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Linguaholic

Punctuation done right


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There's often a confusion with the punctuation in general when you speak about people writing both in English and in French, doesn't matter if you talk about French native speakers writing in English or English native speakers writing in French. As well, the confusion happens in both languages, so much that the French native speaker may be confused about French punctuation in the end.
So, as this is a common point people have hard time to remember, here's few rules:
After a colon ":" and a semi-colon ";", you need to put a space before and after, like "Les jours de la semaine : Lundi ; Mardi".
The comma "," is like in English, no confusion.
The "?", the "!" features a space before and after as well, like "Tu connais la place de Concorde ?".

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I never knew this! Is there any reason as to why they space their punctuation as such? I always wrote my French reports with traditional punctuation conventions, and this was never commented on. It's probably because it's an extremely miniscule thing to nitpick, but what's to gain from using these extra spaces?

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I never knew this! Is there any reason as to why they space their punctuation as such? I always wrote my French reports with traditional punctuation conventions, and this was never commented on. It's probably because it's an extremely miniscule thing to nitpick, but what's to gain from using these extra spaces?

Whoa, honestly, I don't know why it is done like that. I must admit I hate when I see French texts with English or without spaces punctuation, it just makes things look less clean in my opinion, hence why I tend to learn and remember it. However, when it's English text it doesn't shock me since it's the normal punctuation.
I guess it is much cultural, to be honest, and not really thought. Even about simple things as ordering some languages and cultural conventions doesn't agree about how to do it. It's how we live with numbers after all: left to right text, but right to left numbers.

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I think I remember back in school days that we were taught about the use of a space after the said punctuations. I guess people or some people do not really recognize the difference whether you followed this simple rule or not. They pay more attention to the obvious but this is a great reminder for me. 

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I think I remember back in school days that we were taught about the use of a space after the said punctuations. I guess people or some people do not really recognize the difference whether you followed this simple rule or not. They pay more attention to the obvious but this is a great reminder for me. 

The problem is that after, it is shared in English and in French, but there's more spaces before in the French language than in English. And to be honest, I think it may be just a way to more easily differentiate the two languages. I don't think every style decision was made based on a thoughtful analysis of what it implies and was just done that way because a choice has to be made. That's often how style ends up to become rules.

So the purpose of doing so and following these punctuation rules are more for looking like native and follow the "right" style depending of the language, than anything else.

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