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Using Quotation Marks With Other Forms of Punctuation


Use a comma or colon to introduce a quotation. (Use a colon when you precede the quotation with a complete sentence.) Notice that ending punctuation goes inside the final quotation mark:

Sue said, "Let's go shopping after school."
Bob responded immediately: "Of course I didn't steal it!"


No punctuation is necessary if you quote a word or phrase that fits grammatically into your own sentence:

The president said that the talks had been "encouraging."
Macbeth yelled at his servant for being a "cream-faced loon."

Use a comma (inside the quotation mark) to mark the end of a quoted sentence that is followed by an identifying tag:

"It's time to eat," said John.
"I'm leaving tomorrow," said Nancy. "We can clean up when I get back."


Do not use a comma if the quoted sentence ends in a question mark or exclamation point:

"What's the evidence?" the scientist asked.
"Get out!" he screamed.

Use a pair of commas to set off a tag that interrupts a quoted sentence:

"Ideas," writes Carl Jung, "spring from something greater than the personal human being. "

Colons and semicolons go outside the quotation mark:

The senator announced, "I will not seek reelection"; then he left the pressroom.


When using a quotation mark or exclamation point at the end of a quotation, put it inside the closing quotation mark only if it is part of the quotation; otherwise, put it outside the closing quotation mark:

I can't believe that the senator dismissed the charge as "unimportant"!
Patrick Henry demanded, "Give me liberty, or give me death!"
Who wrote, "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet"?
Who wrote, "What's in a name?"
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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