Communication Skills

JS Tip 121: From the Writing Workshops: Quotation Marks with Other Punctuation Marks

Wells Fargo’s Andy Gimenez asked us to discuss punctuation within or near quotation marks. 

Use these three principles: 

1.     Always place periods and commas inside closing quotation marks: 

Instead of saying, “turn off the lights,” my parents would say “close the lights.”

2.     Always place colons and semi-colons outside closing quotation marks. 

Our motto is “Service”; we do the right thing. 

3.     Place question marks or exclamation points inside the quotation marks if they’re part of the quotation:  

Kathy asked, “Who signed the contract?” (The quotation is a question.)  

Place question marks or exclamation points outside the quotation marks if they’re part of the larger sentence:        

Did Kathy say, “Carla signed the contract”? (The larger sentence is a question.)    

If the quotation and the larger sentence are both questions, put the question mark inside the closing quotation marks:

Did Kathy ask, “Who signed the contract?” (Both the larger sentence and the quotation are questions.)  

These principles have been standard in the United States for 150 years.

If you have questions, let us know. We’re glad to help. We love this stuff.

Next week: What the heck. We’re on a roll. We’ll talk more about quotations and quotation marks.   

 

NOTE TO SELF: USE THE INCREASE INDENT (COMMAND-]) AND THE SPACE BAR TO LINE UP THE INDENTS. THEY’RE OKAY ON THE TRANSMIT.

IF YOU TRY TO SET IT UP HERE, IT WON’T WORK.