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Space before two (or more) part punctuation?

I think you are supposed to have a space before two (or more) part punctuation marks. E.g., it should be: "Ça va ?" and not "Ça va?".

I noted the duo-generated sentences had the space, but it neither dinged me, nor reminded me if I omitted it.

Can anyone speak to this? I was talking to a Swiss friend today and mentioned this convention and he said he'd never heard of it.

May 2, 2012



This is actually a notable difference between European French and Canadian French. The former puts spaces on either side of question marks, exclamation marks, colons, and semicolons, as well as inside guillemets (« and »). The latter is more like English in that there is generally no space before these marks and regular quotation marks (“ and ”) are used instead.


Indeed, in french we often have a space before a punctuation mark, and also after.

Here are a few examples (doesn't make any sense):

Voici des exemples : "Tu manges avec nous ? Ne touches pas à ça ! Evidemment, c'est ce que je voulais dire. Adieu (je ne t'en veux pas)."


duolinguo doesn't care at all about punctuation marks. You can leave them off completely and still be graded correct.


Oh, I see, maybe it just doesn't care about punctuation.


I had no idea! I sent feedback thinking the extra space was just a typo. :(


The reason I got to think it did care about punctuation was because it dinged me for "ça va" instead of "Ça va" (I didn't capitalize the ç character). This was just an unrelated bug.


Duolingo ignores punctuation.

But just because I opened this topic, the rules are covered at: http://french.about.com/library/writing/bl-punctuation.htm . I can't speak to how widely they are observed.

Because I was confused what "two (or more) part punctuation" was when I first read it, it means punctuation where you have to lift your pen to draw it. E.g. "?" ";" "!" ":" "«" "»" etc. while a one-part punctuation character, like "." or "'" does not require it.


@timparenti Thanks for clearing that up. I don't recall anything about this from school, so I guess in Canada we don't use that leading space.


I forgot: it is supposed to be a non-breaking space.

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