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Grammar - Punctuation Marks!

This Spanish Easy Review grammar quiz takes a look at punctuation marks. Learning Spanish is very much like learning English. That is why so many of your Spanish lessons and quizzes seem to mirror your English lessons and quizzes. In truth, they complement each other. There are, however, subtle differences that exist between the two such as the order of words in a sentence, especially adjectives and adverbs, accent marks and punctuation marks.

The basic simple and compound sentence in Spanish is exactly like that in English in that the sentence ends in with a period (.).

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However, the sentences that ask a question and the sentences that show emotions are treated differently in that in Spanish, these sentences begin with a punctuation mark and end with a punctuation mark. Let’s look at the following two examples.

¿De dónde eres tú? (Where are you from?)

¡Adiós! (Good-bye!)

Notice that there are two question marks and two exclamation points. The first marks, however, are shown upside down. If you do not have the first punctuation marks when writing Spanish, the entire sentence is considered to be wrong so these marks are critical to writing in Spanish. Outside of the question mark and the exclamation point, all other punctuation marks work the same in Spanish as they do in English. So now let’s look at how to say each of those punctuation marks.

English Spanish Pronounced (Phonetically) As
accent mark (el) acento agudo ă-sěn-tō ă-goo-dō
apostrophe (el) apóstrafo /apóstrofo ă-pō-stră-fō / ă-pō-strō-fō
asterisk (el) asterisco ă-stěr-ē-skō
colon dos puntos dōse poon-tōs (2 points)
comma (la) coma kō-mă
period or dot (el) punto poon-tō
ellipsis (los) puntos suspensivos poon-tōs sue-spěn-sē-vōse
exclamation point (el) punto exclamativo poon-tō ěk-clă-mă-tē-vō
hyphen (el) guión hew-on (Notice the 'g' has an 'h' sound.)
parenthesis (el) paréntesis pă-rěn-tě-sēs
punctuation (la) puntuación poon-tū-ă-sē-on
question mark (el) punto interrogativo poon-tō ēn-těr-rō-gă-tē-vō
quotation marks (las) comillas kō-mē-yahs
semicolon (el) punto y coma poon-tō ē kō-mă

Again, you can see that the same punctuation marks that occur in English also occur in Spanish and they are used the same way as in English except for the exclamation point and the question mark.

Notice that there are two words that can be used for apostrophe. In fact, there are three because in some Spanish cultures they will also say apóstrofe. However, when referring to the actual punctuation mark, the most common usage is that of apóstrafo.

Now that you have had a chance to review punctuation marks, move on to the quiz section. For each sentence given, you will need to find which punctuation mark should be used where a blank line or lines are shown in the sentence.

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  1. What is your name__
    As this is clearly asking a question you will need to use a question mark. The Spanish word(s) for question mark are punto interrogativo.
  2. Get out of my room__
    This sentence is showing emotion. When showing emotion an exclamation mark or exclamation point is used. The Spanish word(s) for exclamation mark are punto exclamativo.
  3. Margaret went shopping with her friends__
    This is a simple, basic sentence that needs to end with a period. The Spanish word for period is punto.
  4. He said, __Money is the root of all evils.__
    As the sentence begins with 'He said,' we know that someone is talking or is being quoted. When someone is talking or being quoted, you need to use quotation marks before and after the quote. The Spanish word(s) for quotation marks is comillas.
  5. Mary__s cat won the blue ribbon prize!
    In this sentence you learn that the cat belongs to Mary which means it shows possession. To show possession an apostrophe is used so that it reads Mary’s cat. The Spanish word for apostrophe is apóstrafo.
  6. Billy’s house was three doors down __actually four doors if you count the door on the garage__ from Daniel’s house.
    Here you are trying to determine what goes in the blank space before 'actually four doors…' and after 'garage'. The sentence could have been written as 'Billy’s house was three doors down from Daniel’s house,' but the writer is giving the reader additional information. When giving additional information that is not necessarily needed, parentheses are used. The Spanish word for parentheses is paréntesis.
  7. Can you sing along with me? “Row, row, row your boat____.”
    In this sentence a song is being sung but the entire song is not written out. When the writer wants to show the reader that there are more words that follow but that are being left out, the writer uses ellipses '…' which is a series of three dots (or four dots if it ends a sentence). The Spanish word(s) for ellipses are puntos suspensivos.
  8. Carol__ Peter__ Cindy and Jeremy met up at the school dance.
    In this sentence there is a listing of similar items grouped together, i.e. people. When similar items are grouped together a comma is used to link them. The Spanish word for comma is coma.
  9. Eric is my brother__in__law.
    When looking at this sentence, there is a relationship being shown. When a relationship is being shown that was created through a marriage, that relationship is disclosed by using hyphen marks. In other words, in this case, Eric is my brother but only through the law of marriage. He is not my biological brother. To show this relationship, it is written as brother-in-law. The Spanish word for hyphen is guión.
  10. Marvin had no problem with his math assignment__ however, his science homework was more complicated.
    In this sentence you can find two separate sentences, i.e. 'Marvin had no problem with his math assignment,' and 'his science homework was more complicated.' When two separate ideas or statements have equal emphasis and are connected with a conjunction (however), they are joined by using a semicolon. The Spanish word(s) for semicolon are punto y coma.

Author: Christine G. Broome

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