Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Common Problems (Part 32 of 50)

Quotation marks go outside commas, periods, and question marks. The British do it differently, but Americans would punctuate the following sentences this way:

* "I need to go now."

* "Do it then, if that's the way you feel," she said.

* 'Why would I want that book?" Mary asked.

However, we place a question mark or exclamation point after the final quotation mark if the quoted material isn't part of the question or exclamation.

* "Why does he call his wife "Papa"?

* Do you realize there is no Bible verse that reads, "God helps those who help themselves"?

The general rule is that punctuation 
goes inside the quotation marks.


  1. Thanks for this reminder, Cec. This has been such a problem for me in the past that I added notes on proper punctuation of quotes to my final proofing document (which I pull up and use as a guide during my last edit of a piece). It's a simple rule, but easy to mess up.

  2. Thank you! I tend to avoid quotation marks that are not clearly a part of the quote just because I couldn't remember where the punctuation goes. I think I've got it now.


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