Understanding Spanish Punctuation: Tips, Tricks, and More


Commas rather of decimals? Upside down enigma? When language students discover these and other Spanish punctuation marks, they might stop and scratch their head. We tend to believe that punctuation works the very same in all languages, however it’s not so!

Though the total principles are normally comparable when it pertains to marks like commas or durations, there are numerous methods which Spanish punctuation varies. It’s enjoyable to find out about the unique usages of these signs in Spanish– they include character to a language currently abundant with subtlety.

If you wish to much better comprehend the significance of Spanish punctuation, vocabulary, grammar, and more, Rosetta Stone’s immersive lessons can assist you improve your understanding. Readily Available in Latin American Spanish or Peninsular (Spain) Spanish, each lesson assists you develop your abilities to get you conversation-ready in no time.

What are the primary distinctions in between English and spanish punctuation?

Punctuation works in all situations, both when we’re checking out quietly or aloud. It assists us to understand when sentences end, declarations stop briefly, and concerns inflect. Now that you understand that punctuation is not the very same throughout all languages, let’s take a look at a few of the primary distinctions in between English and spanish punctuation.

Commas are normally utilized for decimals

We normally see commas utilized to suggest the decimal location like this:

650,30 = 650.30

However, periodically you’ll see durations utilized for decimals as they remain in the majority of publications in the United States and Britain. Both are proper in Spanish, however commas are utilized more regularly.

Questions need 2 enigma– among which is upside down

To present a concern in Spanish, we utilize the inverted question mark at the start and the routine enigma at the end. This right away hints the reader into the reality that it’s a concern, which likewise aids with articulation when checking out aloud.

¿ Qué es tu nombre? = What is your name?

This specifically aids with concerns that are merely inflected declarations:

¿ Y kid cosas buenas? = And they’re advantages?


Exclamations likewise need 2 marks

Similar to question marks, exclamatory expressions need 2 marks: one inverted mark at the start of the exclamation and one at the end.

¡ Qué calor hace! = How hot it is!

Comillas are chosen over English quote marks

Comillas are Spanish quote marks. They are likewise referred to as Angular or spanish brackets or quotes. Often you’ll hear them called French quotes (guillemets). No matter how they’re described, they appear like this:

Pablo suspiró y dijo, “ Supongo que puedo esperar“.

Pablo stated and sighed, “I expect I can wait.”

Note that unlike in American English, Spanish quote marks precede the punctuation. Every when in a while, you’ll see a Spanish book usage English quote marks, however it’s not really typical.

Long dashes get utilized for dialogs and the spacing is various

When discussion appears at the start of a paragraph in an unique, Spanish utilizes a long dash (em dash) to suggest the shift. Compare this to English, where you would utilize quote marks. There are specific spacing guidelines that accompany this dash: there must constantly be an area after the line of discussion and prior to the speaker.

— ¿ Te puedo ayudar en algo?– preguntó el empleado. = “Can I assist you with something? asked the staff member.”

If the discussion continues, then we utilize another dash without any area after noting who has actually spoken.

— ¿ Le puedo ayudar en algo?– preguntó el empleado–. ¿ O ha terminado con su compra? = “Can I assist you with something?” asked the staff member. “Or have you ended up shopping?”

If the speaker estimates another person in the discussion, we utilize angular quotes. Compare this to English, where we would utilize a particular quote.

— Me he cansado de tu “no puedo más”– enfatizó el entrenador. = “I’ve wearied of your ‘I can’t go on,'” the coach highlighted.


How to Use Each Spanish Punctuation Mark

Let’s have a look at how each Spanish uses each punctuation mark. Understanding these guidelines can assist you check out and compose efficiently in Spanish!

Coma ( comma)

In Spanish, comas ( commas) are utilized to suggest decimals, different products in a list, and triggered interjections. Here’s the complete list of their usages listed below with examples to assist you contextualize each guideline.

Cuesta 20,50 por kilo. = It costs 20.50 per kilo.

  • To present a secondary provision:

Después de la feast, vamos a tu casa. = After the celebration, we’re going to your home.

  • To separate products in a list:

Compramos peras, manzanas y naranjas. = We purchased pears, oranges and apples.

  • To separate 2 independent provisions for clearness:

Compramos peras, manzanas y naranjas, y luego hicimos el ponche.

We purchased pears, oranges and apples, and after that we made the punch.

Y dijo, “Adiós, Adela”. = And he stated, “Good-bye, Adela.”

  • To utilize as a relative or appositive provision, which clarifies or explains something or somebody in additional information:

Carlos, el hermano de mi mejor amiga = Carlos, my buddy’s sibling

  • To trigger interjections:

¡ Uf, he salido mal en matemáticas! = Oh, I’ve done inadequately in mathematics!

lunes, 15 de septiembre = Monday, September 15

Comillas ( quote marks)

As discussed in the area above, comillas are Spanish quote marks. They’re rather distinct, and you will not see them utilized in American English. You will, nevertheless, see comparable marks utilized in universal programs languages, like Java!

In Spanish, you’ll utilize comillas to suggest lines of discussion or mention details. They are most significantly utilized for quotes within quotes, specifically when the preliminary quote starts with a long dash.

Reading is an incredible method to enhance your Spanish understanding and broaden your vocabulary. Curl up with a good book and see direct how comillas are utilized!

Corchetes (brackets)

Spanish chorchetes (brackets) are a simple shift, even for readers brand-new to Spanish. They mirror their English applications, and they’re relatively simple.

  • Used for parentheses within parentheses:

( lavanda [Lamiaceae]) = (lavender [Lamiaceae])

  • Utilized to suggest that a quote has actually been a little altered:

” Son otras [personas] ahora”. = “These are various [people] now.”


Dos puntos ( colon)

In Spanish, dos puntos (colons) are utilized to present quotes, expressions, and lists. Most significantly, they’re utilized after greetings, especially in official letters. Have a look at the list listed below.

  • To present an expression with a highlighted time out:

Te diré lo que me importa: me importas tú.

I’ll inform you what’s crucial to me: you are.

  • To compose a subtitle of a book:

Mi vida: recuerdos de una vida bien vivida = My Life: Memories of a Life Well Lived

Vamos a leer: Cervantes, Poniatowska, Cortázar y Beltrán.

We’re going to check out: Cervantes, Poniatowska, Cortázar y Beltrán.

  • To present a repercussion or a conclusion:

Hoy hay una tormenta: no vamos al parque

There’s a storm today: we’re not going to the park.

Chavela Vargas dijo: “Los mexicanos nacimos donde nos da la gana”

Chavela Vargas stated, “We Mexicans are born any place we seem like it.”

Querido Juan: = Dear John,

Son las 10:30. = It’s 10:30.

Paréntesis (parentheses)

In Spanish, paréntesis (parentheses) are utilized to confine extra details or deal alternative details. Have a look at the complete list of usages listed below.

  • Used to confine extra details:

Vivo en Madrid (en el barrio de La Latina). = I reside in Madrid (in La Latina community).

  • Employed to use alternative details:

Busco un chico( a) para andar en bici los fines de semana.

Seeking a man (gal) for bike riding on the weekends.

  • Often utilized to associate a quote:

” Donde haya un árbol que plantar, plántalo tú”. (Gabriela Mistral)

Wherever a tree requires planting, you plant it.– Gabriela Mistral

Punto ( duration)

In Spanish, puntos (durations) work precisely as they perform in English. Not a surprises here! When other punctuation is not used,

  • Used at the end of a sentence.
  • However, when you’re closing a quote with an enigma or exclamation mark, position a duration at the end. :

    Elena preguntó:

    ¿ Has lavado tu ropa?

    “. Elena asked, “Have you cleaned your clothing?”

    Sra. Martínez = Mrs. Martínez. Punto y coma

    • (semicolon)

    In Spanish,

    a punto y coma

    • (semicolon) isn’t all that typical. When it is utilized, you’ll discover it mirrors English uses, too.

    Separate lists that consist of other punctuation: Queremos un departamento lindo con dos recámaras, pero no muy grandes; una lavadora; y mucha luz.


    We desire a great apartment or condo with 2 bed rooms, however not too big; a cleaning device; and great deals of light. Employed to separate 2 associated complete expressions in a sentence, offering more time out than a comma:

    Cenamos; fuimos a dormir. = We consumed supper; we went to sleep. Puntos suspensivos ( ellipses)

    • Puntos suspensivos

    ( ellipses) are appropriately called. Suspensivo

    • suggests “suspensive,” or to trigger thriller, which is precisely how they work! You’ll typically see them utilized at the end of an incomplete sentence in literature … the kind that leaves you on the edge of your seat.

    Used when a sentence or expression tracks off: No sé qué decir, pero …

    = I do not understand what to state, however … In a quote, utilized to suggest that part of it has actually been left out: [em]” El infierno y el paraíso … los hombres no merecen tanto” (Jorge Luis Borges)

    = “Hell and paradise … males do not be worthy of a lot.”– Jorge Luis Borges Raya (long


    Many authors like to utilize the


    (em dash) for included focus– a visual hint to the reader that what’s stated after the em dash is specifically crucial. In Spanish, there is constantly an area prior to the very first dash and after the 2nd one. No vamos a ir a la playa– insisto yo– porque Mayra está enferma. Since Mayra is ill,

    We’re not going to the beach– I firmly insist–. In Spanish, em dashes are likewise utilized to present lines of discussion. Keep in mind that an em dash (–) is various from a routine dash (-). Do not be lured to utilize them interchangeably!

    Signos de exclamación (exclamation points) question marks Exclamation points suggest enjoyment, seriousness, anger, and interest. In Spanish, they’re utilized in sets, comparable to question marks. To utilize them properly, you’ll consist of one exclamation mark at the start of a sentence and one at the end.

    ¡ Vamos ahora!

    = Let’s go now!. Signos de interrogación


    ) Once you get utilized to the benefit down enigma, their use is simple. Utilize an inverted one at the start and a regular one at the end: ¿ Qué haces, abuela?

    = What are you doing, Grandma? List of Spanish punctuation marks Looking for the benefit down enigma,
    comillas , and more? Paste and copy punctuation marks from the list listed below! Spanish
    Symbol English coma
    , [ ] comma
    comillas ” “ quote marks
    corchetes brackets dos puntos
    : colon paréntesis
    ( ) parentheses punto
    duration punto y coma
    ; semicolon puntos suspensivos
    ellipses raya
    long (em) dash signos de exclamación


    exclamation mark( s) signos de interrogación ¿? enigma( s) Are accent marks thought about punctuation marks?

    You might discover it fascinating to keep in mind that Spanish compares accents and punctuation. According to the Royal Academia Española, there are 3 classifications of marks that go over or near letters/words: diacritic marks (accents), punctuation marks (TruAccent coma, comilla, corchete, dos puntos, signos de interrogación y exclamación, paréntesis, punto, puntos suspensivos, punto y coma, and raya

    ), and auxiliary marks (

    llave, guion, barra, asterisco, apóstrofe

    ).(*) To find out more about accent marks, (*) on when to utilize them, how they impact pronunciation, and how to type them on any keyboard! (*) Master Spanish punctuation with Rosetta Stone(*) For some, Spanish punctuation is interesting: Periods rather of commas! Inverted enigma! For others, it’s one little drop in the ocean that is discovering and enhancing Spanish abilities. Whichever group you discover yourself in, it’s practical to understand how they work. Writing and checking out, after all, can substantially enhance your understanding and assist you dominate real-world discussions! (*) Now that you’ve mastered these guidelines, you’re well on your method to dealing with larger principles. Rosetta Stone can assist you take the next action– whether you’re brand-new to Ready or spanish to swim in much deeper water. Our immersive lessons keep discovering enjoyable and interesting, while (*) assists you enhance your pronunciation with instant in-app feedback. You will not find out like this on any other platform. (*) Written by Rowena Galavitz(*) Rowena Galavitz is a Spanish translator, multilingual copy editor, and language and literature trainer with 3 master’s degrees who likes Spanish and all things Mexico.(*)


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