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Punctuation in Arabic Posted by on Sep 10, 2010 in Grammar

Punctuation marks (علامات الترقيم) are not always used correctly in Arabic. In this post, I explain some of the rules related to the use of punctuation marks. First of all, it should be noted that some punctuation marks in Arabic look different from the English counterparts, e.g. the English comma is (,) while the Arabic comma (الفاصلة) points the opposite way (،) and it is written on top of the line. The English question mark is (?) while the Arabic question mark (علامة الاستفهام) looks like this (؟).

The full stop (النقطة) is used at the end of declarative sentences, and the question mark (؟) is used at the end of questions, e.g.

أين المدير؟

المدير في المكتب.

“Where is the manager?”

“He is in the office?”

The comma (،) is used to between different clauses in compound sentences, e.g.

أحب السفر كل صيف، ولكن هذا العام لن أسافر بسبب انشغالي بالدراسة.

“I like to travel every summer, but this year I will not travel for being busy with my study.”

It should be noted that we should not use a comma between basic parts of the sentence like the subject and the predicate, or the subject and the verb.

The colon (:) is used to introduce a quotation, and the quotation marks “” are used before and after the quotation e.g.

قال المدير: “عندنا اجتماع بعد قليل.”

The manager said: “we have a meeting after a short while.”

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