the practice or system of using certain conventional marks or characters in writing or printing in order to separate elements and make the meaning clear, as in ending a sentence or separating clauses.
the act of punctuating.
punctuation marks.

1530–40; < Medieval Latin pūnctuātiōn- (stem of pūnctuātiō) a marking, pointing. See punctuate, -ion

punctuational, punctuative, adjective
nonpunctuation, noun
repunctuation, noun
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
punctuation (ˌpʌŋktjʊˈeɪʃən)
1.  the use of symbols not belonging to the alphabet of a writing system to indicate aspects of the intonation and meaning not otherwise conveyed in the written language
2.  the symbols used for this purpose
3.  the act or an instance of punctuating

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1539, "pointing of the psalms," from M.L. punctuationem (nom. punctuatio) "a marking with points," from punctuatus, pp. of punctuare "to mark with points or dots," from L. punctus "a prick" (see point). Meaning "system of inserting pauses in written matter" is recorded from 1661.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
In this lesson, students reflect on how punctuation shapes meaning, then
  research guidelines for correct usage.
Figures of speech, parentheses, and punctuation demand notice.
Thus, if an extract ends with a full stop or question-mark, put the punctuation
  before the closing inverted commas.
Don't worry about spelling or punctuation until you are through writing your
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