Have you ever been writing a sentence with a quote, and wanting to look smart (like we all do), you paused a moment to consider where the quotation marks versus the punctuation go? Or maybe you want to capture in writing the feeling of “air quotes” to emphasize a word or show that it’s “alleged” or “so-called.” I’m going to solve that dilemma of where to put the quotes for you for every future thing you write, right here, right now. It’s so doable! Really. You’ll love this.
Because the internet is world wide (ergo World Wide Web, i.e. www) we often see different approaches. And because the Web is open to anyone (except North Korea apparently) people can post things, even if they don’t know which country’s “quote rule” they’re using. But if you’re in the U.S., it’s easy peasy.
While in the U.K. and Australia, they choose to handle quotes differently (at least one Australian insisted to me they’re following some rules, which I have yet to figure out), all traditionally and professionally published material in the U.S. do it the same. Well, they’re supposed to anyway. With all the home-grown writing and publishing of blogs, emails, Tweets from celebrities who seem to have a lot of influence even though they don’t exhibit a deep understanding of AP or Chicago Manual rules, things are getting loosey goosey and no one knows anymore what’s what.
But I’m here to tell and make it simple for you. Here we go.
Always, every time, never not, do commas and periods go INSIDE the quotes. Always. It might look weird to you, but pick up any legit magazine or newspaper or book and hunt down a quote that closes at the end of a sentence. You’ll find this is true. Listen to me: “This is true.” Or, when I tell you, “This is true,” listen to me. See there? I just showed you two examples. Now, what if I ask, do you believe me when I say “this is true”? The question mark—just like an explanation point would be—is OUTSIDE the quotes because it isn’t a part of the phrase “this is true.” But see? I did it again. That time the period went INSIDE the quotes. Why? Well, because it’s a period, and those ALWAYS go inside the quotes, just like commas. See? Simple.
So the next time you write, work in a quote. Take advantage of your new solidified understanding of end punctuation use with quotes. You’ll feel great. And if you’re talking to someone, just for the heck of it, throw in some of those “air quotes.” I hear everyone just “loves” it when people use those! :)
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