"Commas and full stops

"Commas and full stops (periods) at the end of quotations should be placed inside the end inverted comma (quotation mark)."


"Use quotation marks [ “ ” ] to set off material that represents quoted or spoken language. Quotation marks also set off the titles of things that do not normally stand by themselves: short stories, poems, and articles. Usually, a quotation is set off from the rest of the sentence by a comma; however, the typography of quoted material can become quite complicated. Here is one simple rule to remember: In the United States, periods and commas go inside quotation marks regardless of logic. Click HERE for an explanation (sort of).

In the United Kingdom, Canada, and islands under the influence of British education, punctuation around quotation marks is more apt to follow logic. In American style, then, you would write: My favorite poem is Robert Frost's "Design." But in England you would write: My favorite poem is Robert Frost's "Design". The placement of marks other than periods and commas follows the logic that quotation marks should accompany (be right next to) the text being quoted or set apart as a title. Thus, you would write (on either side of the Atlantic):

* What do you think of Robert Frost's "Design"? and
* I love "Design"; however, my favorite poem was written by Emily Dickinson."


"Now, keep in mind that this comma and period inside the quotation marks business is strictly American usage. The British don't do it that way. They are inclined to place commas and periods logically rather than conventionally, depending on whether the punctuation belongs to the quotation or to the sentence that contains the quotation, just as we do with question marks and exclamation points."

Well then, there you go.

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This page contains a single entry by Kayjayoh published on July 27, 2002 12:33 PM.

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