Does The Period Go Inside Or Outside The Quote

Additional Punctuation Rules When Using Quotation Marks

Do periods go inside or outside quotation marks?


A rundown of the general rules of when and where to use quotation marks.

Use a comma to introduce a quotation after a standard dialogue tag, a brief introductory phrase, or a dependent clause.

Put commas and periods within quotation marks, except when a parenthetical reference follows.

Place colons and semicolons outside closed quotation marks.

Place a question mark or exclamation point within closing quotation marks if the punctuation applies to the quotation itself. Place the punctuation outside the closing quotation marks if the punctuation applies to the whole sentence.

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Does Punctuation Go Inside Quotation Marks

Whether youre writing dialogue or citing information in a paper, its natural to wonder about quotation mark rules. Does punctuation go inside quotation marks? The answer depends on the type of punctuation you are using. This simple break-down, including American and British rules, and quick reference guide will help.

When You End A Sentence With A Quote Where Does The Period Go Canada

Again, in Canada the American style predominates: periods and commas go inside closing quotation marks all other marks go inside if they belong with the quoted material, outside if they dont. Colons and semicolons deserve a special mention. If they occur at the end of quoted material, it is conventional to drop them.

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Important Exception: When The Quoted Word Is A User Input

In technical writing or even in daily life, you may find situations where someone needs to input a specific word or phrase into a computer. If you include the punctuation in the quoted section, this may cause the user to input the punctuation as well as the actual word or phrase. In this case, put the punctuation outside the quotes, as in these examples:

  • My user ID is IM47g.
  • Did you try the password mycatisawesome?
  • The mouse walking across the keyboard accidentally entered the code to launch the missile, KaBoom35*.

Introducing The Quoted Material: When To Use A Comma Colon Period Or No Punctuation At All

Should Quotes Be Before Or After The Period


The comma is the mark most frequently used to introduce quoted material.

The flight attendant asked, âMay I see your boarding pass?â

Buddha says, âEven death is not to be feared by one who has lived wisely.â


A colon should be used when the text introducing the quoted material could stand as a sentence on its own. It is also the mark most commonly used to introduce a block quotation.

In Food Rules, Michael Pollan summarizes his extensive writing about food with seven words of advice: âEat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.â


A period can be used to introduce a block quotation when the introductory text stands on its own as a complete sentence. In such cases, a colon is also properâand sometimes preferable.

No punctuation

When the quoted material flows directly from your introductory text, no punctuation should be used before the quotation. A very short quotation may also be introduced without punctuation. The unpunctuated lead-in is most commonly used with run-in quotations, but it is also appropriate for introducing block quotations that flow directly from the introductory text.

In her closing statement, the prosecutor spoke forcefully of the defendantâs âcallous disregard for human life.â

Though marshaling little evidence, the authors claim that âover half of British prisoners come from single-parent households.â

We tried to persuade him, but he said âNo way.â

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Use Parentheses For Acronyms And Abbreviations

Lastly, we can use parentheses to disclose official acronyms or abbreviations for titles or proper names. To avoid writing the same title throughout your work, introduce the full title with an official abbreviation in parentheses, and then use the acronym for there on out. For example,

First mention:Senators disclose 2022 budget for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration .

Subsequent mentions: NASA prepares to negotiate the budget to meet their financial needs for 2022.

For standard abbreviations, such as pacific time zone, enclose PT with parentheses when necessary. For example,

  • The award show begins at 8:30 p.m. .

Special cases for parentheses

Parentheses are also necessary for writing chronological lists or phone numbers. For instance, most people parenthesize their area code and use hyphens to separate local digits of their phone number. For example, -971-9701.

Chronological lists also use parentheses to enclose numbers, roman numerals, or letters, and they always begin with a colon, use commas, and end with a period. For example,

  • To bake cookies: preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease cookie tray with shortening or butter, position cookies on tray three inches apart, bake cookies for approximately 12 minutes or until brown.

Two Primary Rules For Using Parentheses And Periods In The Same Sentence

#1. Place periods inside of the parentheses when parenthetical material consists of a complete sentence. In this case, parenthetical sentences do not occur within another whole sentence.


  • Feed the cats twice a day and no later than midnight.


  • Please have the dogs go inside the house at night. .

#2. Use periods outside of parentheses when parenthetical material consists of a dependent sentence clause or list.


  • I expect students to turn in their assignments completed, edited, and on-on time .


  • All assignments should include bibliographies with MLA formatting .

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Check With Your Favorite Style Guide

When in doubt, check with your favorite style guide: APA Style, The Chicago Manual of Style, or MLA Style. For instance, the rules about whether to include exclamation points inside or outside the quotation marks may vary from guide to guide.

Luckily, when it comes to periods and commas, the answer to whether they go inside or outside the quotation mark is much simpler. If youre using American English, they go inside. Thats always truewhether the quotation appears at the beginning of the sentence, in the middle of the sentence, or at the very end.

Using Action Beats As Tags

Where Do Periods Go in Quotations?

The primary purpose of a dialogue tag when an author is punctuating dialogue is to let readers know who is speaking. But sometimes, this can be achieved without using a traditional he said/she said tag at all. Instead, you can choose to break up a line of dialogue with an action beat. In these cases, the punctuation inside the quotation marks should follow conventional rules.

How interesting. Dad turned on his heel, like a TV lawyer. If neither of you ate the cookie, then who did?

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If You Are Writing For A Publication That Demands The Use Of Apa Style Follow These Simple Guidelines To Using Punctuation In And Around Quotation Marks

Punctuation mark Place inside or outside closing quotation mark? Example
A and B thought the theory of everything was informative and essential.
Comma C and D stated that the theory of everything was informative,essential and persuasive.
Parentheses E argued that Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit .
Semi colon Outside The first participants described the process as Duis rhoncus dictum lacus in pretium the second participants described the process as Nullam ultrices augue quis varius egesta.
Colon Mr. Smith said he was excited: this was expected.
Question mark Inside The question posed was How do you rate the theory of everything on a scale from one to ten?
Question mark Outside Why is it important to know why Mr. Smith said Fusce finibus nisi sit amet convallis aucto?
Quotation within quotation with period or comma Inside

Does The Period Go Inside Or Outside The Quote

Would you believe this is the most common mistake writers make when punctuating dialogue? When completing a spoken sentence, the period always goes inside the quote.

Its time to pay the piper.

You might see British editors occasionally place a period outside the quote marks. But in those cases, it is not used for spoken dialogue but for quoting “sentence fragments”, or perhaps when styling the title of a short story like “The Gift of the Magi”.

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A More Detailed Explanation Of Punctuation Inside Or Outside Quotations

Place . and , outside .

  • “Bindle”, to todays youth, means “a small pack of drug powder”.
  • “Conquest”, said Jefferson, “is not in our principles.”
Place . and , inside.

  • “Bindle,” to today’s youth, means “a small pack of drug powder.”
  • “Conquest,” said Jefferson, “is not in our principles.”

Obviously, dont place a comma inside if it introduces the quotation .

! and ? Place ! and ? inside or outside according to logic.

  • Did she really say, “I love you”?
  • I heard him yell, “Do you love me?”
  • The second example is not a question, but it ends in a question mark. For neatness, it is acceptable to use just one end mark. Under US convention, you should only use one end mark. Under the UK convention, if you’re a real logic freak, you can use two end marks .

  • I heard him yell, “Do you love me?”. (
: and Place : and outside .

  • On the street, there are three meanings for the word “monkey”: fifty pounds, a person dependent on drugs, and a kilogram of drugs.
?, ! and . Don’t double up with end marks. But, if you must, you can.

  • Did she really ask, “Do you love me?”?
  • I heard him yell, “Do you love me?”.
Don’t double up with end marks.

  • Did she really ask, “Do you love me?”?
  • Did she really ask, “Do you love me?”
More on ?, ! and . Don’t end a quotation with . if it doesn’t end the whole sentence.

  • “Get out!” she yelled.

confirmatory test

  • Edited .
  • Printed to create a handout.
  • Sent electronically to friends or students.

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Use Of Quotation Marks And Mla In

Periods and Quotation Marks: Inside or Outside ...

In this class, we will be using MLA in-text citation for quotations and U.S. conventions of punctuation. This means that periods and commas are placed INSIDE quotation marks all other punctuation marks are placed OUTSIDE. See the below examples and also the relevant sections in the MLA handbook, The Bedford Handbook, and the use of quotations in the sample papers on reserve.

Line Quotation:

The poems title, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, is actually an ironic commentary on Prufrocks failure to develop any sustainable relationships and his own recognition of his failure to act: I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker .

Line Quotation :

Eliots use of repetition, such as the refrain In the room the women come and go/Talking of Michelangelo, demonstrates both the passage of time and Prufrocks ineffectiveness to make decisions or pursue his desires .

Line Quotation :

Futility appears as a theme in many of Eliots poems, demonstrated by Prufrocks constant rhetorical questions, And should I then presume?/And how should I begin? and images of death: In this decayed hole among the mountains/In the faint moonlight, the grass is singing/Over the tumbled graves .

Quotation within a Quotation:

Unbeknownst to her, Marys assertion to her husband that I am of no more use at home than you are reflects all too well on her ineffectual domestic abilities .

Block Quotation:

Block Quotation :

Come on, Sethe.

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A Quick Note On Punctuating British Vs American English

While Americans place periods and commas inside of quotation marks, those in the UK do the opposite. In British English, all punctuation marks go outside of the quotation marks unless the punctuation is a part of the material being quoted.

Brits also use single quotation marks for standard quotes and double quotation marks for quotes within a quote. Once again, Americans do the opposite, defaulting to double quotation marks for standard quotes, and only using single quotations when quoting something within another quote.

  • American English: I remember he said, Dont count your chickens before they hatch.
  • British English: I remember he said, Dont count your chickens before they hatch.

So Whos Right And Wrong

Trying to determine who is right or wrong between the quotation rules can be just as confusing as the rules themselves. The truth is that it doesnt really matter whom you may feel is correct. In the end, they are complicated enough which is why so many people have trouble following them. If you live in the US and are writing for an audience based here, then you already know the answers to the rules. However, if you are outside of the United States, then you would have to follow the rules for that particular country.

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What Is A Floating Quote And How Do You Correct It

Floating quotations are quotations which seem to have been thrown into a paragraph randomly, without any explanation. Here is an example of a floating quotation: Petrarch notices how quickly time goes by therefore it makes him question why he waited so long to change his ways to reach eternity in heaven.

How Do You Use Ellipses

Where Do Periods Go in Quotations? with Grammar Girl, Mignon Fogarty

Use an ellipsis when omitting a word, phrase, line, paragraph, or more from a quoted passage. Ellipses save space or remove material that is less relevant. They are useful in getting right to the point without delay or distraction: Full quotation: Today, after hours of careful thought, we vetoed the bill.

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Use Parentheses To Add Accessory Information

We call parenthetical sentences accessory because we should be able to remove the bracketed clause without obscuring the sentences meaning. For example,

With parenthetical material:

  • I now have 50 plants , as opposed to the 72 that stood before the windstorm.

Without parenthetical material:

  • I now have 50 plants as opposed to the 72 that stood before the windstorm.

As shown above, we can remove parenthetical information without eliminating the meaning of a sentence. However, we can also use parentheses to clarify terminology or provide formal, scientific names. For example,

  • The horticulturist is selling the philodendron for $350.
  • People say the Pink Princess are rare, but theyre not.

There are also times when parenthetical sentences occur outside of a complete sentence. For example,

  • I began homeschooling the kids on September 12.

For this particular example, its correct to treat parenthetical material as an independent clause and use a period inside the brackets. However, using parentheses in this manner is somewhat uncommon for formal writing. To write more fluidly, we recommend structuring the sentence as such:

  • I began homeschooling the kids on September 12 .
  • Note: Since the second example now consists of a dependent clause , the period goes after the closing parenthesis to mark the end of the entire sentence.

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