Disclaimer: English Kinda Thing

The sole purpose of the "English Kinda Thing" is to document my attempts to correct my own mistakes in standard English usage and to share the resources I find. In no way do I attempt to teach nobody English through these blurbs--just as I intend not to teach nobody to be a neurotic and psychotic handicap in Ratology Reloaded or Down with Meds! :-)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Quotation marks and other punctuations

It was not after I took on this second translation job did I come face-to-face with my problems with punctuation (and, yes, I have a problem with being punctual as well. 8-X lol).

En route to learning English, one of the questions yours Missy Bad English had was where punctuation marks should be placed in relation to quotation marks.

It should be noted that "Material quoted in the form of dialogue or from text is traditionally introduced with a comma... If a quotation is introduced by that, whether, or a similar conjunction, no comma is needed." (Chicago Manual of Style, 6.50 Commas with quotations, http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/16/ch06/ch06_sec050.html)

In addition, the following table was provided by Chelsea Lee on the APA website (http://blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/2011/08/punctuating-around-quotation-marks.html).  Chelsea Lee provided a good summary on the usage of punctuation marks surrounding quotation marks.  I have pasted it here to make it easier for you to review.
Punctuation mark
In relation to closing quotation mark, place it…
PeriodInsideParticipants who kept dream diaries described themselves as “introspective” and “thoughtful.”
CommaInsideMany dream images were characterized as “raw,” “powerful,” and “evocative.”
ParenthesesOutsideBarris (2010) argued that “dreams express and work with the logic of gaining a sense of and a relation to ourselves, our lives, or our sense of reality as a whole” (p. 4).See more examples of how to cite direct quotations here.
Semi-colonOutsideAt the beginning of the study, participants described their dream recall rate as “low to moderate”; at the end, they described it as “moderate to high.”
ColonOutsideParticipants stated they were “excited to begin”: We controlled for participants' expectations in our study.
Question mark or exclamation point (part of quoted material)InsideThe Dream Questionnaire items included “How often do you remember your dreams?” and “What do you most often dream about?” We found intriguing results.When a quotation ending in a question mark or exclamation point ends a sentence, no extra period is needed.
Question mark or exclamation point (not part of quoted material)OutsideHow will this study impact participants who stated at the outset, “I never remember my dreams”? We hypothesized their dream recall would increase.
Quotation within a quotation + period or commaInsideSome participants were skeptical about the process: “I don’t put any stock in these ‘dream diaries.’”When multiple quotation marks are used for quotations within quotations, keep the quotation marks together (put periods and commas inside both; put semi-colons, colons, etc., outside both).

Also, what is presented here is the American style. Please check the writing of Chelsea Lee for the differences between the American and British styles.

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