I was surprised to see that normal punctuation rules apply after a closing em dash (raya de cierre). For example:

Esperaba a Emilio —un gran amigo—, que, lamentablemente, no vino.

There's a comma after the dash [—,], which would be incorrect in English.

However, I'm doing a typographic revision of a book in English and Spanish, and have noticed that the author doesn't apply that rule with parentheses. For example:

Si desea más información sobre este tema (la bibliografía es bastante extensa —incluso en español), deberá acudir a otras fuentes.

Is that second example an error? Should it be "... en español—), deberá ..." Or does the rule about punctuation not apply for a closing parentheses?

  • 1
    Si tras la raya de cierre ha de aparecer algún signo de puntuación, este se escribirá sin blanco de separación con respecto a este signo (DPD, p. 556). So the presence of a punctuation symbol after the dash is contemplated.
    – guillem
    Jun 20, 2016 at 18:00

1 Answer 1


The Diccionario panhispánico de dudas has an article on dashes (which, from your example, I see you've already read). Usage of em dashes in Spanish is pretty much restricted to incisos (parentheticals) and for punctuating interventions in a dialogue or quotation. When it is used to set off a parenthetical, stops/periods, parentheses, question/exclamation marks or any other punctuation mark are still necessary:

La raya de cierre en los incisos no se suprime aunque detrás de ella deba aparecer un punto o cualquier otro signo de puntuación:

Esperaba a Emilio —un gran amigo—. Lamentablemente, no vino.

Esperaba a Emilio —un gran amigo—, que, lamentablemente, no vino.

From DPD; emphasis added.

Your sentence should read:

Si desea más información sobre este tema (la bibliografía es bastante extensa —incluso en español—), deberá acudir a otras fuentes.

Bottom line: parentheses are no exception.

  • Yes, you're right. I did read it. (And stole the examples in order to maintain confidentiality with the text I'm proofreading!) Unless I missed it, they didn't address the parentheses. But I had doubts because the author was consistent in all other similar contexts --but not with parentheses. Also, being my second language, I wasn't sure. Thanks!
    – Matt
    Jun 20, 2016 at 21:33
  • @Matt Maybe he didn't add the second dash when using parentheses because that's not something you see too often (i.e. a parenthetical inside another parenthetical). I have to admit I've never seen this written, but I guess if parentheses were an exception RAE would have pointed that out.
    – Yay
    Jun 20, 2016 at 21:43

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