General guidelines 

Use common sense. Punctuation should help make written language clear to readers. If it does not, it should not be there. In line with most modern recommendations on this subject, we recommend light use of punctuation: as much as is necessary but no more.

  • Precedence

    Be careful of using two or more punctuation marks in succession. Generally speaking, use the stronger or more necessary one. For example, question and exclamation marks are stronger than commas and full stops. However, quotation marks, brackets and ellipsis points are often used next to other punctuation marks. In the first of the two examples below, the question mark is used instead of the habitual comma and precedes the closing quotation marks; and in the second, a full stop is not needed because the exclamation mark already ends the sentence.

    Exemple correcte “Have all the results been reported?” asked the researcher.

    Exemple correcte Fees must be paid by 20 December!


  • Punctuation and spacing

    Punctuation marks in English – apart from dashes, ellipsis points, slashes and opening brackets – are always next to the preceding word, without a space.

    Slashes are closed up to the preceding word and to the next word when they separate two single words.

    Exemple correcte and/or
    Exemple correcte male/female


    When a slash separates two groups of words or a group of words from a single word, insert a space before and after the slash.

    Exemple correcte This proposal has been approved / requires further consideration.

    Exemple correcte Such documents shall be signed by the rector / rector’s delegate, as applicable.


    Full stops, question marks, exclamation marks, commas, colons and semicolons are always followed by a single space.
Darrera actualització: 26-10-2017
Impressió del capítol | Impressió de la pàgina
Recommended citation:
«General guidelines» [en línia]. A: Criteris de la Universitat de Barcelona (CUB). Style Guide. Barcelona: Universitat de Barcelona. Serveis Lingüístics. <https://www.ub.edu/cub/criteri.php?id=2279> [consulta: 25 juny 2021].