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Punctuation marks are marks indicating how a piece of written text should be read (silently or aloud) and, consequently, understood. The oldest known examples of punctuation marks were found in the Mesha Stele from the 9th century BC, consisting of points between the words and horizontal strokes between sections.[further explanation needed] The alphabet-based writing began with no spaces, no capitalization, no vowels (see abjad), and with only a few punctuation marks, as it was mostly aimed at recording business transactions. Only with the Greek playwrights (such as Euripides and Aristophanes) did the ends of sentences begin to be marked to help actors know when to make a pause during performances. Punctuation includes space between words and the other, historically or currently used, signs.
By the 19th century, the punctuation marks were used hierarchically in terms of their weight. Six marks, proposed in 1966 by the French author Hervé Bazin, could be seen as predecessors of emoticons and emojis.
Meaning of a text can be changed substantially, although in rare cases, with different punctuation, such as in "woman, without her man, is nothing" (emphasizing the importance of men to women), when written "woman: without her, man is nothing" (emphasizing the importance of women to men), instead. Similar change in meaning can be achieved in spoken forms of most languages by using various elements of speech; such as, suprasegmentals. The rules of punctuation vary with language, location, register, and time. Most recently, in online chat and text messages punctuation is used only tachygraphically.