Toolbox | Trousse

Punctuation and Capitalization |
La ponctuation et les majuscules

Punctuation Marks | Les signes de punctuation


un point | a period


un point d’exclamation | an exclamation point

«  »

les guillemets | the quotation marks


une virgule | a comma


un trait d’union / un tiret | a hyphen / a dash


une apostrophe | an apostrophe


un point d’interrogation | a question mark


un point-virgule | a semicolon


les deux-points | a colon

les points de suspension | an ellipsis

The French and English languages use almost all of the same punctuation marks.

Many are used in the same manner, for example:   . ! ? ’ ;

Le ballon est rouge.
The ball is red.

Thank you!

Comment ça va?
How are you?

Cest un gros gateau.
Its a big cake.

Le garçon danse; il aime la musique.
The boy dances; he loves the music.

Some punctuation marks are used in a different manner. Here are some examples of those:

La virgule | a comma
La virgule cannot be used before the words “and/or/nor”. In other words in French the comma cannot be used before a coordinating conjunction preceding the final item in a list of three or more items.

Pierre-Oh aime le hockey, le soccer et le basketball.
Pierre-Oh likes hockey, soccer, and basketball.

Les deux-points | a colon
Les deux-points is very common in French. This punctuation mark can introduce direct speech, a citation, an explanation, a conclusion or a summary.

Pierre-Oh exclame : « Bonjour, Pierrette! »
Pierre-Oh exclaims, “Hello, Pierrette!”

Les guillemets | the quotation marks
Les guillemets are two angle brackets. The inverted commas do not exist in French.

Pierrette crie : « Bonjour, Pierre-Oh! »
Pierrette yells, Hello, Pierre-Oh!

Le tiret | the dash
Le tiret can be added to indicate that a person or a new person is speaking.

« Bonjour, Pierrette! » s'exclame Pierre-Oh. « Comment vas-tu? »
- Ah, bonjour Pierre-Oh! crie Pierrette.
“Hello, Pierrette!” Pierre-Oh exclaims. “How are you?”
“Oh, hi Pierre-Oh!” shouts Pierrette.

Les points de suspension | an ellipsis
Les points de suspension are always used to indicate trailing off of speech whereas in English, a dash may also be used.

« Non merci, Pierrette. Mais »
“No thank you Pierrette. But”