English Braille
American Edition



Definition of Braille

Rules of Braille
  1. Punctuation Signs
  2. Special Composition Signs
  3. Format
  4. Asterisk, Footnotes, References
  5. Accent Sign, Diphthongs, Foreign Languages
  6. Abbreviations
  7. Numbers and Roman Numerals
  8. Coinage, Weights, and Other Special Symbols
  9. Poetry, Scansion, and Stress
  10. General Use of Contractions
  11. One-cell whole-word contractions
  12. One-cell part-word contractions
  13. Lower Signs
  14. Initial-letter contractions
  15. Final-letter contractions
  16. Short-form words

  • Index
    Typical and Problem Words

  • Index
    BRL Courses
  • Intro to Braille
  • Braille Transcribers
  • Specialized Codes


    Sign Meaning
    1 , comma
    2 ; semicolon
    3 : colon
    4 . period
    6 ! exclamation point
    7 ( ) opening and closing parentheses
    ,7 [ opening bracket
    7' ] closing bracket
    8 “ " ? opening double quotation mark; question mark
    0 ” " closing double quotation mark
    ,8 ’ ' opening single quotation mark
    0' ’ ' closing single quotation mark
    99 * asterisk
    ' ’ ' apostrophe
    ''' ... ellipsis
    - - hyphen
    -- ___ dash
    ---- double dash
    "1 ” " ditto sign

    1.   The use and order of all punctuation signs follow print practice.

    2.  Quotation Marks:

      Print Opening Double Quotation Mark " “ 8
      Print Closing Double Quotation Mark " ” 0
      Print Opening Single Quotation Mark ' ’ ,8
      Print Closing Single Quotation Mark ' ’ 0'

      "I am coming." 8,i am -+40

      He said, "Sing _Homing._"
      ,he sd1 8,s+ ,8,hom+40'0

      1.   When in print the sequence of quotation marks is reversed, use the appropriate one-cell or two-cell braille sign to follow the print copy. Ex:

        He said, _Sing "Homing."_
        ,he sd1 ,8,s+ 8,hom+400'

      2.   If, HOWEVER, THIS reversal of quotation marks occurs throughout the print text, the opening single quotation mark may be represented by dots 2-3-6, and the closing single quotation mark by dots 3-5-6. The opening double quotation mark may be represented by dots 6, 2-3-6 and the closing double quotation mark by dots 3-5-6, 3.
        When this occurs, insert a note to this effect on the transcriber's notes page at the beginning of each volume. (See App. A. 10.) Ex:

        In the print edition single quotes were used for outer quotation marks and double quotes for inner quotation marks. In this braille edition, dots 2-3-6 and 3-5-6 are used for outer quotes and dots 6, 2-3-6 and 3-5-6, 3 for inner quotes.

    3. Parentheses and Brackets:

      Opening Parenthesis ( 7
      Closing Parenthesis ) 7
      Opening Bracket [ ,7
      Closing Bracket ] 7'

      (said he) 7sd he7

      [see previous chapter]
      ,7see previ\s *apt]7'

      1.   When a portion of a word is enclosed in parentheses or brackets, print practice should be followed. Ex:

        u(ni)form u7ni7=m

        u[ni]ted u,7ni7't$

        deci(sion) deci7.n7

        cem(en)t cem757t

    4. Apostrophe: ' '  Ex:

      'tis 'tis                 don't don't

      Jones' ,j"os'

      1. The apostrophe is to be inserted before the "s" in plural abbreviations, numbers, or letters, even though it has been omitted in print. Similarly, the apostrophe should be inserted in the expression "OKd." In such cases, the apostrophe terminates the effect of the double capital sign. Ex:

        ABCs ,,abc's

        1930s or 1930's #aicj's

        ps and qs ;p's & ;q's

        OKd or OK'd ,,ok'd

        M.P.s ,m4,p4's

    5. Hyphen: - -  No space should be left before or after a hyphen in a compound word. However, a space should be left appropriately before or after the hyphen in a disconnected compound word. Ex:

      self-control self-3trol

      five- or six-pointed star
      five- or six-po9t$ />

      1. As a general principle, the maximum number of spaces in a braille line should be utilized; also, words may be divided between pages, and compound words may be divided at any syllable. When dividing a word at the end of a line, the division should be made between syllables, even though this prevents the use of a contraction. No space should be left between the last syllable on the line and the hyphen. The hyphen must never be put at the beginning of a new line except in a disconnected hyphenated compound word. Any braille produced employing a computer for translation from print to braille need not comply with this rule as to dividing a word at the end of a line. Ex:

           mys- mys-
        tery t]y

        mid-May or mid-,may or
        -June -,june

      2.   When hyphens are used to indicate omitted letters in a word, an equal number of hyphens, unspaced, should be used. Ex:

        d--n (damn) d--n

        Mr. J---- (Jones) ,mr4 ,j----

    6. Dash:      -- and Double Dash: ----  When used as a mark of punctuation, no space should be left before or after a dash, even though the spacing or the length of the symbol may vary in print. However, a space is necessary after a dash if it ends an incomplete sentence. A dash may begin or end a line, but the sign must not be divided. Ex:

      He was  so you think  my friend.
      ,he was--s y ?9k--my fr4

      "It is late, but      Oh, please don't go."
      8,x is late1 b-- ,oh1
      pl1se don't g40

      1. When a dash represents an omitted word or name, a double dash should be used and should be spaced and punctuated as a word. Ex:

        "Miss     , you        devil!" 8,miss ----1
        y ---- devil60

    7. Ellipsis: ... ''' (usually 3 dots or asterisks in print indicating the omission of words). The ellipsis should be spaced and punctuated as a word. Ex:

      "Love is life's ... sign." 8,love is
      life's ''' sign40

      "...life's only sign." 8''' life's
      only sign40

      "...life's only sign. * * * " 8''' life's
      only sign4 '''0

      1.  When print dots are used to indicate the omission of letters in words, an equivalent number of dots (dot 3), ' unspaced, should be used. Ex:

        d..n (damn) d''n

        N.. Y... (New York) ,n'' ,y'''

      2.  If the omission of a complete paragraph is indicated by the ellipsis, the ellipsis should be treated as a paragraph.