Grade 3 Punctuation

Discover Grade 3 punctuation standards

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. Looking for a recap? Visit our first grade and second grade punctuation pages!

In third grade, learners will have to correctly apply punctuation rules as they write, and they'll learn how to use their new skills to 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.

Practice Tip

Your third grader can learn how to write dialogue with the lesson Igloo City Mystery, from the lesson series Wonderful Words With Will. Available now on Night Zookeeper!

Dialogue lesson on, displayed on laptop screen.


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

Your third grader can learn about apostrophes for possession by matching the belongings to the correct person in a fun game like this one below.

Apostrophe challenge on, displayed on laptop screen.

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

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

Night Zookeeper logo, displayed on tablet screen.

Night Zookeeper covers all the key punctuation rules your third grader needs to learn to move on to fourth grade and beyond. Whether used as a supplemental resource or as your homeschool language arts curriculum, Night Zookeeper will make reading and writing fantastically fun for your child!

Our award-winning language arts program includes thousands of third grade punctuation activities, including exciting games, lesson series, printable worksheets, and free resources!

Sign up today to access third grade punctuation activities and get a FREE 7-day trial!

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