Punctuation inside quotes?

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Dinosaur, Apr 24, 2016.

  1. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    It seems to be standard to put a sentence-ending punctuation mark inside quotes. Example:
    The above seems reasonable.

    However the following always made sense to me.
    The question mark ends John Doe's sentence & the period after the quote ends the sentence containing John Doe's reply.
     
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  3. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    Since the set standards of an authority are usually something to simply unthinkingly learn / obey rather than examine or discuss in a forum, I assume this involves discerning an underlying motive for a personal choice.

    An obvious one would be the avoidance of redundancy. If the enclosing sentence is declarative but the quotation is interrogative, then each should have its own applicable punctuation mark for making its grammatical mood distinct from the other. However, if both have the same mood in common, then only one symbol should indeed be needed (not two periods or two question marks). Based on that, even placing the period outside the quotation marks at the very end of John Doe said "I agree with your remarks" would thus more encompass the shared linguistic character of the whole works.

    Some people may experience either an arbitrary or system-conditioned, aesthetic displeasure when viewing punctuation marks placed for any justifiable reason outside quotation marks.
     
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  5. krash661 [MK6] transitioning scifi to reality Valued Senior Member

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    in america--this is the standard language of english-- but after experiencing languages around the globe, i agree with you.
     
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  7. krash661 [MK6] transitioning scifi to reality Valued Senior Member

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    MY GOD-- every time i see a post of yours, i am always focused on your avatar image-- i seriously wait to read the whole cycle.

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    as for your post-- one must acknowledge how humanity thrives from one extreme too another. the medium is the key-- which for some odd reasons of why humanity cannot achieve-- yzarc thgir?
     
  8. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    24,690
    You mean "standard dialect of English," and that statement is false. (Not to mention, your typography needs a bit of help: both "America" and "English" must be capitalized.)

    There are four standard dialects of English: British, American/Canadian, Indian and Australian/New Zealander. Of course the vast majority of written or spoken English that the population of the planet reads or hears is indeed British or North American. Nonetheless it's humbling to realize that there are more people in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh who speak Indian English, than all of the rest of us put together. A visitor from Mars would assume that Indian is the "standard" dialect.
     
  9. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    1,434
    When asked what he said, John Doe replied "I said 'Charles, did you finish sweeping the floor in the kitchen yet?' ".

    Above is how I would punctuate a quote within a quote.
     
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  10. krash661 [MK6] transitioning scifi to reality Valued Senior Member

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    except dialect actually means-- " regional variety of language " --as i clearly stated the use of " in america. "

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    (shrugs)
    ahh--i see-- you consider yourself as an " intellect", but yet capitalization is an issue.

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    (shakes head, seriously?)
    LIM-- ummm okay.

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    carry on.
    umm okay?--carry on ?-- oh wait--you simply forgot the great of them all, latian.
    MY GOD-- why would this ridiculous nonsense be true-- i mean since aliens are actually non- " anthropocentric " and simply can understand " any" english, whether it comes from america or any other such-es?
    overall, LIM-- ummm okay.

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    carry on.
    except one with EXPERIENCE of communicating with many languages around the globe would disagree with you-- but whatever-- book knowldge knows best, correct ?

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    Last edited: Apr 25, 2016
  11. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Nonetheless, it is incorrect. No editor in the anglophone world would let that go into print, except editors of humor and countercultural publications.

    The last punctuation mark in a printed sentence is the double quote-mark, if there is one. Your other mistake is to leave a space between the single-quote and the double-quote. And, by the way, there is a third and fourth mistake: there must always be a comma (or other punctuation mark such as a colon) between a word and an opening quotation mark.

    The correct typography is:

    When asked what he said, John Doe replied, "I said, 'Charles, did you finish sweeping the floor in the kitchen yet?'" (The default SciForums font makes it difficult to figure out what those three blips at the end are, but it's a single quote followed by a double quote.)

    Note
    • 1. The comma after "replied"
    • 2. The comma after "said"
    • 3. No space between the closing single quote and the closing double quote.
    • 4. No period after the closing double quote.
    I have worked as an editor in a number of organizations. My managers trust me, and so can you.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2016
  12. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    I have never edited. The only point I was trying to make was the need for the single quote inside the double quote.
     
  13. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Fine. Just don't dangle a period after either one of those quotation marks. The period must always be INSIDE the quotation marks.
     
  14. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Fraggle is of course correct. On the other hand, there are circumstances in which the standard punctuation and grammar we have inherited doesn't make sense, which means it doesn't work (as the three blips in post 8, that will refuse to look like a single quote followed by a double quote in any common screen font, illustrate).

    Personally, I sometimes put punctuation outside a double quote mark for clarity and sense (and use the third person "plural" as the gender neutral singular, etc), but not ignorantly. Know the rules, and you can break them as you please.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2016

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