Punctuation Cheat Sheet

Published on June 3, 2009 (↻ February 5, 2024), filed under and (RSS feed for all categories).

This and many other posts are also available as a pretty, well-behaved ebook: On Web Development.

Developing and working with international sites is an interesting challenge, not just because of right-to-left contents. Typographically, there are differences between many locales. To improve punctuation in Google translations I’m using a localization aid that I found so useful to finally share:

Punctuation cheat sheet.

The cheat sheet lists the primary and secondary quotation marks of 51 languages (mostly as per Wikipedia). It also includes information about characters that tend not to be used the right way that often, like dashes and ellipses, as well as notes on the use of decimal points vs. decimal commas.

I’m still working on the document but like it to be of service to more people. Contact me if you like to contribute. A different hosting location and alternative formats are under investigation.

Was this useful or interesting? Share (toot) this post, or support my work by buying one of my books (they’re affordable, and many receive updates). Thanks!

About Me

Jens Oliver Meiert, on September 30, 2021.

I’m Jens (long: Jens Oliver Meiert), and I’m a frontend engineering leader and tech author/publisher. I’ve worked as a technical lead for companies like Google and as an engineering manager for companies like Miro, I’m close to W3C and WHATWG, and I write and review books for O’Reilly and Frontend Dogma.

I love trying things, not only in web development (and engineering management), but also in other areas like philosophy. Here on meiert.com I share some of my views and experiences.

If you want to do me a favor, interpret charitably (I speak three languages, and they can collide), yet be critical and give feedback for me to learn and improve. Thank you!

Comments (Closed)

  1. On June 3, 2009, 20:59 CEST, John Drinkwater said:

    A minor change:
    Language, ISO, primary, secondary
    English (US), en-us, “”,
    English, en, ‘’, “”

    Instead of tickboxes for decimal separators, you need a numbers page for: decimal points (1?23), separators (1?234?000), negative values (-123 or (123) etc), etc.

  2. On June 4, 2009, 13:13 CEST, Neovov said:


    I’d planned to do the same thing but only in French & English. I hope I’ll can help you 😉.

  3. On June 4, 2009, 16:13 CEST, pepelsbey said:

    Oh, useful thing.

    One more special rule for Russian punctuation: spaces before and after middle dash.

    Blah — blah.

  4. On June 5, 2009, 18:03 CEST, Reese Payton said:

    Cheat sheets are the best! Thanks for your work and your time, it will be a useful tool for many.

  5. On June 7, 2009, 2:57 CEST, Jens Oliver Meiert said:

    Thank you! I updated the cheat sheet to reflect some facts I recently learned about (although Swiss decimal separators, for instance, aren’t completely transparent I find), and I also included a few Windows shortcuts.

  6. On June 7, 2009, 21:37 CEST, dillon said:

    Thanks for all your great work. I am sure that i will be able to take advantage of the cheat sheet!

  7. On June 18, 2009, 19:48 CEST, Donna said:

    Always a fan of cheat sheets.

    Had not thought to check Wikipedia for an article on international punctuation. Heading there next. Thanks!

  8. On June 25, 2009, 7:52 CEST, Martijn van der Ven said:

    How about adding thousands separators to the cheat sheet as well? Wikipedia mentions them on their page about decimal separators too. From their examples of use many of the needed information can be taken.

    The most notable country here would in fact be Switserland, where an apostrophe is used. Something which certain other countries—I’ve seen German friends use it—only do in handwriting.