In English, we have different schools of thought on whether or not to use "double punctuation" at the end of a sentence. (See Terminal Points for a good chart that will help you abide by at least one school of thought in English.)

Knowing that punctuation conventions differ from one language to another, what is standard punctuation in Spanish as it relates to sentences that end with abbreviated words ending in a period? For example, should I write

¿De dónde es Ud.?


¿De dónde es Ud?

Along these same lines, what is the standard for parenthetical punctuation? Examples below are from the English Language & Usage StackExchange:

From "Should I use double punctuation inside and outside parentheses? [duplicate]"

Honor your creativity and write down anything that comes to mind (no matter how silly!).

Honor your creativity and write down anything that comes to mind (no matter how silly!)

and from "Where does the question mark go — inside or outside the parentheses?"

I tripped over this morning. I was distracted by a plane (or was it Superman?)

(or was it Superman?).

(or was it Superman)?

If you happen to know of a good resource (online or print, free or for purchase) that addresses punctuation conventions in Spanish, please include it in your answer.

2 Answers 2


Well, I'm no print, online, or for purchase resource but I can say this: in your example, the period next to "Ud" is an abbreviation mark more than punctuation. Punctuation would be periods, commas, and the like.

Standard Spanish, no matter what region, uses the same punctuation conventions as English and a majority of other languages.

So that means your 'period' at the end of usted needs to be included, or else it just becomes the word "Ud" which doesn't exist. However British and American English disagree on this type of dis-including in proper names. Note that it's always a good idea to include the period as it makes it more clear it's an abbreviation.

(thepunctuationguide.com has a good reference on how to use parentheses in English, so that might help you discern more about Spanish.)

  • First of all, thank you for the honesty (and humor) about your credentials. They immediately gave you a legitimacy that reeled me in and made me want to read the rest of your answer. I am glad I did. Your logic is sharp and will definitely help me remember that "Ud" needs a period even if placed at the end of a sentence. Thank you also for pointing out that the period after "Ud" is an abbreviation mark and not a mark of punctuation. Clearly, that was a "point" that had been lost on me. I also look forward to checking out the resources you add links for. Thank you for including them.
    – Lisa Beck
    Aug 13, 2016 at 16:02

I recommend checking out the DPD article on periods. Section 3.2 answers your second question (emphasis added):

3.2. No debe escribirse punto tras los signos de cierre de interrogación o de exclamación, aunque con ellos termine el enunciado; está, pues, incorrectamente puntuada la secuencia siguiente: ¿Quieres darte prisa?. ¡Vamos a llegar tarde por tu culpa!. Pero ¿se puede saber qué estás haciendo?. Solo debe escribirse punto si tras los signos de interrogación o de exclamación hay paréntesis o comillas de cierre: Se puso a gritar como un loco (¡vaya genio que tiene el amigo!).

Therefore, the correctly punctuated sentences would be:

Haz honor a tu creatividad y escribe lo que sea que se te venga a la mente (¡no importa/da igual lo bobo que sea!).

Esta mañana tropecé y me caí. Me distrajo un avión (¿o fue Supermán?).

Unfortunately, I didn't find anything regarding your first question, either on the DPD or the Nueva ortografía (§, but I'd definitely go with ¿De dónde es Ud.?

As a real life example, see the following excerpt by the Spanish well-known author Benito Pérez Galdós:

– ¿De modo que ya se han explicado Uds.? –preguntó Horacio.

Pérez Galdós, Benito (c 1872). Rosalía. Retrieved from CORDE.

  • Thoroughly enjoyed reading your answer and plan to tuck away into my treasure chest of Spanish resources the many references you cite. That said, I'm actually going to give the checkmark to the answer from user24986 for the fact that not only does it give me the answer to that first question but also tells me why through logic that is difficult to argue against. Please don't think that I don't also find your answer valuable.
    – Lisa Beck
    Aug 13, 2016 at 15:52

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