Spanish Punctuation

Quick Answer

Spanish and English use the same punctuation for many things. For example, both use periods at the end of statements and commas to separate elements in a list. There are also some punctuation marks used only in Spanish, as well as some punctuation marks that English and Spanish use differently.

First, here are some common punctuation marks, or signos de puntuación !

List of Spanish Punctuation Marks

SpanishEnglishPunctuation Mark
punto
 
period.
punto final
 
period (at the end of a sentence).
punto y aparte  or punto aparte period (at the end of a paragraph).
coma
 
comma,
signos de exclamación
 
exclamation marks¡!
signos de interrogación
 
question marks¿?
signo de apertura de exclamación
 
opening exclamation mark¡
signo de apertura de interrogación
 
opening question mark¿
signo de cierre de exclamación
 
closing exclamation mark!
signo de cierre de interrogación
 
closing question mark?
dos puntos
 
colon:
punto y coma
 
semicolon;
puntos suspensivos
 
ellipsis...
guión
 
hyphen or (en) dash-
raya
 
em dash
paréntesis
 
parentheses( )
corchetes
 
square brackets[ ]
llaves
 
curly brackets{ }
comillas españolas
 
angle quotes or guillemets« »
comillas  or comillas inglesas quotation marks or double quotation marks“ ”
comillas angulares , comillas latinas  or comillas simples single quotation marks‘ ’

And now, on to some of the uses of these signos de puntuación!

Punto: Uses and Examples

  • Used at the end of a statement.
Fuimos al parque ayer.
We went to the park yesterday.
 
  • Used at the end of an abbreviation.
etc.
etc.
 
Sra.
Mrs.
 
  • Used in email addresses and urls.
www.spanishdict.com
www.spanishdict.com
 
casper@spanishdict.com
casper@spanishdict.com
 
  • Used to separate the hour and minute in time expressions (using a colon is also ok).
7.30
7:30
 
12.00
12:00
 

Coma: Uses and Examples

  • Used to separate dependent and independent clauses.
Si no entiendes, no dudes en contactarme.
If you don't understand, don't hesitate to contact me.
 
  • Used to separate elements in a list.

There is no coma used before conjunctions like y or o in Spanish lists.

Compré leche, manzanas y pan.
I bought milk, apples, and bread.
 
  • Used before question tags.

Question tags are short, often one-word questions used to affirm a previous statement.

¿Te gustan las uvas, ¿verdad?
You like grapes, don't you?
 
¿Hace calor, ¿no?
It's hot, isn't it?
 

Comillas: Uses and Examples

  • Used to denote quoted speech.

Las comillas españolas are often used in quoted speech, especially in books written in Spanish.

«¡María, te amo!», exclamó Juan.
"Maria, I love you!" exclaimed Juan.
 
«¿Por qué me sigues mintiendo?». Después de decir eso, se fue.
"Why do keep lying to me?" After saying this, he left.
 

In Spanish, punctuation falls outside of quotations, whereas in English, it falls inside the quotations. This can sometimes lead to what would be considered double punctuation in English (like the . following the ? in the example above). In Spanish, this is correct!

Puntos de Exclamación: Uses and Examples

  • Used to frame exclamations.

Although often omitted in texts and emails, Spanish exclamations should open with a signo de apertura de exclamación  (opening exclamation mark).

¡Qué bonita te ves!
How pretty you look!
 
Si me vuelves a molestar, ¡te voy a acusar con mi mamá!
If you bother me again, I'm going to tell Mom!
 

Puntos de Interrogación: Uses and Examples

  • Used to frame questions.

Although often omitted in texts and emails, Spanish exclamations should open with a signo de apertura de interrogación  (opening question mark).

¿Te llamas Marco?
Is your name Marco?
 
Eres el hermano de Laura, ¿verdad?
You're Laura's brother, aren't you?
 

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