¿Usas correctamente los signos de puntuación en inglés? Aunque pueda parecer imposible, los fallos puntuando o añadiendo caracteres en un texto son más comunes de lo que crees, y en inglés pasa lo mismo. No sólo basta con prestar atención a las reglas de puntuación propias del idioma, si no que hay que ser conscientes de que éstas son diferentes a las que usamos normalmente, aunque haya muchas que si coincidan.

Ya sea por las prisas, por escribir sin prestar atención o por no darle la importancia que se merece, la puntuación es uno de esos aspectos del lenguaje escrito que siempre sale perjudicado por la falta de implicación al escribir. Y eso no es lo peor, no añadir los signos correctos puede cambiar por completo el significado de una frase. No es lo mismo decir “Let’s eat Grandma” (Comamos a la abuela) que “Let’s eat, Grandma” (Vamos a comer, abuela).

Además, si no estamos atentos podemos caer en fallos tan típicos como los de los puntos de exclamación o interrogación, ya que los que hablamos y escribimos en castellano / catalán o cualquiera de ellos, tendemos a confundirnos. Por lo tanto, un “double check” de la puntuación nunca está de más.

La clave para utilizar cada signo de puntuación sin fallo alguno es saber identificar cada uno de los caracteres que pueden darse en un texto escrito, así cuando nos dicten un texto, nos lo deletreen o tengamos que escribirlo de oídas sabremos qué significa cada uno y cómo debemos utilizarlo.

A continuación, te explicamos todos los secretos de los signos de puntuación en inglés y otros caracteres especiales que más se utilizan:

Full stop or period (.) – Punto y aparte.

  • The end of a sentence which is not a question or an exclamation.

Paris is the capital of France.

  • Abbreviation, e.g. alt. (altitude). However, in British English many abbreviations do not require a period, e.g. Dr, Mr, Mrs, Ms, MA, Phd, CEO, etc.
  • Ellipsis: we use a period to indicate that only part of the sentence has been quoted or that it is being left up to the reader to complete the thought.

If only I’d said…well it doesn’t matter now.

  • Numbers. In English, we use periods to separate the whole number from the decimal, e.g. $9.53 (we say nine dollars and fifty three cents) or 9.53 (we say nine point five three).

Comma (,) – coma

  • Making a list: commas are the most common way to separate one list item from the next.

For lunch, I had chicken, vegetables, dessert and coffee.

  • A series of adjectives. However, if an adjective is modifying another adjective we don’t separate them with a comma.

The house we visited was dark, cold, and derelict.

I was wearing my bright blue shirt.

  • Enclosing details: we use the comma in non-defining relative clauses to give non-essential information.

James, who lives in the USA, is just sixteen.

  • Question tags.

She works in Madrid, doesn’t she?

  • When there’s no exclamation mark or question mark at the end of the direct speech, we put a comma

 ‘ … we can buy the watch online,’ said Jane.

Colon (:) – dos puntos

  • We use the colon to expand on the sentence that precedes it, often introducing a list that demonstrates or elaborates whatever was previously stated. Be careful, however, not to use a colon when stating an idea that requires naming a series of items.

There are many ways to gain marks in writing exams: careful planning, accurate grammar, a wide range of vocabulary and correct punctuation.

The bag contained: a watch, a mobile and a bag of sweets.

  • We also use a colon to introduce a new concept or example (it can be helpful to think that the colon introduces a list that contains only one item), e.g. There’s only one person in the world I love more: my grandmother.
  • We also use the colon when we write a time in English, e.g 15:15.

Semicolon (;) – punto y coma

  • We can describe the semicolon as half-way between a full stop and a comma. We use semicolons to join phrases and sentences that are thematically linked without having to use a linking word.

People are very worried about the future of the planet; our failure to deal with global warming and conserve resources has put the world at risk.

  • We also use semicolons instead of commas to separate a complex series of items in a list. Usually, the items themselves already contain commas.

I went to the circus with John, my mum’s partner; his friend, Joe; and their close friend Janna.

Exclamation mark (!) – signo de exclamación

  • We use the exclamation mark to express surprise or astonishment. We use the exclamation mark when we want to emphasise a comment or short, sharp phrase. We rarely use exclamation marks in professional contexts.

I can’t believe you told him!

Question mark (?) – signo de interrogación

  • We use the question mark at the end of all direct questions, e.g. Are you English?
  • We don’t use a question mark in reported questions, e.g. She asked me if I was English.

Other signs and punctuation marks

  • At (@) – Arroba
  • Hash (#) – Almohadilla
  • Asterisk (*) – Asterisco
  • Hyphen or dash () – Guión
  • Undersore (_) – Guión bajo
  • Apostrophe () – Apóstrofe
  • Quotation marks (“ ”) – Comillas dobles. We can use double inverted commas or single inverted commas for speech. However, we must use the same ones consistently in the text.
  • Single quotation marks (‘ ’) – Comillas simples. For quotes that aren’t direct speech, we can’t use double inverted commas, e.g. The sign in the window said ‘Closed’.
  • Brackets or parentheses (()) – Paréntesis
  • Square brackets (

[]) – Corchetes

  • Ampersand (&) – “Y” inglesa
  • Slash (/) – Barra
  • Backslash (\) – Contrabarra
  • Vertical bar (

    ) – Barra vertical

  • Percent (%) – Porcentaje
  • Plus (+) – Más
  • Minus () – Menos
  • Equal sign (=) – Igual
  • Greater than / Less than (><) – Mayor que / Menor que
  • Cursos de idiomas - Últimas noticias