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Periods with Quotation Marks

Bart F. recently wrote, “I read your Bluebook rules, but the examples omitted the common usage found when a sentence ends with a quote that completes the thought.”

Bart continued:

Texas, with a history of rugged individualism, was part of the “Sagebrush rebellion”. I was taught that this was the one exception to the quotation mark following the period. Am I right or wrong?

Before I answer his question, let me first ask this: How many of you have been advised of one or all of the following phrases many times, “never say never,” “never say always,” and “there’s an exception to every rule”?

To that I give you our Rule 1 of Quotation Marks: Periods and commas always go inside quotation marks, even inside single quotes. (Emphasis added.)

Really, always? Always. Never place the period outside the quotation marks? Never. Are there no exceptions? No exceptions.

There is one catch: This is the American English rule (this newsletter, The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, and www.GrammarBook.com represent American English rules). If you follow British English rules, then Bart is correct and you must use logic instead of just following a rule.

Now, try your hand at the pop quiz. Even if you don’t live in the United States, as long as you follow the American English rule, you really should get 100% right on this quiz!

Pop Quiz

Choose the correct sentence.

1A. Texas, with a history of rugged individualism, was part of the “Sagebrush rebellion”.
1B. Texas, with a history of rugged individualism, was part of the “Sagebrush rebellion.”

2A. She said, “Hurry up”.
2B. She said, “Hurry up.”

3A. The sign changed from “Walk”, to “Don’t Walk”, to “Walk” again within 30 seconds.
3B. The sign changed from “Walk,” to “Don’t Walk,” to “Walk” again within 30 seconds.

Pop Quiz Answers


1B. Texas, with a history of rugged individualism, was part of the “Sagebrush rebellion.”
2B. She said, “Hurry up.”
3B. The sign changed from “Walk,” to “Don’t Walk,” to “Walk” again within 30 seconds.

Did you get them all right?

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Posted on Tuesday, April 2, 2013, at 3:38 pm


How to Reference Books and Articles in Text

Before computers, we used typewriters to underline book titles, and we placed quotation marks around article titles. However, many current style manuals recommend italicizing book titles and magazine names (impossible to do on a typewriter) and using quotation marks around articles.

Example: I read Lord of the Flies in high school.

Example: I enjoyed reading “Become Your Own Best Friend” in Newsweek.

 

Pop Quiz
Choose the correct sentence.

1A. My brother thought the “New York Times” article Homeless Team Roots for a New Life Through Soccer was fascinating.
1B. My brother thought the New York Times article “Homeless Team Roots for a New Life Through Soccer” was fascinating.

2A. “Light Meals for Nibblers” is a chapter in The Enchanted Broccoli Forest, one of my favorite vegetarian cookbooks.
2B. Light Meals for Nibblers is a chapter in “The Enchanted Broccoli Forest,” one of my favorite vegetarian cookbooks.

3A. I remember reading “The Catcher in the Rye” when I was a teenager.
3B. I remember reading The Catcher in the Rye when I was a teenager.

 

Pop Quiz Answers
1B. My brother thought the New York Times article “Homeless Team Roots for a New Life Through Soccer” was fascinating.
2A. “Light Meals for Nibblers” is a chapter in The Enchanted Broccoli Forest, one of my favorite vegetarian cookbooks.
3B. I remember reading The Catcher in the Rye when I was a teenager.

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Posted on Sunday, May 3, 2009, at 11:41 pm


Exclamation Points with Quotation Marks

How do you punctuate if something in quotes ends in a necessary exclamation point or question mark but the sentence continues?

The Chicago Manual of Style offers this example:

Tichnick’s angry reply, “I do not know the man!” took us all by surprise.

Note the comma after reply but no comma after the exclamation point.

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Posted on Thursday, June 19, 2008, at 3:59 pm


Internal Dialogue: Italics or Quotes?

Internal dialogue is used by authors to indicate what a character is thinking.

Direct internal dialogue refers to a character thinking the exact thoughts as written, often in the first person. (The first person singular is I, the first person plural is we.)

Example: “I lied,” Charles thought, “but maybe she will forgive me.”

Notice that quotation marks and other punctuation are used as if the character had spoken aloud.

You may also use italics without quotation marks for direct internal dialogue.

Example: I lied, Charles thought, but maybe she will forgive me.

Indirect internal dialogue refers to a character expressing a thought in the third person (the third person singular is he or she, the plural is they) and is not set off with either italics or quotation marks.

Example: Bev wondered why Charles would think that she would forgive him so easily.

The sense of the sentence tells us that she did not think these exact words.

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Posted on Tuesday, June 10, 2008, at 4:47 am


Titles of Books, Plays, Articles, etc.: Underline? Italics? Quotation Marks?

Prior to computers, people were taught to underline titles of books and plays and to surround chapters, articles, songs, and other shorter works in quotation marks. However, here is what The Chicago Manual of Style says: When quoted in text or listed in a bibliography, titles of books, journals, plays, and other freestanding works are italicized; titles of articles, chapters, and other shorter works are set in roman and enclosed in quotation marks.

Below are some examples to help you:

Example:
We read A Separate Peace in class. (title of a book)

Example: That Time magazine article, “Your Brain on Drugs,” was fascinating.
Note that the word “magazine” was not italicized because that is not part of the actual name of the publication.

Example: His article, “Death by Dessert,” appeared in The New York Times Magazine.

Note that the and magazine are both capitalized and set off because the name of the publication is The New York Times Magazine.

Newspapers, which follow The Associated Press Stylebook, have their own sets of rules because italics cannot be sent through AP computers.

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Posted on Wednesday, January 30, 2008, at 2:33 am