As we all know, nothing is unimportant in a language. This applies not only to grammar and pronunciation, but also to punctuation. However, it is the thing that is given the least importance in learning foreign languages. That makes sense – it would be great to remember grammatical constructions, let alone dashes and full stops! This can be most clearly illustrated by English – many of us have been and still are learning it, but how many of us know how to correctly place punctuation marks in this language? It’s the same with Czech – due attention is not always paid to punctuation. And yet, there are some things that every Czech learner should know.
Why is there a full stop after some numbers, although the sentence is not over yet? And why are there some places where the per cent sign is separated from a number by a space, and some where it is not? Maybe those are mistakes? No, all these full stops and spaces are meaning-making elements.
If there is a dot next to a number in a Czech text, then we are facing an ordinal number. 25. is read like “twenty-fifth”. The same thing is with the per cent sign – if there is no space, then we are talking about an object that has a certain amount of something and the percentage is used as a characteristic. For example, 25% fat cheese. And if there is a space, then it’s just a percentage. 25 % simply means “twenty-five per cent”.
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