Punctuation

Spanish punctuation

You will notice that sentences in Spanish are often punctuated differently than sentences written in English.  Have you ever seen "upside down" question marks and exclamation points at the beginning of a sentence written in Spanish?  That is not a mistake. In Spanish, we begin AND end interrogative (?) and exclamatory (!) sentences with punctuation.  These "signos de interrogaciĆ³n" and "signos de exclamaciĆ³n" (as they are called in Spanish) are important to note when reading.

You use the inverted question mark and inverted exclamation point to begin the sentence.  Read below to see examples from my book, The Perfect Present:

Will Cat like the present?
¿Le va a gustar a Gata el regalo?

Merry Christmas!
¡Feliz Navidad!

The good news is that the period is used the same way in English!  Phew!

French punctuation

Thankfully, sentences written in French use the same punctuation marks that are used in English.  However, there are some differences.

When punctuating in French, be sure to leave a space between the last word in the sentence and the exclamation point or question mark.  The same applies when using a colon and semicolon (: / ;).  The rule is that if the punctuation mark has two parts (i.e., the point and line that make up the exclamation point count as two different parts), there needs to be a space.  The reason is somewhat debated, but I believe that the space is used to allow the reader to differentiate the words and letters from more detailed punctuation marks like the ones below:

!     ?     ;     :

Check out examples of this punctuation from my book, The Perfect Present:

He does not play!
Il ne joue pas !  

A toy mouse?
Une souris jouet ?

Sentences written in French use the period in the same way as English and Spanish.

Now that you know the rules of punctuation, you are one step closer to becoming a fluent reader and writer in 3 languages!

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