Punctuation marks play a crucial role in written Chinese. They organize content, clarify meaning, and make text comprehensible. This beginner’s guide covers the major punctuation marks in Chinese, when to use them, and the basic rules for proper usage.
Common Punctuation Marks in Chinese
Here are the most frequently used punctuation marks in Chinese and their English names:
- 、(dùn 顿) comma -。(zhōuhǎo 句号) period
- ,(dōuhǎo 逗号) comma
- :(mǎohǎo 冒号) colon
- ;(fēnhǎo 分号) semicolon
- :(tánhǎo 叹号) exclamation mark
- ?(wènhào 问号) question mark
- —(jiéxiàn 破折号) dash
- “ ”(shuāngyīnxié 双引号) quotation marks
- 《 》(shuāngshūhǎo 书名号) book title marks
Proper Usage of Punctuation in Chinese
Here are some key rules to follow when using punctuation in Chinese writing:
- Commas – Separate clauses, items in a list, or insert a pause.
- Semicolons – Join two independent clauses.
- Colons – Introduce a list, quotation, example or explanation.
- Exclamation marks – Indicate exclamatory or interjectional words.
- Question marks – Follow direct questions.
- Periods – End declarative sentences and statements.
- Dashes – Set off amplifying or explanatory content.
- Quotation marks – Enclose titles of shorter works and direct speech.
- Book title marks – Enclose titles of longer literary works.
今天天气真好,蓝天白云非常漂亮。(Jīntiān tiānqì zhēn hǎo, lántiān báiyún fēicháng piàoliang.)
我非常喜欢中文;它的语法结构与英文完全不同。(Wǒ fēicháng xǐhuan Zhōngwén; tā de yǔfǎ jiégòu yǔ Yīngwén wánquán bùtóng.)
punctuation marks like commas, semicolons, question marks and periods greatly aid readability and comprehension in Chinese writing. With proper practice, you can master when and how to use each symbol to become a punctuation expert!
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