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Punctuation

Note 53 – Punctuation with quotation marks (British v American English)


For the background to my writing challenge, please read my first blog by clicking the following link – http://wp.me/p1x6Ui-4. If you would prefer to dive straight into note 53, then please read on…

Punctuation with quotation marks

As mentioned yesterday, when deciding where to put the punctuation marks when using quotation marks, I found that the rules are different between British and American English .  For this reason, I have quoted both sets of rules from Graham King’s book Collins Improve your Punctuation and included a couple of my examples to illustrate.

The British English way

Graham King in his book Collins Improve your Punctuation suggests engraving this rule on your memory:

“PUNCTUATION MARKS (full stops, commas, question and exclamation marks, etc) GO INSIDE THE FINAL QUOTATION MARK IF THEY RELATE TO THE QUOTED WORDS, BUT OUTSIDE IF THEY RELATE TO THE WHOLE SENTENCE.”

The American English way

Graham King has a different rule to remember for those writing American English.

“All punctuation (stops, commas, colons and semicolons, exclamation and question marks, etc) precedes all final quotation marks.”

There is no logic involved and some may say it’s easier to remember, as all puncuation goes inside of the quotation marks irrespective of if they relate to the whole sentence.

In the basic examples below, see if you can spot the difference in the punctuation:

British English Example:

Josie said to Maisie, “I’d like you to help me with my homework”.

American English Example:

Josie said to Maisie, “I’d like you to help me with my homework.”

You will find the answer at the end of the blog.

I’ve had a really productive day today.  Hope yours has been good too.

Until tomorrow…

Sandra

This blog: https://mywritingnotebook.wordpress.com

My other blog: http://sandramadeira.wordpress.com

My website: www.tipsandluxuries.com (includes first chapter of my book)

Twitter: @madeirasandra and @tipsandluxuries

Reference list:

Graham King The Collins Improve your Punctuation, UK

Answer: The full stop is in a different place.

Explanation: As the punctuation mark (full stop) relates to the whole sentence, the British English example shows this outside the quotation marks, whereas in the American English example, the punctuation (full stop) is inside the quotation marks.

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About Sandra Madeira

I am a full-time working mum with a passion for writing and inspiring others. Please let me know what you think of my blog - constructive comments welcome. Have a great day Sandra Freelance Writer www.sandramadeira.com

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