Lesson Transcript

Ask a teacher, lesson 15 - How do I use Spanish punctuation?
Hi everybody! Rosa here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I’ll answer some of your most common Spanish questions.
The question for this lesson is…
How do I use Spanish punctuation?
Just like in English, punctuation marks are used to provide emphasis, to indicate pauses and intonation changes, and to guide people through the meaning of our expressions.
Let's take a look to the basic uses of punctuation marks in Spanish!
The first one is el punto. This literally means, “the dot.” But, you may know it better as “the period” in American English or “full stop” in British English. It’s used to mark the ending of a sentence or complete thought. After using a punto, the next word should be capitalized. For example, Juan viene hoy. Mis amigos vendrán mañana. This means "Juan is coming today. My friends will come tomorrow."
Next, we have la coma or "the comma." This indicates a short pause in a sentence and its usage is similar to English. For example-- Viajaré por Andalucía, Zaragoza y Toledo. meaning “I will travel to Andalucía, Zaragoza and Toledo.”
This one sounds different from the English version; el punto y coma. This literally means “the dot and comma” but you may know it better as the "semicolon." It’s used to divide related sections in a single sentence. For example--
Hoy veremos un buen partido; sin embargo, creo que mi equipo perderá. meaning "Today we will see a good match; however, I think my team will lose." We can also use the punto y coma in a longer sentence that already has commas. For example-- Ana fue al museo; Carlos, a la biblioteca; y David, a la universidad. meaning "Ana went to the museum; Carlos, to the library; and David, to the university."
Unlike the punto or coma, the punto y coma really depends on the writer’s discretion. As a general rule, use the punto y coma if you feel the two sentences are closely related enough to make them into one sentence. After a punto y coma, you always have a lowercase letter.
Let’s move on to two more punctuation marks you may be familiar with. The signos de interrogación and exclamación.
The signos de interrogación is better known in English as the “question mark” and is used in interrogative sentences. The exclamación sounds similar to the English “exclamation point” and works the same way; it’s used to express surprise, anger or any other strong emotions. Remember that in Spanish, you should write an inverted question mark or exclamation mark at the beginning of the sentence in addition to the mark at the end.
Some examples are--
¿Qué hora es? "What time is it?" ¿Cómo te llamas? "What's your name?" ¡Socorro!, "Help!" and ¡Vamos!, "Let's go!"
Finally, the “colon” which is dos puntos, “ellipses” which is puntos suspensivos, “parentheses” which is paréntesis and comillas which is “quotation marks” are used the same way in English as in Spanish!
How was this lesson? Pretty interesting, right?
Do you have any more questions? Leave them in the comments below and I’ll try to answer them!
¡Hasta la próxima! “Until next time!”

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