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 { }
Punctuation marks
apostrophe   '
brackets [ ]  ( )  { }  ⟨ ⟩
colon :
comma ,  ،  
dash   –  —  ―
ellipsis   ...  . . .
exclamation mark  !
full stop, period .
hyphen-minus -
question mark  ?
quotation marks ‘ ’  “ ”  ' '  " "
semicolon ;
slash, stroke, solidus /  
Word dividers
interpunct ·
General typography
ampersand &
asterisk *
at sign @
backslash \
caret ^
dagger † ‡
degree °
ditto mark
inverted exclamation mark ¡
inverted question mark ¿
number sign, pound, hash, octothorpe #
numero sign
obelus ÷
ordinal indicator º ª
percent, per mil  % ‰
plus and minus + −
basis point
section sign §
tilde ~
underscore, understrike _
vertical bar, pipe, broken bar |    ¦
Intellectual property
copyright ©
sound-recording copyright
registered trademark ®
service mark
generic currency symbol ¤

  ฿    ¢      $          ƒ                        £                    ¥ 

Uncommon typography
index, fist
irony punctuation
reference mark
In other scripts
For the Wikipedia Manual of Style for punctuation, see WP:MOS.

This page, Help:Punctuation, explains the use of punctuation marks in Wikipedia pages. In general, pages can contain the type of punctuation marks used in major English style guides. However, some characters entered into column 1 of a line, or combinations of punctuation characters, have special meanings as markup directives to perform extra text formatting.


Typewriter apostrophes ‹'›, along its use as a quotation mark, encodes also italic text ‹''…''› and boldface text ‹'''…'''›.


Ampersand is a prefix to access entities in Wiki code, just like in HTML. Ampersand itself should be encoded as ‹&› to avoid possible syntactic interference.


A leading asterisk ‹*›, in column 1 of a line, denotes the start of an indented bullet line. The bullet line can be indented further by prepending a colon ‹:*› or two ‹::*› or three ‹:::*› (etc.), for more indentation.

Braces or curly brackets[edit]

The double-braces, or curly brackets ‹{{ }}›, are used to denote a markup function, variable, or template call (such as ‹{{convert|7|km|mi}}›. However, the triple braces denote a parameter value (such as parameter 1 ‹{{{1}}}›).


The single square brackets ‹[ ]› are used to link to an external website, with the URL address in brackets (such as ‹[ Goog]›). More often, the double-bracket notation ‹[[ ]]› is used to denote a wp:wikilink (or hyperlink) connecting to another page.

Dashes, hyphens, and minus signs[edit]

Dashes (such as an en dash ‹–›, which can be coded by ‹–›, and a longer em dash ‹—›, which can be coded by ‹—›) are punctuation marks with a variety of uses in English typography; see MOS:DASH.

The hyphen-minus ‹-›, also known as the keyboard hyphen and keyboard stroke, has several uses along its rôle as a word joiner. A separate line of 4 hyphens ‹----› causes a horizontal-rule line to display. Also, a pipe-stroke, or vertical bar with hyphen ‹|-› denotes a row inside a wp:wikitable. The use of hyphens as a substitute for dashes is substandard in English Wikipedia; see MOS:HYPHEN.

The hyphen-minus is used as a minus sign in computer programming languages, and in math mode, but in text, the proper typographical symbol for negation or subtraction is the minus sign, available in the "Special characters" dropdown of the edit pane among the "Symbols" in the list ≥ ± − × ÷ ← → · § ‽ where the third character is the "minus". Minus signs may also be coded by "−".

Another kind of hyphen is the non‑breaking hyphen, available in the Wiki code as ‹{{nbhyph}}›. This character has the sole purpose to be a non-breaking word joiner.

Unlike the hyphen-minus, the dashes and minus sign do not have any special rôle in the MediaWiki markup language.


A leading colon ‹:› on a line causes the line to be indented, where 2 colons ‹::› indents by 2 tab stops, and three ‹:::› indents by 3 tab stops, etc.

Less-than and greater-than signs[edit]

Like in HTML code, ‹< >› are used in Wiki code for tags. That's why < sometimes needs to be written as ‹&lt;›.

Pound sign[edit]

A leading pound sign ‹#›, in column 1 of a line, causes the line to be displayed as an auto-numbered line in a list of numbered entries. The numbered line can be indented further by prepending a colon ‹:#" or two ‹::#› or three ‹:::#› or such, for more indentation.


A leading semicolon ‹;›, in column 1 of a line, causes the line to be displayed as a bolded, non-indexed section header. The bolded header can be indented further by prepending a colon ‹:;› or two colons ‹::;› or three ‹:::;› (etc.), for more indentation.

Pipe or vertical bar[edit]

A pipe symbol, or vertical bar ‹|›, is used for several purposes. Inside a wikilink, the bar separates the link from the displayed anchor text (such as ‹[[boat anchor|anchor]]›). In a template call, the bar separates parameters from each other. In a wp:wikitable, a brace with vertical bar begins a table ‹{|›, a lone bar denotes a column cell, and a bar-hyphen ‹|-› denotes another row in the table. A wikitable ends with the bar-brace token ‹|}›.

See also[edit]

  • Wiki markup – description of major features of the markup language
[ This essay is a quick draft to be expanded later. ]