Posted by: Jack Henry | December 2, 2016

Editor’s Corner: Quotation Marks, Part II

Wednesday, I gave you some information about when to use and not use quotation marks. Today I have your quotation mark “dessert” and a handy table for you from the Chicago Manual of Style about using quotation marks with other types of punctuation. Note that these are American rules for punctuation; the British do things differently from us Yankees.

1. Colons and semicolons—unlike periods and commas—follow closing quotation marks; question marks and exclamation points follow closing quotation marks unless they belong within the quoted matter.


Take, for example, the first line of “To a Skylark”: “Hail to thee, blithe spirit!”

I was invited to recite the lyrics to “Sympathy for the Devil”; instead I read from the Op-Ed page of the New York Times.

Which of Shakespeare’s characters said, “All the world’s a stage”?



“What’s the rush?” she wondered.

2. A question mark should be placed inside quotation marks, parentheses, or brackets only when it is part of (i.e., applies to) the quoted or parenthetical matter.


The ambassador asked, “Has the Marine Corps been alerted?”

Why was Farragut trembling when he said, “I’m here to open an inquiry”?

Emily (had we met before?) winked at me.

Why did she tell him only on the morning of his departure (March 18)?

“What do you suppose he had in mind,” inquired Newman, “when he said, ‘You are all greater fools than I thought’?”

3. An exclamation point should be placed inside quotation marks, parentheses, or brackets only when it is part of the quoted or parenthetical matter.


The performer walked off the stage amidst cries of “Brava!”

She actually wants me to believe the manufacturer’s claim that her watch is “water resistant to 300 meters”!

Alex Ramirez (I could have had a stroke!) repeated the whole story.

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

Symitar Documentation Services

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