Siri has been able to handle punctuation commands since the get-go, but they’re among the sophisticated features that most people don’t know about.
I only discovered them after using Dragon Dictation on my computer and reading the extensive instructions that come with that product. Well, it turns out Nuance, the company behind Dragon, helped build the voice recognition technology in Siri and included a lot of punctuation features.
Basically, all you have to do is say punctuation while dictating a sentence. For instance, you might say: “Text John Green: Hey John comma want to get brunch on Sunday question mark I’m finally free exclamation point.”
Weird, right? And people who feel weird talking to their phone will feel even weirder doing this.
But once you figure out those crucial punctuation commands, dictation becomes an incredibly fast and easy way to have a conversation over text, especially for people who can’t use phone keyboards as fast as kids these days. When I finally caught on, I sat in my living room for half an hour holding multiple conversations over text like never before. This way of texting is fun, while the old way always struck me as a chore — though, yes, I’m still going to use my thumbs when texting in the office and some other places.
It’s worth noting that Siri could be a very useful way to interact with the Apple Watch, even if Apple hardly mentioned the voice assistant during its latest presentation. It’s also worth noting that Siri is reportedly coming to Apple computers soon.
The full list of Siri punctuation commands appears below, courtesy of third party site Siri User Guide.
As for the competition, Android’s ability to recognise punctuation is reportedly much more limited while Cortana reportedly has no comparable abilities — though users of those phones may be able to download apps to close the gap.
Here’s what Siri can handle:
|New line||Move to the next line|
|New paragraph||Start a new paragraph|
|Cap||Capitalise the next word||I like ‘cap’ sunshine||I like Sunshine|
|Caps on … caps off||Capitalise a section of text||‘caps on’ twenty types of flower ‘caps off’||20 Types of Flower|
|All caps||Make the next word all uppercase||I ‘all caps’ love summer||I LOVE summer|
|All caps on … all caps off||Make part of what you say uppercase||I ‘all caps on’ love summer ‘all caps off’||I LOVE SUMMER|
|No caps||Make the next word lowercase||I like ‘no caps’ Capitals||I like capitals|
|No caps on … no caps off||Make sure part of what you say is all lowercase||We like the cities ‘no caps’ London and Sydney ‘no caps off’ the most||We like the cities london and sydney the most|
|Space bar||Prevent a hyphen from appearing in a normally hyphenated word|
|No space||Prevent a space between words|
|No space on … no space off||Prevent a section of text from having spaces between words|
|“Period” or “full stop”||Place a “.” at the end of a sentence|
|Dot||.||The number pi is three ‘dot’ one four||The number pi is 3.14|
|Point||.||The ‘point’ number pi is three ‘point’ one four||The point number pi 3.14 (note the subtle difference between saying ‘point’ and ‘dot’ dot works between words)|
|“Ellipsis” or “dot dot dot”||…|
|“Quote” or “quotation mark”||”|
|“Quote … end quote” or “quote … close quote”||Place quotes around a section of text||She said ‘quote’ see you next week ‘end quote’||She said “see you next week”|
|Inverted exclamation point||¡|
|Inverted question mark||¿|
|Dash||–||This dash is dash my dash cheese||This – is – my – cheese (note the difference in spacing between this and when saying hyphen)|
|Hyphen||–||This ‘hyphen’ is ‘hyphen’ my ‘hyphen’ cheese||This-is-my-cheese (note the difference in spacing between this and when saying dash)|
|Per cent sign||%|
|Pound sterling sign||£|
|Greater than sign||>|
|Less than sign||<|
|“Smiley” or “smiley face” or “smile face”||:-)|
|“Frowny” or “frowny face” or “frown face”||:-(|
|“Winky” or “winky face” or “wink face”||;-)|
|E.g. (pronounced as “e g”)||e.g.||‘e g’ when you learn to ride a bike||E.G. when you learn to ride a bike|
|i.e. (pronounced as “i e”)||i.e.||‘i e’ when you learn to ride a bike||I.e. when you learn to ride a bike|
Disclaimer: I am invested in Apple.