Chinese punctuation


 

Chinese punctuation

Chinese punctuation adopts a different set of punctuation marks and rules of using punctuation from English to organize modern written Chinese. Traditional poetry and calligraphy maintains the punctuation-free style.

All Chinese characters are written to a uniform size, and this size also extends to punctuation marks, so Chinese punctuation marks usually take up more space than their English counterparts.

Common Chinese Punctuation Marks

Here are the most commonly used Chinese punctuation marks:

1.  Full Stop

The Chinese full stop句号 (jù hào) is a small circle that takes the space of one Chinese character。

It is used to indicate the completion of a simple sentence, complex sentence or shortened sentence.

Here are example:

请你帮我买一杯咖啡。

Please help me to buy a cup of coffee.

天气渐渐冷了,要穿的衣服也多了。

It is getting cold, we should wear more clothes.

谁做的?她。

Who did this? She.

2. Comma

The Mandarin name of the Chinese comma is 逗号 (dòu hào). The function is the same as the English comma to indicate pauses or to separate clauses within a sentence

Here are some examples:

如果不下雨,我们就去公园。

If it does not rain, we will go to the park.

3. Enumeration Comma

The enumeration comma (dunhao) is used to separate list items in a sentence. The listed items are usually in the same category. Chinese do not use commas in this situation which is different from English. It is the same function as “and”.

在篮子里,有苹果、梨子、桃子和草莓。

In the basket, there are apples, pears, peaches and strawberry.

4. Colon

Modern Chinese borrowed the use of colon 冒号(mao hao) from European language. The writing looks quite similar, but they have a slight difference. The Chinese colon “ :”, the two dots are closer than the colon “:” in European language.

The most common use of the colon is to inform the reader that what follows the colon proves, explains, or lists elements of what preceded it. For example, one can use a colon after an independent clause to direct attention to a list, an appositive, or a quotation.

王老师指出:“要想学习好,一是努力,二是多思考。”

Mr. Wang pointed out that if you want to study well, you have to work hard and think more.

5. Question Mark

The question mark 问号(wenhao)is pretty much the same as in English which is used as an indicator of a question sentence. However, it can also be used for indirect question.

For example:

你去了学校么?

Did you go to school?

他有没有兴趣?这是最重要的问题。

Whether or not he has interest? It is the most important question.

6. Double Angle Quote

The double angle quote 书名号 (shuminghao)are used outside the name of a book, movie, play, newspaper, magazine,etc.

For example:

电影《不可能的任务》

Movie Mission Impossible

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