Punctuation. General guidelines


    The content of these guidelines is taken from the third edition of the Vives University Network’s Interuniversity Style Guide for Writing Institutional Texts, an interuniversity project in which the UPC participates with the support of the Secretariat for Universities and Research of the Government of Catalonia.


    General guidelines

    • Punctuation is an important aspect of any written text. Good punctuation organises or divides the text to make meaning clearer; poor punctuation will make it difficult to understand.
    • Use common sense. Punctuation should help make written language clear to readers. If it does not, it should not be there.



    • With the exception of quotation marks, brackets and ellipsis points, never use two or more punctuation marks together. Always use the stronger or more necessary one. For example, question and exclamation marks are stronger than commas and full stops. In the first of the two examples the question mark fills the role of the comma; and in the second, a full stop is not used after the exclamation mark.

      "Have all the results been reported?" asked the researcher.
      The topic of the presentation is "More funding for research and development!"


    Punctuation and spacing

    • Punctuation marks in English – apart from dashes, ellipsis points and slashes – are always closed up to the preceding word.
    • Slashes are closed up to the preceding word and to the next word when they separate two single words.

      and/or       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.

      This proposal has been approved / requires further consideration.
      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.