked Will.

“Yes, I had a great time!” said Riya.

Example 2

“Do you think the Night Zookeeper will let the Voids into Igloo City?” asked Eek.

“No, never!” said the Professor emphatically.

Similarly, when you address somebody, use a comma to separate their name from the rest of the sentence:

“Hi, Will,” said a girl’s voice.

Titles of Works

When you refer to a book title or the title of a piece of work in your writing, you need to punctuate it correctly. There are three different ways to do this! Just make sure you are consistent throughout your writing with the style you choose.


  • In The Giraffes of Whispering Wood, Will accidentally creates a mysterious portal during a trip to the zoo.

‘Quotation Marks’:

  • InThe Giraffes of Whispering Wood, Will accidentally creates a mysterious portal during a trip to the zoo.


  • In The Giraffes of Whispering Wood, Will accidentally creates a mysterious portal during a trip to the zoo.

How Night Zookeeper can help

On, we have challenges, quizzes, games, and activities where your child can learn and practice their punctuation while having fun within a gamified world where they’ll be able to express themselves creatively through the stories, poems and articles they write.

Related articles:

Grade 5 Reading

Grade 5 Writing

Grade 5 Grammar

Grade 5 Spelling

Punctuation Resources

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