Posted by: episystechpubs | May 2, 2014

Editor’s Corner: Quotations Marks and Other Punctuation, Part I

The most common questions I receive about quotation marks are about using quotation marks with other punctuation. There are so many rules and examples, I’m going to divide this into two days of lessons so as not to overwhelm. It is Friday after all!

Remember, these are American rules; England and many formerly English territories use a different set of punctuation rules.

From the Chicago Manual of Style:

· Periods and commas precede closing quotation marks. This is a traditional style, in use well before the first edition of this manual (1906).

o Growing up, we always preferred to “bear those ills we have.”

o “Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,” she replied.

From the Purdue OWL:

· Use a comma to introduce a quotation after a standard dialogue tag, a brief introductory phrase, or a dependent clause.

o The detective said, "I am sure who performed the murder."

o As D.H. Nachas explains, "The gestures used for greeting others differ greatly from one culture to another."

· Put commas and periods within quotation marks, except when a parenthetical reference follows.

o He said, "I may forget your name, but I never forget a face."

o History is stained with blood spilled in the name of "civilization."

o Mullen, criticizing the apparent inaction, writes, "Donahue’s policy was to do nothing" (24).

More from the pages of UnnecessaryQuotes.com:

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory


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