Monthly Archives: December 2008

Innie or Outie?

No, I’m not going to vent about belly buttons.

I’m talking about (and a reader asked about) properly placing punctuation (alliterations later!) at the end of a sentence when quotation marks are involved. Does the period go inside  or outside the quote marks? How about a question mark? A comma? An exclamation point?

The answer? All of the above. Let me explain.

ALL commas and periods are placed within the closing quotation mark. NO exceptions.

My philosophy is Live and let live.”

If I believe Live and let live,” do you?

Question marks and exclamation points can be in or out, depending upon the quote.

If the punctuation mark is not part of the actual quote, it is placed outside the closing quote mark.

Do you agree the best philosopy is Live and let live”?

I say to you all, Live and let live”!

But if the punctuation mark is integral to the quoted material, it is placed inside the closing quote mark:

Do you like the song, “Who Let the Dogs Out?”

I heard the guy yell, Fire!”

All other punctuation (semi-colon, colon, dash, etc.) are out. Always.

I say, To be or not to be”; that is the question.

I say, “To be or not to be” what do you say?

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Filed under English language, punctuation