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    Let’s Master French Punctuation, Spaces And More!

    Whether it is talking about emotions discussing ideas marking ends and the beginning of sentences or showing speech quotes etc there is an aspect in the language that makes it concrete

    , Let’s Master French Punctuation, Spaces And More!
    By Michelle
    29 November 2019
    , Let’s Master French Punctuation, Spaces And More!

    French Grammar French Lessons

    Let’s Master French Punctuation, Spaces And More!

Whether it is talking about emotions discussing ideas marking ends and the beginning of sentences or showing speech quotes etc there is an aspect in the language that makes it concrete

What do you think is missing here?

Reading these lines above will automatically make you struggle, (especially if you are a Grammar Nazi), since the tiny bits that actually tie the knot, are missing. 

Punctuation marks.

On the face of it, you’d never sit and think about how significant those marks are but in reality, they can make all the difference. Now, read this sentence again.

Whether it’s talking about emotions, discussing ideas, marking ends and beginning of sentences or showing speech quotes etc, there is an aspect of language that makes sentences concrete.

Feels better, right? English is said to own 14 punctuation marks which can become villains in your writing at times. Placing the right comma or knowing the difference between your and you’re is really essential. French also has it’s share of punctuation drama.

Punctuation Marks Need Personal Space Too

If you’ve written in English, you must be aware the punctuation marks romances closely with the letters. So, instead of “ That’s your incredible news ? “, the right way would be “That’s your incredible news?” However, in French writing the former would be considered correct.

History of Punctuation Space

Though enough research doesn’t exist yet to claim reasons for this practice, it’s believed that it was the magic of typewriters that led to this. Back in the olden days, in order to make double punctuation, the space bar was held. It was only released when the appropriate keys were clicked which resulted in the white blanks before and after.

Ingredients Demanding Space

NameMark
le point d’interrogation (Question Mark)?
les deux-points (Colons):
le point-virgule (Semicolons);
les symboles monétaires (Currency Symbols)$
le pourcentage (Percentage Mark)%
le point d’exclamation (Exclamation Point)!
les guillemets (Quotes)« »
le dièse (Hash)#

All of these are classified as double punctuation marks. In simpler words, all the symbols consist of two parts. Each one of them need a space within the sentence, not only before but after as well.

Example:
Lesquels aimez vous : les chiens ou les chats ?
Les chiens !

(“Which ones do you like : the dogs or the cats?”
“The dogs!”)

« Guillemet Wrapping the Dialogues »

From our usual comfort of “ ”, the French punctuation has it’s own quotation symbols which hug the sentence in. Dashes are used within these to portray that the speaker has switched.

Example:
« Où est l’aéroport? dit Marie.
Prenez le prochain virage à droite et continuez tout droit, conseillait Jean.
Est-ce loin ?
Non, à seulement cinq minutes, répondit elle ».

(“Where is the airport?” said Marie.
“Take the next right turn and continue straight,” recommended Jean.
“Is it far?”
“No, just five minutes away,” she responded.)

Topsy-turvy World of French Numbers

We have been taught to use full stop for decimals and comma for thousands in English, but French chooses to walk on its own rulebook by reversing that order.

So,
8.90 (English) ——-> 8,90 (French)
2,900,000 (English) ———> 2.900.000 (French)

Just like your . . . (nope) you’re nailing that English punctuation, its . . . (again, well-caught!) it’s time for you to shine under the French punctuation spotlight too. Our online French tutoring will help you out in case of any difficulty.

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