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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:

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

Quotations Within Quotations

Almost all of us have found ourselves confused with double and single quotation marks. When do we use single quotation marks? Where does the punctuation go with single quotation marks? With just a few rules and examples, you will feel surer about your decisions.

Rule: Use single quotation marks inside double quotation marks when you have a quotation within a quotation.

Example: Bobbi told me, “Delia said, ‘This will never work.’ ”

Notice that what Delia said was enclosed in single quotation marks. Notice also that the period was placed inside both the single and the double quotation marks. The American rule is that periods always go inside all quotation marks.

Example: Bobbi said, “I read the article, ‘A Poor Woman’s Journey.’ ”

Question marks and quotation marks, unlike periods, follow logic with their placement. If a quote inside a quote is a question or exclamation, place the question mark or exclamation mark inside the single quotation marks.

Examples: Bobbi said, “Delia asked, ‘Will this remote control work on my TV?’ ”
Bobbi said, “Delia shouted, ‘Get your hands off me!’ ”

Rule: If the question is inside the double quotation marks, place the question mark between the single and double quotation marks.

Examples: Bobbi asked, “Did Delia say, ‘This will never work’?”

(Because you will rarely need an exclamation mark within the double quotation marks and not within the single quotation marks, there is little sense discussing this.)

Rule: In the above three examples, only one ending punctuation mark was used with the quotation marks. The rule is that the “stronger” mark wins. Question marks and quotation marks are considered stronger than the period. Period!

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Posted on Friday, January 26, 2007, at 1:18 am