Dictating isn’t quite like speaking. Unlike human listeners, Dragon NaturallySpeaking can’t interpret the inflections and pauses in our voices as punctuation. When you dictate, you have to make an effort to help NaturallySpeaking out, although NaturallySpeaking does do some punctuating and capitalizing automatically.

Here’s how to work with NaturallySpeaking to get your words correctly capitalized and your apostrophizing properly punctuated.

Speaking punctuation marks as you dictate is annoying but necessary if you want to avoid the tedious process of going back and inserting punctuation. The tables show you what words to say to insert punctuation marks as you speak.

Single Punctuation Marks
Punctuation Mark    Spoken Form
. Period (or Dot, or Point)
! Exclamation Mark (or Exclamation Point)
? Question Mark
, Comma
' Apostrophe
's Apostrophe Ess
& Ampersand
: Colon
; Semicolon
Open Single Quote
' Close Single Quote
. . . Ellipsis
$ Dollar Sign
- Hyphen
Paired Punctuation Marks
Punctuation Mark    Spoken Form
Open Quote
" Close Quote
( Open (or Left) Parenthesis (or Paren)
) Close (or Right) Parenthesis (or Paren)
[ Open Bracket
] Close Bracket
Math and Computer Symbols
Punctuation Mark    Spoken Form
{ Open Brace
} Close Brace
/ Slash
\ Backslash
@ At Sign
~ Tilde
_ Underscore
* Asterisk
> Greater Than (or Open Angle Bracket)
< Less Than (or Close Angle Bracket)
| Vertical Bar
# Pound Sign (or Number Sign)
- Minus Sign
+ Plus Sign
. Point
% Percent Sign
` Backquote
, Numeric Comma
^ Caret

NaturallySpeaking puts no space before an apostrophe, so you can easily make a noun possessive (such as in “Tom’s bicycle”) by speaking the word (“Tom”) and then saying, “Apostrophe Ess.” Dragon NaturallySpeaking may supply an apostrophe automatically if, from the context, it thinks you are describing a possessive noun or contraction. But it’s more reliable to speak the word and then add “Apostrophe Ess.”

NaturallySpeaking uses a double dash character when you say the word “Dash.” If you would rather use a different character, you can paste that character into your vocabulary list using Dragon’s Vocabulary Editor, and create your own spoken phrase for that character, such as “Em Dash.”

You can hyphenate any multi-word utterance (such as the phrase, “all-encompassing”) by saying, “Hyphenate That” immediately after speaking the phrase.

If you meant to use a word as text, such as the word period and NaturallySpeaking used that word as punctuation instead, say, “Correct That” and choose the interpretation you prefer.