Since we know nothing about Klingon writing systems(1), we also do not know about how to use punctuation.

A difference should be made between a) the Klingon writing system of which we do not know much, b) the pIqaD, which has only become (Star Trek) canon during Star Trek: Discovery and c) Okrand's Klingon spelling, the romanized transcription which he had developed for the actors and for his books. This page is only in regard to the latter, i.e. when writing the romanized transcription.

Canon appearance

Briefly, Marc Okrand has never mentioned or written anything about punctuation, but he usually uses it when he writes Klingon, and does so following English rules or common sense, as long it it's useful.

with punctuation

  • The Klingon Way uses punctuation everywhere: periods, commas (p. 67), semicolons (p. 19), question marks (p. 131) and exclamation marks (p. 153).
  • Klingon for The Galactic Traveler does use punctuation as well, (p. 20, 118, 194, 195 e.a.) even including question marks (p. 34).
  • The Klingon Monopoly uses commas, semicolons, and periods on all of the playing cards.
  • Most messages in the Usenet forum do not use punctuation in short examples, but within longer sentences, periods are used.

without punctuation

  • The Klingon Dictionary does not use any punctuation, not in the main text, nor in the list of expressions.
  • paq'batlh does not use punctuation, but it seems this has been chosen intentionally as an artistic way.
  • The TalkNow software does not use punctuation, but the English phrases don't do either.


Providing quotations in the Usenet message of June 29, 1997, Okrand did not use any quotation marks:

tlhIngan jIH jatlh - "he/she says, 'I am a Klingon'"

jatlh tlhIngan jIH - "he/she says, 'I am a Klingon'"

tlhIngan jIH bIjatlh - "you say, 'I am a Klingon'"

The Klingon Dictionary does not use quotation marks either, explaning that with verbs of saying, 'e' and net are not used. The two phrases simply follow one another, in either order. The following is translated in TKD literally "I told you, "Don't interrupt me!"" or "Don't interrupt me, I told you". (2)

qaja'pu' HIqaghQo'
HIqaghQo' qaja'pu'

Klingonists convention

Since we have several canon examples using punctuation, Klingonists have agreed that using commas is a very useful thing to make phrases clear (this fact is based on their daily usage on the mailing list and other places). Over time, Klingonists have generally settled on these practices on the mailing list and other online places, not as a matter of policy, but as a convention. The following convention is a direct quote from the KLI's mailing list FAQ, not online anymore. (3) These are only to be seen as a suggestion, not a rule.

Curly braces {tlhIngan Hol} Klingon words in English text
Angled brackets <<quote>> Quoting spoken words in Klingon text
Asterisks *mu'qoq* indicates Klingon spelling of a non-canon word
Asterisks *English* English words in Klingon text
Single Asterisk *pong indicates a Klingon name that's not canon

An earlier version of the FAQ (of 1994, but still online) showed quotes to be used for English words in Klingon texts. Experience over the years has shown that these could be mistaken as apostrophes, so the recommendation is to use asterisks also for English words.


In addition to punctuation, most Klingon books and pages use the formatting of text as suggested and used by Okrand in The Klingon Dictionary, which is having Klingon words in bold face and the translation in italics. This wiki also follows this convention.

Non-canon Examples

HoD Duj, Sa' targh je vIlegh
I see the general's targ and the captain's ship
instead of "I see the general, a targ, a captain and a ship"

See also


1 : Introduction of The Klingon Dictionary

2 : The Klingon Dictionary, chapter 6.2.5

3 : Mailign list FAQ on the web archive, stored copy of October 22, 2017

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