+0
What is correct punctuation and (?) placement for the following:

Who was it who said, "I only retret that I have but one life to give for my country?"

Why does the telephone alwasy ring just as soon as I sit down to work? she asked.

Where should the question makr be placed in a quoted sentence," Yolanda inquired.

Well Coach I can promise you that I'll be ready for the game next week," Kit said.
+0
I am going to take a slightly different approach than Novalee. I will include the commas.
Why does the telephone alwasy ring just as soon as I sit down to work? she asked.


"Why does the telephone always ring just as soon as I sit down to work?," she asked.

"Where should the question makr be placed in a quoted sentence," Yolanda inquired.

"Well Coach I can promise you that I'll be ready for the game next week," Kit said.

See Webster's [url="http://webster.commnet.edu/grammar/commas.htm"]Rule Number 6[/url] and see [url="http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/grammar/g_comma.html "]Purdue University Online Writing Lab - Using Commas - Rule 10"[/url].

There might be some other authority that claims that commas in these examples are optional, but I am accustomed to seeing the commas included.

Hope that helps.
+0
From "A Grammar of Contemporary English", by R. Quirk et al.

Both question and exclamation mark exclude the use of other separation punctuation and have the value of a period inasmuch as what follows begins with the capitalisation of a new sentence. But when they co-ocur with the end of quotation, they come within the quotation marks and if more of the including sentence follows, no capital letter is used.
'How silly she is!', he thought.

Vocatives are, also, usually separated from the rest of the sentence in which they ocur by commas. The reason is that, intonationally, the vocative is set off from ther est of the clause either by constituing a separate tone-unit or by forming the 'tail' or post-nuclear part of a tone-unit. This changes in intonation are reflected, in writing, by the use of commas.

Many things in grammar are "common", many others are "right", and others are plainly "wrong". When we make a choice, we have to be aware that our listener/reader may follow the rules considered "right", and we would certainly be at a disadvantage if we chose how to speak/write following what is "common" only.
Some common things are, at the same time, right.
Some others, quite common too, are wrong.
And yet others are simple accepted because most people are not sure what the right form is.

The decision, as usual, depends on the speaker/writer. The results will, most probably, be a direct consequence of our choices.

Miriam
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
Comments  
Who was it who said, "I only retret that I have but one life to give for my country?"

The punctuation here is correct, as far as I know.
Why does the telephone alwasy ring just as soon as I sit down to work? she asked.

I would place quotation marks at the beginning and end of the question, like this: "Why does the telephone always ring just as soon as I sit down to work?" she asked

Where should the question makr be placed in a quoted sentence," Yolanda inquired.

The opening quotation mark and the question mark are missing.
"Where should the question mark be placed in a quoted sentence?" Yolanda inquired.
Answering this question, the question mark should be placed inside the quotation marks.
Well Coach I can promise you that I'll be ready for the game next week," Kit said.

The first quotation mark is also missing, so: "Well, Coach, I can promise you that I'll be ready for the game next weekend," Kit said

Note that whenever you write a question with its corresponding question mark between quotes, it's not necessary to put a comma.
 MountainHiker's reply was promoted to an answer.
What about this . . . does it need a comma?

Any student who has not signed up for the contest by three o'clock will not be eligible to participate.
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Any student who has not signed up for the contest by three o'clock will not be eligible to participate.


No commas.

Had you written the following sentence below, then you would be incorrect.

Any student, who has not signed up for the contest by three o'clock, will not be eligible to participate.

It is wrong because the clause "who has not signed up for the contest by three o'clock" is restrictive. It is necessary to properly understand the sentence. Thus, it is not set off with commas.

You might wish to review clauses at Webster's [url="http://webster.commnet.edu/grammar/clauses.htm#restrictive"]Clauses: the Essential Building-Blocks[/url].

Hope that helps.
 miriam's reply was promoted to an answer.