Punctuation mistake: In Spanish we use " : " after the introduction , NOT the comma!

1
vote

You can see this frequent mistake everywhere, so I just wanted to point out, that after the introduction in Spanish, we do not use the comma, like in English, so a sentence like

Hola, soy María.

Is NOT correct.

You must use : after the introduction, followed by capital letter.

Hola: Soy María.

This is what the PHD says:

1.4. Se emplean tras las fórmulas de saludo en el encabezamiento de cartas y documentos. En este caso, la palabra que sigue a los dos puntos, y que inicia el cuerpo de la carta, se escribe con inicial mayúscula y en renglón aparte (? mayúsculas, 3.3a): Muy señor mío: / Le agradeceré que en el plazo más breve posible... Es costumbre anglosajona, que debe evitarse en español, utilizar la coma en lugar de los dos puntos: Querido amigo, / Te escribo esta carta para comunicarte...

5357 views
updated FEB 16, 2016
posted by 00494d19

10 Answers

2
votes

This is worthy of resurrection .

updated FEB 16, 2016
posted by ray76
I like very much Lazarus' response. It was nice having him on the site because he could always give a concise and exact grammatical explanation.
He was , and probably still is a genius with languages , I miss the old devil a lot.
2
votes

Luch:

It does mean doubts. It's a dictionary that intends to solve all kind of doubts that one may have when it comes to using Spanish. It was published by the Real Academia Española.

You're wrong there! This is the first one, not published just by the RAE, but a collective work from 22 Academies from different countries, including Argentina, Mexico, and even USA. This is the written consensus used by all this countries when it comes to correct orthography.

And there is a good reason for it too. The comma represent a short pause, and an ascending tone. This intonation is to be expected, since we haven quite finished our sentence yet; that's why we put commas in the middle of a sentence in both languages. But in speaking, when we say "Hello", we normally use a descending intonation, and then leave a fairly long pause before continuing with whatever we want to say. A comma is exactly normally used for exactly the opposite of what we try to say, which makes me wonder why using a comma here. The full stop (period) and the colon represent in both languages a long pause and a descending intonation, which is, interestingly, exactly what we'd need after "Hello".

Logical or not, each language has its own convention, it the colon has been the Spanish convention for many centuries; the fashion of starting using the comma after "Hola" is probably a result of being in contact with English speakers, writing to them, translating their letters, and above all... because in Internet all pages and fora use the comma for letters, and we hardly get the chance to see letters written by educated Spanish speakers. My parents and grandparents, who speak no English whatsoever, were shocked when I told them about the comma.

updated FEB 15, 2016
posted by lazarus1907
2
votes

I think the ":" are fine if you begin your letter with a name or another form similar to "Querido amigo: Te escribo para ....", or "Estimado Jorge: Hace tiempo que queria escribirte para ...". But "Hola: Soy María" looks totally odd to me.

Lucho said:

The thing is the PHD quote and your post refer to two different things. The PHD refers to letter headings, where using commas is indeed wrong. Now, I'm not sure if "Hola, soy María" is an error. I dare say it is perfectly correct (actually, I had never thought of it as a possible mistake). "Hola: soy María" looks horribly unnatural and technical.This must be checked. I strongly doubt that use of the " : " is correct (though I may be mistaken, of course). I will ask my translation teachers tomorrow.

>

updated FEB 15, 2016
posted by 00e657d4
1
vote

The thing is the PHD quote and your post refer to two different things. The PHD refers to letter headings, where using commas is indeed wrong. Now, I'm not sure if "Hola, soy María" is an error. I dare say it is perfectly correct (actually, I had never thought of it as a possible mistake). "Hola: soy María" looks horribly unnatural and technical.

This must be checked. I strongly doubt that use of the " : " is correct (though I may be mistaken, of course). I will ask my translation teachers tomorrow.

updated FEB 15, 2016
posted by Lucho
0
votes

Ah, I misremembered the X as the circle-slash.

updated OCT 21, 2008
posted by 00bacfba
0
votes

Se lo apunto.

updated OCT 21, 2008
posted by Natasha
0
votes

Before anyone thinks about arguing with Lazarus on this topic, let me point out that his avatar at Word Reference is an "Hola," that has been covered over with the red circle-slash and replaced with "Hola:."

We may safely assume that he has given this topic some thought. wink

updated OCT 21, 2008
posted by 00bacfba
0
votes

It does mean doubts. It's a dictionary that intends to solve all kind of doubts that one may have when it comes to using Spanish. It was published by the Real Academia Española.

Natasha said:

OK, here is a really dumb question. I finally ran a search and realized that "PHD" didn't mean Doctor of Philosophy, but "Diccionario Panhispánico de Dudas."

What is "Dudas" here? I just get "Doubts."

>

updated OCT 21, 2008
posted by Lucho
0
votes

OK, here is a really dumb question. I finally ran a search and realized that "PHD" didn't mean Doctor of Philosophy, but "Diccionario Panhispánico de Dudas."

What is "Dudas" here? I just get "Doubts."

updated OCT 21, 2008
posted by Natasha
0
votes

Hola, Heidita, this is very helpful.

(in rememberance of your post the other day of "Rules for Writing")

updated OCT 21, 2008
posted by Natasha