Chinese Punctuation || The Complete Guide

Chinese Punctuation 🤔 How To Use the 12 Most Common

When starting to learn Chinese along with knowing basic Chinese grammar, it’s also important to know the basics of Chinese punctuation (标点符号 biāodiǎn fúhào).

That’s why we’re going to introduce you to the 12 most common Chinese punctuation marks and how they are used.

Quite a few punctuation marks are used very similarly to those in the West, even if some of them look different. So learning how to use them is actually pretty simple!

Chinese Punctuation || Brief Intro and Vocabulary

Chinese Punctuation || Full Stop

Chinese Punctuation || Comma

Chinese Punctuation || Enumeration Comma

Chinese Punctuation || Quotation Mark

Chinese Punctuation || Title Mark

Chinese Punctuation || Ellipsis

Chinese Punctuation || Middle Dot

Chinese Punctuation || Similar to the West

BONUS || Punctuation Quiz

Chinese Punctuation || FAQs


Chinese Punctuation || Brief Introduction and Vocab

Chinese punctuation can be grouped into punctuation marks which are basically the same as those used in the West and those that differ or are unique to Chinese.

Here are seven of the most common punctuation marks which are different in Chinese compared to the West, or have a specific Chinese usage.

Punctuation MarkEnglishChinesePinyin
Full Stop 句号jùhào
,Comma 逗号dòuhào
Enumeration comma顿号dùnhào
 “ … ‘…’ …  ”Quotation mark 引号yǐnhào
《》Title mark 书名号shūmínghào
……Ellipsis 省略号shěnglüèhào
·Middle dot 间隔号jiàngéhào

Along with those, there are five common punctuation marks which function in basically the same way as the West.

Punctuation MarkEnglishChinesePinyin
Question mark问号wènhào
Exclamation mark惊叹号jīngtànhào

Chinese Punctuation || Full Stop


In Chinese a full stop (句号 jùhào) has the same function as it does in the West, however the shape is a bit different.

Rather than just a small dot a Chinese full stop is a full-width small circle which takes up the space of one Chinese character.

Like in the West full stops are used at the end of simple, complex or shortened sentences.

请你帮我买一杯咖啡。Qǐng nǐ bāng wǒ mǎi yībēi kāfēi.
Please help me to buy a cup of coffee.
请坐。Qǐng zuò.
Please sit down.

Chinese Punctuation || Comma


A comma (逗号 dòuhào) in Chinese is used to show pauses in a sentence or to separate clauses within a sentence, the same as it is in the West.

However, there is one important difference which is that commas can not be used for enumerating a list.

(There is a specific type of comma for this, see the next punctuation point.)

如果下雨,我就不出门了。Rúguǒ xiàyǔ, wǒ jiù bù chūmén le.
If it’s raining, I won’t go out.

Chinese Punctuation || Enumeration Comma


As we’ve already mentioned in Chinese you can’t use a normal comma when listing things in a sentence.

Instead there is a specific punctuation mark for this which is called the enumeration comma (顿号 dùnhào).

The enumeration comma is a short dash going from top left to bottom right. It is used to separate words constituting a list.

The listed items are usually in the same category, but not always.

我喜欢芒果、梨子、桃子和草莓。Wǒ xǐhuān mángguǒ, lízi, táozi hé cǎoméi.
I like mangoes, pears, peaches and strawberries.

Chinese Punctuation || Quotation Mark

In simplified Chinese the same quotation marks (引号 yǐnhào) are used as those in English. When text is quoted within a quote it is shown like this: “… ‘…’ …”. 


However, in traditional Chinese square brackets are used instead, which look like this: 「 」.

If text is then quoted within a quote then it appear like this: 「…『…』…」.

In Chinese quote marks can be used to show a quote, the name or title of something and to emphasize or to express satire (like air quotes in English).

她问道,“妈妈,‘狮子’是什么意思?”。Tā wèn dào,“māmā,‘shīzi’ shì shénme yìsi?”
She asked, “Mum, what does ‘lion’ mean?”

Chinese Punctuation || Title Mark


Title mark (书名号 shūmínghào) literally translates to “book name mark” so it should come as no surprise that it is used to indicate the names of books, films, songs, articles, magazines etc.

The marks《》are full-width double angle brackets and they are placed on the outside of titles. If another title is referenced within a title then <> is used.

 我很喜欢李安的电影卧虎藏龙Wǒ hěn xǐhuān lǐ ān dì diànyǐng “wò hǔ cáng lóng”
I really like Ang Lee’s film “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
《观< 别告诉她  >有感》 Guān “bié gàosù tā” yǒu gǎn
Film review of The Farewell

Chinese Punctuation || Ellipsis


An ellipsis (省略号 shěnglüèhào) or known informally as “dot-dot-dot” has the same usage in Chinese punctuation as it does in English.

It is used to either show that something has been intentionally omitted or can be used to show a pause, hesitation or trailing off.

But the key difference with the Chinese ellipsis is that it has six dots, rather than the three used in English. This takes up the same space as two Chinese characters.

我不知道……我不确定。Wǒ bù zhīdào……wǒ bù quèdìng.
I don’t know…I’m not sure.

Chinese Punctuation || Middle Dot


In Chinese a middle dot (间隔号 jiàngéhào) is used between foreign or minority names.

The dot is placed between first, middle and last names to indicate their separation.

You’ll most often see this used for foreign celebrities or foreign fictional characters that have had their names transliterated.

哈利・波特 hālì bōtè
Harry Potter
在中国,凯蒂·佩里的绰号叫”水果姐” Zài zhōngguó, kǎi dì·pèi lǐ de chuò háo jiào”shuǐguǒ jiě”
In China, Katy Perry has the nickname “Fruit Sister”

Chinese Punctuation || Five Similar to the West

The following five Chinese punctuation marks have basically the same usage as they do in the West.

In Chinese, question marks, exclamation marks, colons, semicolons and brackets can simply be used in the same way that you would in English.

  • Question mark (问号 wènhào)
    • 她是什么时候结的婚?Tā shì shénme shíhou jié de hūn?
      When did she get married?
  • Exclamation mark (惊叹号 jīngtànhào)
    • 今天天气真好啊!Jīntiān tiānqì zhēn hǎo a.
      What a lovely day today!
  • Colon (冒号 màohào)
    • 他高兴地答道:“没问题!” Tā gāoxìng de dá dào:“Méi wèntí!”
      He answered happily: “No problem!”
  • Semicolon (分号 fēnhào)
    • 早上起来,外面下了一场大雨;到了中午,天气却突然放晴了。Zǎoshang qǐlái, wàimiàn xiàle yī chǎng dàyǔ; dàole zhōngwǔ, tiānqì què túrán fàngqíngle.
      When I got up in the morning, it was raining hard outside, but by noon, it suddenly became sunny.
  • Brackets (括号 kuòhào)
    • 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).

Chinese Punctuation || Quiz

Now that we have looked at the 12 most common Chinese punctuation marks, why not put yourself to the test?

Take the quiz below to see if you can remember the Chinese names for all the punctuation marks we’ve looked at!

Welcome to Plants Quiz! Enter your First name and email to begin. Don't worry you can unsubscribe at any time!

First Name

Chinese Punctuation || FAQs

Is there punctuation in Chinese?

Yes, there is punctuation in Chinese. Some Chinese punctuation is used in the same way as it is in English/the West, however some is unique to Chinese.

Do you use question marks in Chinese?

Yes, question marks are used in Chinese and their usage is very similar to that in the West.

What is the Chinese enumeration comma?

The Chinese enumeration comma is a comma unique to Chinese which is used to separate items when listing them. A normal comma can not be used in this way in Chinese.

What is full stop in Chinese?

Full stop in Chinese is 句号 jùhào.

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