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





    1 ea , comma
    2 be       bb ; semicolon
    3 con       cc : colon
    4 dis       dd . period
    5 en       enough
    6 to      ff ! exclamation point
    7 were      gg ( ) opening and closing parentheses
    8 his “ " ? opening double quotation mark; question mark
    9 in
    96 into
    0 was       by ” " closing double quotation mark
    - com - hyphen

    1. "Be," "Enough," "Were," "His," "In," and "Was:"  The lower signs which represent the words "be," "enough," "were," "his," "in," and "was" may be preceded by the capital and/or italic sign, but must not be in contact with any other letter, contraction, word, or punctuation sign. Ex:

      It may be. ,x may be4

      Was it as you thought it was?
      ,0 x z y ?"\ x was8

      Enough's enough. ,5\<'s 5\<4

      The would-be actor. ,! wd-be actor4

      So you were. ,s y w]e4

      "Was he a good-enough player?"
      8,was he a gd-5\<

      These were his books. ,^! 7 .8 books4

      So you wereæwere you? ,s y w]e--w]e y8

      "Were they his?" 8,w]e !y his80

      My mother-in-law is my only in-law.
      ,my "m-in-law is my only

      Arriving (in time) I walked in.
      ,>riv+ 7in "t7 ,i walk$

      shut-in %ut-in shut-ins %ut-9s

      However, these signs should be used where they are no longer in contact with the hyphen. Ex:

      built- built- good- gd-
      in 9 enough 5
      would- wd-
      be 2
    1. Lower Sign Rule:  Any number of lower signs should follow one another without a space if one of them is in contact with a sign containing dot 1a or dot 4@. Although the italic sign . contains a dot 4, it is not to be considered an upper sign. Ex:

    linenæen- L95--5-
    tirely ruined tirely ru9$

    She seems soædisinclined.
    ,%e seems s--49-

    •   Two or more unspaced lower signs must not follow one another when they are not in contact with an upper sign containing a dot 1 or a dot 4. Ex:
      Was that his? ,0 t .his8
      in- in- "dis- 8dis-
      duce duce play" play0
      con- .con-
      duct duct

        b.  When two or more lower-sign contractions follow one another without being in contact with an upper sign, the final lower-sign contraction must not be used. Ex:

      comin' -in'
      to con- 6con- to disen- 64en-
      cur cur gage gage
      He is to be a man.
      ,he is 6.be a man4

      1. "To," "Into," and "By:"

      1.   Braille the lower signs "to," "into," and "by" unspaced from the word, abbreviation, letter, or number which follows, or the braille equivalent for a print symbol which follows.

      2.   The lower sign may begin the next braille line where there is not room on the braille line for the lower sign and either at least the first syllable of the following word, or the abbreviation, and/or the braille equivalent for a print symbol and the letter or number joined to it, which follows.

      3.   The lower signs "to," "into," and "by" may be preceded and/or followed by braille composition signs.

      4.   The lower signs "to," "into," and "by" may not be used and joined to any punctuation sign which follows. Do not use these lower signs as parts of words, in compound words, nor as proper names. When the sign "into" cannot be used, use the "in" contraction.


        I was to receive it by 12 noon.
        ,i 0 6rcv x 0#ab noon4

        He came by because he wanted a ride into Toronto.
        ,he came 02c he want$ a
        ride 96,toronto4

        The new bylaw, passed by 51%, will create a big to-do.
        ,! new bylaw1 pass$
        0#ea@3p1 w cr1te a big

        By and large, they voted by a "show of hands".
        ,0& l>ge1 !y vot$ 0a
        8%[ ( h&s04

        Colonel By was commemorated by Bytown.
        ,colonel ,by 0 -memorat$
        Give it to 'im. ,give x to 'im4

        What she got into, was trouble.
        ,:at %e got 9to1 0 tr\#4

        "To err is human, to ... divine." 8,6.]r is
        human1 to ''' div9e40

        "TO BE OR NOT TO BE" opens a famous speech.
        8,,6,,be ,,or ,,n
        ,,6,,be0 op5s a fam\s

        It was referred to by his sister.
        ,x 0 ref]r$ 60his si/]4

        Do right by him. ..,d "r 0.hm4

        $15 added to X came to $45.
        4#ae a4$ 6;,x came

        They came to (verbal) blows.
        ,!y came to 7v]bal7

    • "Ea" and the Double-Letter Signs:  The lower-sign contractions for "ea" and the double-letter signs "bb," "cc," "dd," "ff," and "gg" must be used only when these letters occur between letters and/or contractions within a word. They must never begin or end a word. Ex:

      mean m1n realize r1lize eat eat
      sea sea seas s1s
      rubbed ru2$ tobacco toba3o
      add add cuff cuff eggs e7s
      1.   They should not be used when in contact with a hyphen or an apostrophe. Ex:

        sea-island sea-isl& sou'east s\'ea/
        ebb-tide ebb-tide sheriff's %]iff's
        rea- rea- "add- 8add-
        son son ed" $0

      2.   These contractions must not be used where the letters are separated by a primary syllable division. (See §34.b.(2).) Ex:
        preamble pream# agreeable agreea#
        readjust readju/ dumbbell dumbbell
        headdress h1ddress permeable p]mea#
        subbasement subbase;t
        wiseacre wiseacre

        Exception:  The signs for "bb," "cc," "dd," "ff," and "gg" may overlap syllable divisions which occur between a prefix and the root of a word, since to use them would not obscure recognition. Ex:

        accept a3ept address a4ress
        affect a6ect aggressive a7ressive
      3.   Use any alternative one-cell contraction in preference to "ea" and the double-letter signs except where a contraction ending in "e" would break the "eau" trigraph, as in: tableau, Fontainebleau, Clemenceau, Bertheau, etc. Ex:

        "ar" in near ne> heart he>t bear be>
        "ble" in bubble bub# dabble dab#
        "ch" in saccharine sac*>9e
        bacchanal bac*anal
        "ed" in peddle p$dle wedding w$d+
        "of" in office (fice proffer pr(f]
        "for" in effort ef=t afford af=d
      4.   However, where the same space is saved, use any lower one-cell contraction in preference to a two-cell contraction. 

        "dd" in Haddon Hall ,ha4on ,hall
        haddock ha4ock

        "en" in opponent oppon5t
        adherent adh]5t

    • "Be," "Con," and "Dis:"  The lower part-word contractions "be," "con," and "dis" may be used only as syllables at the beginning of a word or at the beginning of a line in a divided word, except that they may be used after a hyphen in a hyphenated compound word. These contractions may be used in names for the first syllable following Mac or Mc when such a syllable is capitalized. As part-word contractions, they must not stand alone as syllables at the beginning of a line in a divided word. They may not be used when in contact with a hyphen in a divided or in a syllabified word. Ex:

      believe 2lieve dish di%
      un- un- dis- dis-
      becoming 2com+ pleasure pl1sure
      ba- ba- may- may-
      con con be be
      concept 3cept indistinct 9dist9ct
      disconnect 4connect Congress ,3gress
      McConnell ,mc,3nell

      self-control self-3trol

      dis-con-cert (syllabifying) dis-con-c]t

      1.   The contractions for "be," "con," and "dis," when used in a complete word, should be used in the abbreviation of the word. They must not be used if they comprise the entire abbreviation, nor may "con" be used as a whole word. Ex:

        conj. (conjunction) 3j4

        con. (concerto) con4

        cont. (continued) 3t4

        pro and con pro & con

        dist. (district) 4t4

      2.   The contractions "be," "con," and "dis" must never be used before the apostrophe, but they may follow it. Ex:

        O'Connor ,o',3nor be'ave be'ave
        dis'armony dis'>mony

    • "Com:"  The lower part-word contraction "com" may be used at the beginning of a word or of a line in a divided word, but it need not be a syllable. It must never be used in contact with a hyphen, a dash, or an apostrophe, even when a composition sign intervenes. It may be used after the capital and/or italic sign, unless it immediately follows a hyphen, a dash, or an apostrophe on the same line of writing. When "com" is capitalized, the contraction may be used in a name following Mac or Mc. Ex:

      commerce -m]ce Comb ,-b
      Com'ere ,com']e come -e coming -+
      Company ,-pany com- com-
      mence m;e
      MacCommack ,mac,-mack

      anti-Communist anti-,communi/

      I willæcome what may.
      ,i w--come :at may4

      Will 'e 'commodate me?
      ,W 'e 'commodate me8

      The bookæcomparativelyæis not good.
      ,! book--.comp>atively
      --is n gd4