“Put Quotation Marks after Periods, Commas, and Question Marks in America,” by Joan Y. Edwards
Quotation marks are tricky fellows. They can drive you up the wall if you let them. Usually, quotation marks go after periods, commas, and question marks in America. In England, they may be put before the periods, commas, and question marks. If you are submitting to American publishers and editors, my advice is format it the American way. If you’re submitting to a publisher or agent in the United Kingdom, they would probably understand that you would use the American way. In the revision process, you could change it to the format they prefer.
Here are examples:
- Jane said, “Come back.”
- “Come back,” said Jane.
- “Did she come back?” asked Sam.
- Sam asked, “Did she come back?”
If you do not understand the correct way to punctuate it as you wrote it, rewrite it. Put it in words and punctuation that you know is correct.
For instance, number 5 below. I’m not sure what the correct punctuation would be as it is now.Which punctuation is correct?
5.Did your sign say “For Rent” or “For Sale”? or Did your sign say “For Rent” or “For Sale?”
If you can’t figure out which one is correct, reword it. One correct way is: Did you put “For Rent” or “For Sale” on your sign?
There are many websites and books with grammar rules and punctuation:
- Capital Community College Foundation. “Quotation Marks.” http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/marks/quotation.htm
- Jane Straus. “Quotation Marks.” Blue Grammar Book, http://www.grammarbook.com/punctuation/quotes.asp
- Mignon Fogarty, Grammar Girl. “How to Use Quotation Marks:” http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/how-to-use-quotation-marks#sthash.AFKrydqu.dpuf
- “Punctuation.” Cambridge Dictionary.org. http://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/grammar/british-grammar/punctuation
- Sean M. Conrey, Mark Pepper, and Allen Brizee. “How to Use Quotation Marks:” https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/577/01/
- Sean M. Conrey, Mark Pepper, and Allen Brizee. “Additional Punctuation Rules when Using Quotation Marks:” https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/577/03/
- William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White. The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition.Pearson Education, Inc., 2000, pp.36-37.
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Copyright © 2015 Joan Y. Edwards
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4 thoughts on “Put Quotation Marks after Periods, Commas, and Question Marks in America”
Thanks for reminding writers that punctuation can vary from one country to another. Would you consider doing a blog post on single quotation marks? I know that a quote within a quote gets single quotation marks. What other times are singles used instead of doubles–‘single’ “double?”
I appreciate your reading my blog and leaving comments. You are a very loyal follower. I don’t believe you’ve missed commenting on a single post! Thank you.
I’m glad you liked the quotation post. What a great idea to do a post on single quotes. I’ll study up on that and post one.
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Joan, great post! Punctuation with quotes has always been a sticky wicket for me! 🙂
Thanks for writing. and for letting me know that punctuation and quotes has always been a sticky wicket for you! I think it is for all of us at one time or another!
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