Once Again: Periods and Commas Go Inside the Quote Marks


Consider this a semiannual reminder: In American English, periods and commas always go inside the quotation marks. Colons and semicolons always go outside. And exclamation points and questions can go inside or outside, depending on whether they apply to the whole sentence or just the quoted portion.

When Joe says the word "roof," it sounds like "rough."

Here's how Joe says the word "roof": "rough."

Have you heard how Joe pronounces the word "roof"?

It's a hilarious way to say "roof"!

The American rule on periods and commas is now widely disregarded, with casual posters on the web almost always guessing wrong. Wikipedia's official style does not follow this rule, hastening its death.

But it's not dead yet. For now, remember: A period or comma always comes before the closing quote mark.

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