What is the Greek question mark? Why do the Greek quotation marks look so different?
One of the most common assumptions Greek language students have when starting their learning journey is that the Greek punctuation marks are the same as the ones used in English or other European languages. Although most punctuation marks are used in the same way, there are also many differences.
Τα Ελληνικά Σημεία Στίξης
The Greek Question Mark: “?” or “;” | Το Ερωτηματικό
If you are using this question mark (?) at the end of a question in Greek, you are grammatically wrong. Most people will understand that you are asking a question, however, the correct Greek question mark is the following: ;
“How are you?”
The Greek Semicolon | Η Άνω Τελεία
If the English semicolon is the Greek question mark, what symbol represents the Greek semicolon? The punctuation mark that is used in this case is the «άνω τελεία» or “up dot”, which is basically an interpunct: ꞏ
«Δεν είχε χρήματαꞏ ξέχασε το πορτοφόλι του.»
“He had no money; he left his wallet (at home).”
The Greek Quote Marks | Τα Ελληνικά Εισαγωγικά
As you might have already noticed from the above examples, the Greek quote marks are the same as the ones used in the French language: «»
The English quotes are used only when it is necessary to add another set of quotes in the quoted sentence.
«Τι έκανες;», ρώτησε.
“What have you done?”, he asked.
«Τι σημαίνει “κέφι”;»
“What is ‘kefi’?”
Other Punctuation Marks | Άλλα Σημεία Στίξης
The rest of the punctuation marks, such as the full stop (.), the comma (,), the exclamation mark (!), and the suspension points (…) are the same as in English.
Here are their names in Greek:
• Full stop= Τελεία
• Comma= Κόμμα*
• Exclamation mark= Θαυμαστικό
• Suspension points= Αποσιωπητικά
*The word “comma” in English derives from this Greek word. «Κόμμα» also means “(political) party”.