Posted by: Jack Henry | January 14, 2013

Editor’s Corner: Hello, Monday! It’s Quotation Mark Time!

Okay, no more messing around—the weekend is over and it’s time to get back to business! Today’s topic (and tomorrow’s) is quotation marks. Hopefully, these rules and examples will address the questions that arose during our discussion of the power-packed period and its use with other punctuation.

These rules are courtesy of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation (; the examples are my gifts to you.

Quotation Marks

Rule 1: Periods and commas always go inside quotation marks, even inside single quotes. [KC – These are the American English rules; British English rules keep the punctuation outside of the quote marks.]


· The display changed from "Welcome," to "Access Denied," to "Welcome" again within 30 seconds.

· He said, "We don’t need to bring a flashlight."

· She said, "He told me that I should say, ‘On, Bojangles!’ when I want the horse to move forward.” [KC – Note single quotes for the quotation within the standard (double) quotes.]

Rule 2: The placement of question marks with quotes follows logic. If a question is in quotation marks, the question mark should be placed inside the quotation marks.


· Grandpa asked, "Can you please bring five pounds of bacon with you?"

· Are you familiar with the phrase, "As cross as a frog in a sock"?

Note: Only one ending punctuation mark is used with quotation marks. Also, the stronger punctuation mark wins. Therefore, no period after sock is used. [KC – Punctuation “strength” is another topic completely.]

Rule 3: When you have a question outside quoted material AND inside quoted material, use only one question mark and place it inside the quotation mark.


· Did Pepper say, "Are you kidding me?"

Kara Church

Senior Technical Editor

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