Despite its everyday relevance, the reputation of punctuation is tarnished. Actually, modern English punctuation is often considered not more than a necessary evil. For many people, punctuation usage follows seemingly arbitrary and unmotivated rules. The present approach moves away from a static, rule-based description towards a more dynamic, context-based interpretation of punctuation. Punctuation is a highly versatile medium-dependent means of presentational choice. To accept this view is to take a significant step towards closing the gap that still exists between punctuational theory and the actual usage of punctuation. Punctuation adopts a guiding role for the reader and the present study explores this guide potential, providing a thorough analysis of both the linguistic status and the communicative value of punctuation.