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Learn French: How To Dictate Punctuation marks in French.

If you are are beginning to learn the French language, then one important thing you need to know well is the punctuation marks.


10 French Punctuation Marks: Names & Typing Rules

Do you find it difficult or what is your general opinion about the French language? In this article, you will learn the names of the punctuation marks in French. In addition, you will discover how the various punctuation marks are dictated in French. Without wasting much of your time let us get started.


The first thing I will like you to know is the names of the punctuation marks. We shall proceed and look at how to dictate French punctuations orally.

Punctuation marks in French are not any different from those of English. Punctuation in French is called “la ponctuation”. The pronunciation is the same as “ssion” but not “shion”.

This article has a video link below which gives you a clearer and smarter way to learn the French punctuations. By watching this video, you will get the right pronunciations of the various punctuation marks in French. Watch video below.


So we begin with the names of the various French punctuation marks.

Names Of French Punctuation Marks


French Punctuation mark             English Name    French Name

,              comma la virgule

.              period  le point

:              colon    deux points

;              semi colon         le point virgule

…            ellipsis  les points de suspension

!             exclamation mark           le point d’exclamation

?             interrogation mark         le point d’interrogation

«»          quotation marks              les guillemets (m)

–            hyphen le trait-d’union

‘              apostrophe       une apostrophe


Unfortunately, the rules for typing punctuation in French and English are not the same. Or not exactly the same, at least…

French Typing Rules for Commas and Periods

Good news! For the one-part punctuation marks: commas and periods (including three dots), spaces used in typing are the same in French and English: no space before, one space after.

Nous nous promenons, et nous parlons en français en même temps. C’est agréable…

And for the apostrophe, there’s no space.

J’aime Paris.

Rules for Typing Two-part Punctuation Marks in French

The way we type the rest of the punctuation marks differs between French and English…

In French, you’ll need to type a space BEFORE and after a colon, semi-colon, exclamation mark, question mark and symbols including % # € $ « »

Quotation Marks In French

Quotation marks in French are called “les guillemets” (masculine plural).


In literary French, they are usually typed using this symbol: « » which is called “guillemets en chevron à la française”.

There are two types of “guillemet à la française”:


« un guillemet ouvrant

» un guillemet fermant

Now, since the invention of the typewriter, many models only offered one kind of quotation mark: ” ” – which is typically an English quotation mark. symbol.

And nowadays a lot of software will only offer the ” ” version of quotation marks, therefore it’s more and more common in French to use ” “.

Besides, using” ” seems more dynamic, younger… « » is used in literature, but in many French blogs – including mine – , you’ll see people use ” ” .

When you start typing quotation marks in French, you’d say: “ouvrez les guillemets” and when you end: “fermez les guillemets”.


So now let’s see precisely how we would dictate with punctuation marks in French.

The French Dialogue Dash: Le Tiret

Another punctuation symbol is “le tiret”. It shouldn’t be mistaken with an hyphen (le trait d’union) or the minus sign (le signe moins) although usually the same symbol is used for the three.

There are 3 “tirets” in French


le tiret long (« — »),

le tiret moyen (« – »)

le tiret court (« – »).

A long dash is often used to introduce a new speaker in a dialogue in printed literature.


« Bonjour ! dit Sophie. Tu vas bien ?

— Bien. Et toi ? répond Anne.

— Très bien, merci ! »


How to dictate French punctuation marks

So, how does it sound when someone dictates with punctuation marks in French?


Here we have an example.

Pierre dit : « Je vais lui acheter un livre. Sophie aime les livres ; les beaux livres de littérature. Et toi ? »

Anne lui répond : « Moi, je ne sais pas… Je ne sais pas vraiment quoi lui offrir. En fait, je pense que je vais lui acheter un bon d’achat. Ça fait toujours plaisir ! »

Now let’s see how I would dictate this in French with the punctuation marks and instruction.

Pierre dit deux points ouvrez les guillemets Je vais lui acheter un livre point Sophie aime les livres point virgule les beaux livres de littérature point Et toi point d’interrogation fermez les guillemets

À la ligne

Nouveau paragraphe

Anne lui répond deux points ouvrez les guillemets Moi virgule je ne sais pas points de suspension (ou trois petits points) Je ne sais pas vraiment quoi lui offrir point En fait virgule je pense que je vais lui acheter un bon d’achat point Ça fait toujours plaisir point d’exclamation


Voilà. I hope this was useful to you follow me more educative articles that helps you learn the French language.


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