What does the drop in 一、 mean?

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4 Answers 4


It'a punctuation, which does not exist in English, and I don't know its English name.

In Chinese it's called 顿号 (dun4 hao4). It is usually used between listing of things (or verb, or adjectives ... I don't know the grammar term, who can help me please edit the post):


Usually in English, comma would be used.

In your example, it is just used a symbol separating the listing number and the title, which is not related to the use I mentioned above. This is common when Chinese numbers are used. The punctuation itself does not carry actual meaning.

  • 1
    just a supplement, “顿” means “停顿” (pause,stop) here. You don't read it in a sentence in most cases, instead, you have a short stop in speaking because of it.
    – Huang
    Dec 12, 2012 at 12:22
  • It is actually called an ideographic comma in English (if you refer to the list of unicode characters and their names). en.wiktionary.org/wiki/ideographic_comma Dec 13, 2012 at 21:00

While we're on this topic, you should also get used to:

《》 are equivalent title marks

那部电影的名字是《红高粱》: The title of that movie is Hong Gao Liang (Red Sorghum).

『...』 are quotation marks.

If you're reading verticle text, use this as quotation marks:

. . .

  • I've seen the title marks, but not those quotations marks in the textbook. Perhaps they're waiting until a more advanced one.
    – rxmnnxfpvg
    Dec 13, 2012 at 22:20

It's a comma, and it serves the same purpose as a colon in English. Somewhere further down in this lesson you'll see a 二 with a similar comma, followed by a heading, maybe 词汇.

  • Specifically, there are two commas in Chinese. The one that looks like a traditional English comma is used to separate clauses, the one in the example above is used to separate items in a list. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_punctuation
    – juckele
    Dec 12, 2012 at 14:32

It's a number with a Comma(顿号 in Chinese) and often appears in normal report or the text book for Chinese or something have relationship with social sciences.

I think "一.课文" is better. If you wirite it as “一 课文” is OK either.Maybe the editor stress the legitimacy of Chinese.

The comma dùn hào(顿号) is often used express pause between two word or among many word.The pause by comma is shorter than the comma dòu hào(逗号)

Like this 我喜欢足球、篮球、乒乓球、保龄球等。(I like playing football、basketball、pingpang、bowling and so on)

Here it's only a symbol to make the text look more normal. It appear sometimes in Chinese book.In other books like mathematic book or chemistry (science or engineering ) book we use 《.》 or not use a symbol more often.

  • This usage is still common.
    – fefe
    Dec 13, 2012 at 6:48
  • @fefe 高中语文课本也许还有,到了大学真的见得不多
    – frame99
    Dec 13, 2012 at 7:01
  • I'm not only talking about textbooks. It is still commonly used in a lot of situations, such as reports.
    – fefe
    Dec 13, 2012 at 7:15
  • @fefe 的确是这样,编辑一下
    – frame99
    Dec 13, 2012 at 7:44

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