Quotation marks are an important part of your writing, but are you using them correctly with other punctuation? There are some potentially confusing rules, but you need to get them right to make sure people understand what you’re saying.
Grammar Girl columnist Mignon Fogarty offers some quick rules to help.
- When there’s a portion of writing in quotations in the middle of a sentence, semicolons, colons and dashes always go outside the quotation marks.
- Question marks go inside the quotation marks if they’re part of the quoted material. If they are not part of the quote, they go outside the quotation marks.
- Commas and periods almost always go inside the quotation marks in American English. The exception is when you’re using quotation marks to set off a phrase or word and it would not make sense to include the period or comma with the word.
— Adapted from “How to Use Quotation Marks,” Mignon Fogarty, Quick and Dirty Tips.