“Put Quotation Marks after Periods, Commas, and Question Marks in America,” by Joan Y. Edwards
Quotation marks are tricky fellows. They can drive you up the wall if you let them. Usually, quotation marks go after periods, commas, and question marks in America. In England, they may be put before the periods, commas, and question marks. If you are submitting to American publishers and editors, my advice is format it the American way. If you’re submitting to a publisher or agent in the United Kingdom, they would probably understand that you would use the American way. In the revision process, you could change it to the format they prefer.
Here are examples:
- Jane said, “Come back.”
- “Come back,” said Jane.
- “Did she come back?” asked Sam.
- Sam asked, “Did she come back?”
If you do not understand the correct way to punctuate it as you wrote it, rewrite it. Put it in words and punctuation that you know is correct.
For instance, number 5 below. I’m not sure what the correct punctuation would be as it is now.Which punctuation is correct?
5.Did your sign say “For Rent” or “For Sale”? or Did your sign say “For Rent” or “For Sale?”
If you can’t figure out which one is correct, reword it. One correct way is: Did you put “For Rent” or “For Sale” on your sign?
There are many websites and books with grammar rules and punctuation:
- About Grammar: Punctuation and Mechanics
- Capital Community College Foundation. “Quotation Marks.” http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/marks/quotation.htm
- Jane Straus. “Quotation Marks.” Blue Grammar Book, http://www.grammarbook.com/punctuation/quotes.asp
- Mignon Fogarty, Grammar Girl. “How to Use Quotation Marks:” http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/how-to-use-quotation-marks#sthash.AFKrydqu.dpuf
- “Punctuation.” Cambridge Dictionary.org. http://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/grammar/british-grammar/punctuation
- Sean M. Conrey, Mark Pepper, and Allen Brizee. “How to Use Quotation Marks:” https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/577/01/
- Sean M. Conrey, Mark Pepper, and Allen Brizee. “Additional Punctuation Rules when Using Quotation Marks:” https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/577/03/
- William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White. The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition.Pearson Education, Inc., 2000, pp.36-37.