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.
List of Spanish Punctuation 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.
- Used at the end of an abbreviation.
- Used in urls and email addresses.
- Used to separate the hour and minute in time expressions (using a colon is also ok).
Coma: Uses and Examples
- Used to separate dependent and independent clauses.
- Used to separate elements in a list.
There is no coma used before conjunctions like y or o in Spanish lists.
- Used before question tags.
Question tags are short, often one-word questions used to affirm a previous statement.
Comillas: Uses and Examples
- Used to denote quoted speech.
Las comillas españolas are often used in quoted speech, especially in books written in Spanish.
In Spanish, final punctuation falls outside of quotations, whereas in American English, it falls inside the quotations. The Spanish style 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). Note how the opening exclamation mark goes just before the part of a sentence that is the actual exclamation.
Puntos de Interrogación: Uses and Examples
- Used to frame questions.
Although often omitted in texts and emails, Spanish questions should open with a signo de apertura de interrogación (opening question mark). Note how the opening question mark goes just before the question tag or the part of a sentence that is the actual question.