Hello, everyone! Today we are going to talk about the importance of punctuation. Of course, it is not only important in Spanish but also in the rest of the languages. First, we are going to see the definition of punctuation and, after that, types of punctuation marks and their uses. Are you ready?
What is punctuation?
If we look for this word, punctuation (puntuación), in Diccionario de la Real Academia Española, we find as second definition:
/2. f. Conjunto de los signos ortográficos utilizados para puntuar.
Which means: “a set of orthographic signs used to punctuate”.
If we look for that word in Cambridge Dictionary, we find this:
Finally, Oxford Learner’s Dictionary:
The marks used in writing that divide sentences and phrases; the system of using these marks
To sum up, punctuation is the group of marks we use when we are writing (in formal and informal ways). Punctuation is essential to help the reader understands texts. Then, pay attention to the punctuation not only when you are writing an important document, but also when you are texting a friend to know what time you are going to meet up tonight.
The most used punctuation marks in Spanish are:
- Full stop (punto). This mark indicates where the end of a sentence is. It can be “punto y seguido”, “punto y aparte” o “punto y final”. What’s the difference?
–Punto y seguido (or, punto seguido as Real Academia de la Lengua Española recommends). When the sentence which has finished and the following sentence are connected and they are in the same paragraph.
–Punto y aparte: indicates that the sentence which has finished contains a different idea from the next sentence. Consequently, the sentence which follows this “punto y aparte” must be written in a different paragraph.
–Punto y final: the last full stop you write when you finish the writing.
- Comma (coma). This mark separates elements which are part of an enumeration or indicates the beginning and the end of digressions or must be written before some linkers (pero, sin embargo, así que…) …
- Colon (dos puntos). This mark, same as coma, can be used in many cases, for example: before an enumeration with explanatory character, after the greetings in the letters and documents, before quotations, in titles to separate the general character and the specific idea…
- Semi-colon (punto y coma). When you have already used commas in a complex enumeration, you can use a semi-colon too. Apart from that, semi-colon separates two sentences which are related semantically (but not grammatically) or must be written before linkers which establish contrast (sin embargo) or linkers which are classified as consecutive (por consiguiente) or concessive (por tanto).
- Question marks (signos de interrogación). It is essential to remember that we have two question marks in Spanish. The first one (¿) must be written at the beginning of the question and the second one (?), at the end of that question. Please, do not forget these two question marks.
- Exclamation marks (signos de exclamación). It happens the same that with question marks. We have two: one at the beginning of the exclamative sentence (¡) and one at the end (!).
- Brackets (paréntesis). These two marks (same as question and exclamation marks in Spanish) include additional information in a sentence.
- Inverted commas (comillas). They show you where you have direct speech or a quotation.
- Ellipsis (puntos suspensivos). They indicate an incomplete sentence or a part of the text which has been omitted.
This is a brief abstract about the most important punctuation marks. We can talk much more about them in the following posts. Do you think that you use punctuation appropriately? Let me know!
Thank you very much for reading this blog! I see you in the next post!
Letras en Español – Ms. Riesco©
Vorderman, C. et al. (2011): English. A unique step-by-step visual guide. Penguin Random House: Great Britain
Diccionario de la Lengua Española: https://www.rae.es/dpd/punto