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Guest:
When using punctuation within quotes, should the punctuation be inside the quotaion marks or outside?

Thanx
To me, the rules regarding punctuation around quotation marks are not always logical. To 'remember' them, I extracted the following from Webster's Third New International Dictionary:
13.1 Direct quotations: "When I am dead," said one of the keenest minds, "lay a sword on my coffin."

13.2 In long quotations, left-hand marks are placed at the beginning of every paragraph, as well as at the end of the selection.

13.3 Quotation marks are usually not used when the quoted matter is set in smaller type or in paragraphs indented on both sides.

13.4 Single quotation marks enclose a quotation within a quotation. The witness said, "I heard him say, 'Don't be late'; then I heard the door close."

13.5 Quotation marks enclose titles of short poems, paintings, lectures, articles, and parts or chapters of books. (Titles of whole books, periodicals, and newspapers are usually italicized in context.)

13.5.1 In American usage printers usually place a period or comma inside closing quotation marks whether it belongs logically to the quoted matter or to the whole sentence or context.... But when a logical or exact distinction is desired in specialized work in which clarity is more important than usual (as in this dictionary), a period or comma can be placed outside quotation marks when it belongs not in the quoted matter but to a larger unit containing the quoted matter. The package is labeled "Handle with Care".

13.5.2 Only one other mark accompanies closing quotation marks, whether the quotation and the whole sentence or context call for the same mark or for different marks. We shouted, "Where do you think you're going?" Why did you bellow, "Get out of here!"

13.5.3 A colon or semicolon is usually placed outside of quotation marks. "Fame is proof that people are gullible"; with this quotation, he retired in silence.

13.5.4 A colon or semicolon is sometimes placed inside the quotation marks when it belongs inseparably to the quotation. However, a terminal colon or semicolon of quoted matter incorporated in a sentence usually gives place to appropriate end punctuation. "Sirs:" is a salutation....

13.5.5 A question mark or exclamation point is usually placed inside or outside the quotation marks according to whether it belongs to the quoted matter or to the whole sentence or clause that includes the quotation. Can you forget his angry exit after he shouted "Include me out"? "And what do you think of this new novel?" his friend asked.

13.6 Quotation marks, often single quotation marks, sometimes enclose technical terms unfamiliar to the reader; words used in an unusual sense; and coined word, trade or shop jargon, or slang for which the writer implies a slight apology. An "em" is a unit of measure used in printing. He is "goofy" according to their lingo. 'Strangeness' is a property of elementary particles.
Full Member350
Anonymous:
Grrrrrrr. Thanks is spelled t-h-a-n-k-s, not t-h-a-n-x! Also, Christmas is not spelled X-m-a-s!

Quotation marks at the end of a sentence should always come after the ending punctuation mark, for instance:

My mother's name is "Rita."

The boy asked, "When will we go?"

If it is put before the closing punctuation mark, the closing punctuation mark is left dangling, is quite irritating and shows ignorance on the part of the writer. Emotion: winkThe following is quite wrong:

My mother's name is "Rita".
My mother's name is "Rita".
Hmm. Looks fine to me.

Interesting discourse, Anon.

MrP
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AnonymousQuotation marks at the end of a sentence should always come after the ending punctuation mark, for instance:

My mother's name is "Rita."

The boy asked, "When will we go?"

If it is put before the closing punctuation mark, the closing punctuation mark is left dangling, is quite irritating and shows ignorance on the part of the writer. Emotion: winkThe following is quite wrong:

My mother's name is "Rita".

I think this rule only applies when you are recording speech. When any other use is made of quotes the punctuation should come outside unless the sense requires otherwise.

The man said, "Handle with care."

but...

The package was marked "Handle with care".

I agree it looks odd.

Sometimes you can have punctuation both inside and outside:

He said, "Fiddlesticks!"

He said, "Why?"

Did he say "Fidlesticks!"?

Did he say "Why?"?

I suppose if the writing on the package included a fullstop one should write:

The package was marked "Handle with care.".

...but I think that would look very odd, even of it is consistent

Regular Member932
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Hi Anon,
If it is put before the closing punctuation mark, the closing punctuation mark is left dangling, is quite irritating and shows ignorance on the part of the writer.
Many Americans do follow this rule; however, many in other parts of the world don't.

I have both British and American friends, and I used to consider whom I'm writing to when I decided on my punctuation. I finally gave up trying to please everybody, so now I just stick with what I believe is right.
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Anonymous:
For the definitive on this see Robin Williams' books, The PC Is Not A Typewriter and The Mac is Not A Typewriter. The punctuation goes inside of quotes at the end of a sentence.
Anonymous:
Contrary to what "Anonymous" wrote, there are times where the ending punctuation goes inside quotes:

Examples:

Tom looked up and replied, "What can I do for you?"

Lucy stubbed her toe. "Ouch!" she cried.
Anonymous:
In British English the punctuation goes within the quotation marks when the quotation is a complete sentence, but when the quotation is only an excerpt of the whole quotation the punctuation goes outside the quotation marks.
In American English it is different.
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