Open Sidebar

120 Days to TOPIK #25 – TOPIK Writing Punctuation Marks


TOPIK Writing (or, Korean writing in general), pretty much follows the same punctuation conventions as English.

  1. Periods mark the end of sentences or abbreviations and separate dates
  2. Commas create lists, separate phrases, and mark speech
  3. Question marks finish questions
  4. Exclamation marks express animated remarks (surprise, shouts, rebukes, etc)
  5. Quotation marks express speech and animal sounds
  6. Single quotation marks show speech within speech (reported speech) or highlight keywords in a sentence
  7. Ellipses represent silence or speech that trails off

There is one notable NEW punctuation mark that isn’t commonly used in English as well:

  1. The middle dot is also used to make lists and to mark dates with a certain significance (like red days/national holidays)

The following list is an explanation of the full range of uses for each punctuation mark:

문장무호 (Punctuation Marks)

  1. 마침표 ( . ) = period
    1. 한 문장이 끝났을 때 씁니다 = Use at the end of a sentence
    2. 약자(준말) 뒤에 씁니다 = Use behind abbreviations (or dates)
  2. 쉼표 ( , ) = comma
    1. 짝을 지어 구문할 때 씁니다 = Use in a paired phrase
    2. 같은 계열의 말이 이어질 때 씁니다 = Use with a list of correlated things
    3. 절과 절을 떼어 놓을 때 씁니다 = Use when separating sentence phrases
    4. 부르는 말이나 대답 뒤에 씁니다 = Use after spoken phrases and answers
    5. 가벼운 감탄을 나타낼 때 씁니다 = Use after expressions of admiration
    6. 말이 끝나고 이어 주는 말 뒤에 씁니다 = Use after words that end a phrase
    7. 같은 말의 되풀이를 줄일 때 씁니다 = Use to separate and reduce recurring phrases
  3. 물음표 ( ? ) = question mark
    1. 직접 물을 때 씁니다 = Use when asking a direct question
    2. 의문을  나타낼 때 씁니다 = Use for any question
    3. 한 문장에 두 개 이상의 물음이 겹쳤을 때는 맨 마지막 말에만 씁니다  = If there are two questions in a phrase, only use the question mark at the very end
  4. 느낌표 ( ! ) = exclamation mark
    1. 느낌이나 놀라움을 나타낼 때 씁니다 = Use to express feelings and surprise
    2. 명령, 구령을 나타낼 때 씁니다 = Use for commands and shouts
    3. 꾸짖거나 기막힘을 나타낼 때 씁니다 = Use for rebukes or expressions of perfection
  5. 가운뎃점 ( ㆍ ) = middle dot
    1. 문장의 성분이 같은 것들을 여러 개 나타낼 때 씁니다 = Use when the components of a sentence constitute the same kind of things (like in a list)
    2. 특정한 의미를 가지는 날을 나타내는 숫자에 씁니다 = Use for writing dates with a particular significance
  6. 큰 따옴표 ( “ ” ) = double quotation marks
    1. 글 가운데서 주고받는 말을 나타낼 때 씁니다 = Use to represent an exchange of spoken language
    2. 새, 동물 등의 소리를 나타낼 때 씁니다 = Use to represent bird and animal sounds
  7. 작은 따옴표 ( ‘ ‘ ) = single quotation marks
    1. 대화 속에 또 다른 말을 옮겨 쓸 때 씁니다 = Use in a conversation when another different speaker speaks (indirect or reported speech)
    2. 대화나 문장 속에 특별한 말을 드러낼 때 씁니다 = Use to point out certain words in a conversation or sentence
  8. 말줄임표 ( …… ) = ellipsis
    1. 뒷말을 줄일 때 씁니다 = Use at the end of a trailing off sentence
    2. 침묵을 나타낼 때 씁니다 = Use to represent silence in speech


Familiarize yourself with these uses of punctuation marks and practice using them like this (if you already have good punctuation in English, then you’re well on your way to doing well in Korean also).


How’s your TOPIK study going? I recently finished all the nouns in my vocabulary book (around 660 of them) and now I’m on to new verbs! But definitely time for me to put these new words and the punctuation rules above to use in my Writing practice.

How about you? What are you working on these days? Let me know in the Comments below or on social media with #120TOPIK.

Liked it? Take a second to support Aaron on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!

Written by




Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

schedule <