12 Most Common Chinese Punctuation

Chinese punctuations are quite different from the ones we use in English. In this article we are going to introduce the 12 most common Chinese punctuations, and how to type these Chinese punctuations on a Mac. This article will take about 7 minutes to read. If you do not have enough time to read the whole article, use the table of contents below and jump to the Chinese Punctuation Infographic and download those two infographics. You can study the subject more when you have time.

First, you should learn how to say “punctuation” in Chinese, which is 标点符号(Biāodiǎn fúhào)

Chinese punctuation title

Here is the list of the Chinese punctuations that we will introduce in this article.

  • Full Stop 句号 (Jùhào)
  • Comma 逗号 (Dòuhào)
  • Enumeration comma 顿号 (Dùnhào)
  • Quotation mark 引号 (Yǐnhào)
  • Enumeration comma 顿号 (Dùnhào)
  • Colon 冒号 (Màohào)
  • Question mark 问号 (Wènhào)
  • Semicolon 分号 (Fēnhào)
  • Parentheses 括号 (Guāhào)
  • Title mark 书名号 (Shūmínghào)
  • Ellipsis 省略号(Shěnglüèhào)
  • Middle dot 间隔号 (Jiàngé hào)

We are going to introduce them one by one.

Full Stop 句号 (Jùhào)

Chinese punctuation - full stop

It has the same function as a period, but the shape is a bit different than in English. The Chinese full stop is a full-width small circle. Positionally, in both vertical and horizontal text, the 句号(jùhào) is aligned to the bottom and right of the last character in the sentence.

Example,

我喜欢中文。 Wǒ xǐhuān zhōngwén

I like Chinese.

Comma 逗号 (Dòuhào)

Chinese punctuation - Comma

The usage of a comma in Chinese is similar to that in English, but a big difference is that in Chinese, the comma cannot be used for enumerating a list. We have another punctuation for that (see the next punctuation).

Example,

我今天早上起床以后,马上就出门了。

Wǒ jīntiān zǎoshang qǐchuáng yǐhòu, mǎshàng jiù chūménle.

I left home as soon as I woke up this morning.

Enumeration comma 顿号(Dùnhào)

Chinese punctuation - Enumeration comma

The enumeration comma must be used instead of the regular comma when separating words constituting a list.

Example,

我喜欢猫、狗、鸟。 Wǒ xǐhuān māo, gǒu, niǎo.

I like cats, dogs, and birds.

Quotation mark 引号 (Yǐnhào)

Chinese punctuation - Quotation mark

Since quotation marks are completely different in simplified and traditional Chinese writing, both of them are introduced in the infographic. In simplified Chinese, the format is the same as in English: “ … ‘…’ …  ”. In traditional Chinese, brackets are used instead:「 …『…』… 」.

Mom said: “my two-year-old brother likes to ‘help’ clean the house.”

Example,

妈妈说:“两岁的弟弟喜欢 ‘帮忙’ 打扫家里。”

Liǎng suì de dìdì xǐhuān bāngmáng dǎsǎo jiālǐ

Mom said: “my two-year-old brother likes to ‘help’ clean the house.”

Group of 5 punctuation: Colon 冒号, Question mark 问号, Semicolon 分号, Exclamation mark 惊叹号, and Parentheses 括号

Here, we’ve grouped together 5 punctuation marks because of their similarity to Western punctuation.

These include:

  • Colon 冒号(Màohào)

Example,

老师说:上课了。
Lǎoshī shuō: Shàngkèle.

Teacher: Let’s begin the class.

Chinese punctuation - European punctuation
  • Question mark 问号 (Wènhào)

Example,

他是你男朋友吗?
Tā shì nǐ nán péngyǒu ma?

Is he your boyfriend?

  • Semicolon 分号(Fēnhào)

    Example,

    明天如果冷,我们就吃火锅 ; 明天如果不冷,我们就吃便当。
    Míngtiān rúguǒ lěng, wǒmen jiù chī huǒguō; míngtiān rúguǒ bù lěng, wǒmen jiù chī biàndang.

    If it is cold tomorrow, we will have hot pot. If it is not cold tomorrow, we will have bento.

  • Exclamation mark 惊叹号(Jīngtànhào)

Example,

她上个星期天结婚了!
Tā shàng gè xīngqítiān jiéhūnle!

She got married last Sunday!

  • Parentheses 括号(Guāhào)

Example,

今天是中国新年 (农历一月一日)。
Jīntiān shì zhōngguó xīnnián (nónglì yī yuè yī rì).

Today is Chinese New Year (Lunar calendar January first).

For the 5 punctuations above, their shapes and usage are all similar to Western punctuation.

Title mark 书名号 (Shūmínghào)

Chinese punctuation - title mark

This punctuation literally means “book name mark,” and it is used for titles of books, films, and so on. Full-width double angle brackets are used.

Example,

我很喜欢李连杰演的电影《英雄》。

Wǒ hěn xǐhuān lǐliánjié yǎn de diànyǐng yīngxióng

I like the movie “Hero” that Jet Li starred in. 

Ellipsis 省略号 (Shěnglüèhào)

Chinese punctuation - Chinese punctuation - Ellipsis

In Chinese, the ellipsis is written with 6 dots, instead of 3 in English. The ellipsis occupies the same space as two Chinese characters.

Example,

妈妈:你为什么没有做功课?

我:……

Māmā: Nǐ wèishéme méiyǒu zuò gōngkè?

Wǒ: ……

Mom: why didn’t you do homework?

Me: ……

Middle dot 间隔号 (Jiàngé hào)

Chinese punctuation - Chinese punctuation - middle dot

Chinese uses a middle dot to separate characters in non-Han personal names. When we translate and write a non-Han personal name, we put a middle dot between the first, middle, and last names.

Example,

詹姆士·庞德

Zhān mǔ shì·páng dé

James Bond

Chinese Punctuation Infographic

Chinese punctuation

How to type Chinese punctuation on a Mac

Typing has become very important nowadays. We are going to introduce you to how to type Chinese punctuation on a Mac. 

Since you would like to type Chinese punctuation, it would make sense if you add a Chinese keyboard input. We are using the most common one as an example, which is “Pinyin.”

Check out the video below that teaches you how to add Chinese pinyin input on your Mac.

How do you add “pinyin” input on a Mac? This video shows you how.

Step 1: Open system preference on the top left of the screen.

Step 2: Click keyboard

Step 3: Click input resources

Step 4: Click “+” on the left bottom

Step 5: Find “Chinese Simplified” in the left column and click

Step 6: Find “Pinyin – Simplified” in the right column and click

Step 7: Click Add 

Now you have a pinyin keyboard on your Mac!

 

Let’s start learning how to type Chinese punctuation on a Mac with the pinyin input.

Full Stop 句号

Full Stop 句号(Jùhào)

Simply click the key that has > and . 

Comma 逗号

Comma 逗号(Dòuhào)

Simply click the key that has < and ,

Enumeration comma 顿号

Enumeration comma 顿号(Dùnhào)

Simply click the key that has | and \

Quotation mark 引号

Quotation mark 引号 (Yǐnhào)

Hold “shift” and

click the key that has “ and ’. Click twice to get a set of the quotation marks.

Colon 冒号

Colon 冒号 (Màohào)

Hold “shift” and

click the key that has : and ;

Question mark 问号

Question mark 问号 (Wènhào)

Hold “shift” and

click the key that has ? and /

Semicolon 分号

Semicolon 分号 (Fēnhào)

Simply click the key that has : and ;

Parentheses 括号

Parentheses 括号 (Guāhào)

Hold “shift” and

click the key that has ( and 9

Hold “shift” and

click the key that has ) and 0

Exclamation mark 惊叹号

Exclamation mark 惊叹号 (Jīngtànhào)

Hold “shift” and

click the key that has ! and 1

Title mark 书名号

Title mark 书名号 (Shūmínghào)

Hold “shift” and

click the key that has < and ,

Hold “shift” and

click the key that has > and .

Ellipsis 省略号

Ellipsis 省略号 (Shěnglüèhào)

Hold “shift” and click the key that has ^ and 6

The reason for choosing 6 is because there are 6 dots. Isn’t that easy to remember? 

Middle dot 间隔号

Middle dot 间隔号 (Jiàngé hào)

Simply click the key that has ~ and `

How to type the 12 most common Chinese punctuations Video

Conclusion

Knowing the difference between Western and Chinese punctuation is quite important. Let’s review them again.

Full Stop 句号(Jùhào) → 。

Comma 逗号(Dòuhào) → ,

Enumeration comma 顿号(Dùnhào) → 、

Quotation mark 引号(Yǐnhào) → “ ”

Colon 冒号(Màohào) → :

Question mark 问号(Wènhào) → ?

Semicolon 分号(Fēnhào) → ;

Parentheses 括号(Guāhào) → ( )

Exclamation mark 惊叹号(Jīngtànhào) → !

Title mark 书名号(Shūmínghào) → 《 》

Ellipsis 省略号(Shěnglüèhào) → ……

Middle dot 间隔号(Jiàngé hào) → ·

1 comment

  1. Mongu

    I always used to think Chinese authors used punctuation liberally but now I understand thanks to this article (^▽^;)
    Thanks so much for the explanation!

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