Typographic rules in Quebec and France

Many differences are dividing French-speaking countries for all what is about language level and spelling rules. Belgium, Switzerland, France and Quebec province – if you give me the right to include it as a country – possess their own language specific rules.

What about ponctuation typographic rules? Still, many differences. I have seen it a lot while writing a plugin for typographic rules for Joomla!.

If you give importance to typographic rules in printed media, you also should take care of it on Internet. It seems to me that it’s also very important…

Because these rules may be pretty confusing sometimes, I’ve written a table for it. This table doesn’t include English typographic rules yet, but this is to come in near future. This table isn’t very complete, this is rather a start that will be completed each time I get new information and I think to include it here.

Replacements fr_CA fr_FR

nonbreaking space before
If numerical time – no space

Example : This is an example.

Example : It is 21:42.


no space

Here is an example; semicolon has no space.

nonbreaking space before

Here is an example ; semicolon has a space.


no space

This is a question?

thin nonbreaking space or nonbreaking space before

This is a question ?


no space

This is an exclamation!

thin nonbreaking space or nonbreaking space before

This is an exclamation !


nonbreaking space before sign

You owe me 50 $

  • « »
  • (non breaking space after opening quote mark)
  • (non breaking space before closing quote mark)
  • « Between quote marks »
  •  %

nonbreaking space before

I’ve got 80 % at my exam

  •  /

nonbreaking space before and after

this / that

( ) [ ] nonbreaking space before and after
. normal space after

Thin spaces : In Quebec, if the software you use allows it, put a thin space where rules says to put no space, else no space. Thin space helps lisibility.

Nonbreaking spaces for Web : HTML entity   is your friend.

Sources : 

  1. Règles typographiques dans MS Word, Bétel – OQLF – Mai 2003
  2. Banque de dépannage linguistique

Ce message est également disponible en : French

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