In general, Elefen leaves the choice of punctuation up to the writer, the only standards being those of clarity and consistency. There are certain basic conventions, though, which are the same as in most European languages.
The first word in a sentence should start with a capital letter.
An ordinary sentence ends with a period or full stop (
If a sentence is a direct question, it ends with a question mark (
An exclamation mark (
! ) can be used at the end of a sentence that would have an emotional intensity if spoken.
A comma (
, ) indicates a natural pause in a sentence, or is sometimes just included to clearly separate one part of a sentence (such as a clause) from another. Commas are also used to separate the items of a list.
When writing numbers, the decimal point can be written as either a comma or a period (dot). Adjacent groups of three digits can be separated by spaces.
The colon (
: ) introduces a more detailed presentation of what precedes it. Use a capital letter after a colon if what follows is a complete sentence, but not if it's just a list or part of a sentence.
The semicolon (
; ) can be used in place of a period between two sentences that closely reflect or balance each other. It can also separate the items of a list where these are lengthy or contain their own commas.
Don't place a space to the left of a primary punctuation mark. But do place a space to the right, except at the end of a paragraph.
A quotation mark appears at the start and end of words that are presented as a direct quotation. There are various forms of quotation mark in the world, including
In Elefen, the form
” is normally used, as it's clear, easy to type, and international. When one quotation appears within another,
' is placed around the inner quotation – there's an example below. In good typography, as in books, the curved forms
‘’ are used, but these are unnecessary in everyday communication. Don't place spaces between the quotation marks and the quoted text.
In some languages, a dash ( — ) appears in the middle of dialogue when a new person begins to speak, instead of quotation marks. We recommend avoiding this in Elefen, because it's less clear, and can be confused with other uses of dashes.
When quoting the words of a character in a story, the quotation is often accompanied by a tag indicating who is speaking, and their manner. For such sentences in Elefen, it's best to place a dash between this tag and each part of the quotation. That way it's easy to preserve the exact punctuation of the original sentence:
When writing about languages and quoting a word or phrase in order to mention it, just use quotation marks:
The ellipsis (
… ) suggests a pause, or indicates that some words have been left out.
Dashes ( – o — ) and parentheses (
) ) surround comments inserted into the normal flow of a sentence.
The apostrophe (
' ) indicates that a vowel has been omitted. This normally only occurs in verse.
In Elefen, currency symbols (€, ¥, £, $, etc) are written before or after the digits of prices, according to the custom of the country in question.
Additional punctuation marks exist, but their usage has little connection to the rules of Elefen.