Time for a Punctuation-with-quotation-marks Refresher


American English speakers: Do you know where to put a quotation mark relative to another punctuation mark? If you're taking your cues from the Internet, British English users or especially Wikipedia, you're doing it wrong. In American English we have slightly different rules. Here they are.

A period or comma always goes inside the quotation marks. It doesn't matter if they pertain to the quoted matter or not.

Ben likes the word "emoticon," but he hates the word "emoji."

A question mark or an exclamation point can go inside or outside the quote marks, depending on whether it applies to the quoted part or the whole sentence.

Alfred E. Neuman's catchphrase is "What, me worry?" But do you remember who said, "Don't have a cow, man"?

A colon or semicolon always goes outside the quote marks.

Here's what you need to know about the word "emoji": It's more popular than "emoticon"; young people use it regularly.

Yes, this is more confusing than British English rules, which will put a comma or period after a quote mark when logic dictates. And, yes, it appears that the Internet is forcing American English in this direction. But for now, at least, a comma or period after a closing quote mark is still an error in American English.

Tags: , ,