Period Inside Or Outside Quotation Marks

Important Exception: When The Quoted Word Is A User Input

Do periods go inside or outside quotation marks?

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*.

Period Goes Inside Quotation Marks

Derrick Grant writes:

Ive always been perplexed on whether the period goes inside the quotations or outside, when the sentence is not quoting someone. For example: They didnt describe it as a budget cut, they called it streamlining services.

Does the period go inside the quote or outside? Ive seen it, in professional publications, done both ways, leading me to think that both are correct however, I have the ALWAYS put a period INSIDE the quotes statement burned into my head from my old English high school teacher. If both methods are correct, Im inclined to think putting it outside the quotes, in the above example, looks more appropriate.


The two most popular U.S. authorities agree with Derricks high school English teacher.

AP Style book:

Periods always go inside quotation marks. p 361

Chicago Manual of Style:

Periods and commas precede closing quotation marks, whether double or single. This is a traditional style, in use well before the first edition of this manual Section 6:8

The CMS goes on to describe exceptions for textual studies and British usage, but for practical purposes, writers of American English can go with the ALWAYS put a period INSIDE the quotes mantra.

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Quotation Marks With Semicolons And Colons

With semicolons, colons, asterisks, and dashes, we get back to a simple rule. They go outside the closing quotation mark.

I love Ode to Ants its insightful and moving.Ode to Ants: A Moving and Insightful SongAardvarks greatest hit is Ode to Ants.*I love Ode to Ants–its insightful and moving.

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When To Use Punctuation Inside Quotation Marks

Before we get too complicated, it might help to briefly review what quotation marks are. We have an awesome guide to quotation marks if you need an in-detail refresher. Quotation marks are a pair of punctuation marks used to set off quotations, which are selections of text or speech said by someone besides the writer or speaker.

Now, lets look at the instances that typically call for punctuation inside quotation marks.

A Rule Without Exception: Chicago 1906


When the first edition of Chicagos competing guide went on sale to the publicin 1906, as Manual of Stylethe quotation marks were double, and the commas and periods went inside. So did semicolons, but not colons :

113. Put the period inside the quotation marks.

123. The colon should be placed outside the quotation marks, unless a part of the quotation.

127. The semicolon is always placed inside the quotation marks.

146. The comma is always placed inside the quotation marks.

By 1910, when the second edition of the Manual was published, Chicagos editors had changed their minds about the semicolon, borrowing instead from the rule for colons:

140. The semicolon should be placed outside the quotation marks, unless a part of the quotation.

But why? Isnt a semicolon just a fancy hybrid, stronger than a comma but weaker than a period?

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Quotation Marks With Commas And Periods

One of the most common question people ask me is whether periods and commas go inside or outside a closing quotation mark, and theres a reason everyone is confused. The rules in American English are different from the rules in British English, so if youre regularly reading American and British publications, such as the BBC and CNN websites, youll regularly see it done different ways.

In America, we use a hard-and-fast rule that was supposedly designed by compositors to protect the tiny commas and periods . We always put periods and commas inside quotation marks.

In Britain, they use rules that require the writer to determine whether the period or comma belong with the quotation or are part of the larger sentence. It appears that early champions of this logical system were H.W. Fowler and F.G. Fowler who wrote the classic 1906 British usage guide The Kings English . In it, the brothers describe the British logical system of punctuation. They note that they are in conflict with compositors, people who set type, but the Fowlers believe their system is better.

In short, my U.S.-centric memory trick is to remember that inside the U.S., periods and commas go inside quotation marks.

Squiggly said, I hate packing for a vacation.I hate packing for a vacation, said the yellow snail.

Is The Period Before Or After The Parentheses

Answer itPeriodsParenthesesparenthesesperiodafter the parenthesis

In respect to this, do you put periods inside or outside quotations?

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Do periods go before or after parentheses when citing?

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Do commas go inside or outside of parentheses?


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The Us And Uk Rules For Commas And Periods With Quotations

  • “Bindle,” to todays youth, means “a small pack of drug powder.”
  • “Bindle”, to todays youth, means “a small pack of drug powder”.
  • “Conquest”, said Thomas Jefferson, “is not in our principles.”
  • “I like apples,” said John.
  • . Clearly, we can’t use a period here because that would confuse the reader. So, a comma has replaced the period and has been correctly placed inside the quotation to recognize that the quotation had its own end punctuation.)


Commas And Periods: Inside Or Outside Quotation Marks

5c: Quotation marks used with other punctuation

February 11, 2007 By Administrator

Have you ever wondered where the periods and commas are placed when youre writing direct and indirect quotations?

The Gregg Reference Manual, Ninth Edition, says, Periods and commas always go inside the closing quotation mark. This is the preferred American style.

Examples: She said, Ill be there soon.When you are finished, he said, well leave.

Then there is the British style, which places the period outside when it punctuates the whole sentence, and inside when it punctuates only the quoted material.

So, if youre in the U.S., youll probably place your periods and commas inside the closing quotation mark. Heres more from Purdue Online Writing Lab.

Try to use quotation marks sparingly. Theres a tendency today for people to use them to emphasize far too many words. They often use them in e-mail and on Web sites an a kind of informal way to italicize a word or phrase, but people regularly use them when its not necessary.See examples at the Gallery of Misused Quotation Marks.

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Double Quotation Marks With Single Quotation Marks

Another British-American difference is how we use single quotation marks and double quotation marks. The British use single quotation marks far more often than Americans. In America, we use double quotation marks in nearly all cases, and we use single quotation marks if we need to place a quotation within another quotation:

The defendant testified as follows: I heard Sam say, Hide the files from Delia.

When the single quotation mark and double quotation mark fall next to each other, as in the above example, you can improve readability by putting a space between the two marks. Professional print typesetters use something called a thin space, which is thinner than a standard space.

HTML Codes

Trademark Symbols With Punctuation At The End Of A Sentence

Do trademark symbols go before or after punctuation at the end of a sentence/question? Amanda May 8, 2014

Trademark symbols go before the final punctuation:

Every morning, the first thing I do is check Google News.Do you love Grammar Girl®?

Sometimes professional designers play with the spacing so the period looks more like it is under the trademark symbol.

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Reference To Words As Such

When referring to a words form rather than its meaning, use quotation marks to draw the readers attention. Usually these words are preceded by terms such as means, , specified, as, referred to as, the word, the phrase, entitled and designated. Most writers prefer to place words referred to as such in italics or to underline them rather than to use quotation marks, but consistency in form is the golden rule . Words being defined, French terms and foreign words are set in italics, and their definition or translation is placed in quotation marks:

  • The Canadian International Development Agency will be referred to as “the Agency” in this Agreement.
  • The French word dotation means “staffing.”
  • Ibid., short for ibidem, meaning “in the same place,” is used when references to the same work follow each other without any other intervening reference.

See 6.03 French and foreign words and phrases for information on the use of italics with French or foreign words and phrases.

Punctuation That Varies In Placement


In American English, the general rule for question marks and exclamation marks is this: If the quoted material ends with a question mark or an exclamation mark, the punctuation should be inside the quotation marks. However, if the question mark or exclamation mark is not directly part of the quote, then the punctuation should go outside the quotation marks.

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If The Rule Doesnt Fit Break It

Neither system is perfect. Chicagos may be easier to use, but it sometimes results in ambiguity. When I talk about punctuation, its understood that I am not talking about the word punctuation followed by a comma. But if I were to ask you to type the word punctuation, I might want to make it perfectly clear that you are not to type the comma also.

Exceptions like that one are rare in most contexts, but if your text depends on that level of precision, by all means break the rule, as I just didand point to CMOS 7.79 to defend your choice.

* But not without exceptions. British newspapers, for example, often use double quotation marks.

In Harts Rules, quotation marks were also referred to as inverted commas, a term that is still used today. But note that in most modern typefaces only the opening mark is an inverted comma the closing mark consists of a comma oriented normally. Both marks are raised above the baseline.

Editors Corner posts at Shop Talk reflect the opinions of its authors and not necessarily those of The Chicago Manual of Style or the University of Chicago Press.

~ ~ ~

Russell Harper is editor of The Chicago Manual of Style Online Q& A and was the principal reviser of the last two editions of The Chicago Manual of Style. He also contributed to the revisions of the last two editions of Kate L. Turabians A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations.

When Exclamation Points And Question Marks Go Outside

If the quoted words are embedded within a sentence that is an exclamation or question, then the punctuation goes outside the quotation marks, like this:

  • Who said the line, “I’m the king of the world”?
  • How did the coach know it was me who said, “I don’t want to be on this team”?
  • You have to read the article “UFOs Are Real”!

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Periods With Quotation Marks

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Periods Come InsideWith only one exception, the periodalwayscomesinsideclosing quotation marks. This rule applies even if only one quoted word ends the sentence. Thus:

He said, “We need to tell the boss rightaway.” She reported that the boss was, in her words, “miffed.”

The only exception, according to The Chicago Manual of Style, involves the use of singlequotation marks in two situations: to show translations of foreign words and to show philosophical or theological terms. The Chicago Manual of Style pp. 134, 170, 171 .Translation

For Appearance Sake: Chicago 1937

Where Do Periods Go in Quotations?

The reason for Chicagos continued exception for commas and periods alone would become evident, but not until 1937, when the tenth edition of the Manual was published:

133. The period is placed inside the quotation marks for appearance sake. . . .

Tennysons In Memoriam.Put the period inside the quotation marks.

The rule for periods is still a rule without exception, as it was in 1906but this time the reminder is in italics, a bit of emphasis that echoes Harts own insistence in 1905 on the opposite principle. Just as interesting are those three words of explanation that precede the example: for appearance sake.

What does that mean?

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Insertions Alterations And Parentheses

While every quotation must be scrupulously exact, you may wish to provide the reader with information to clarify items in the quotation. For example, you may feel it advisable to indicate to whom the possessive adjective refers in the following:

  • The official insisted: “We foresee no change in their environmental policy in the near future.”

The clarification is made by means of square brackets:

  • The official insisted: “We foresee no change in environmental policy in the near future.”

If you need to indicate an error in the original, such as a misspelling, insert the Latin word sic, italicized and enclosed in brackets, immediately after the word concerned. The addition of assures the reader of the accuracy of the quotation.

When used in this way, should not be followed by a period or an exclamation mark. Avoid implicit comments on peculiarities of form or content by means of an exclamation mark or question mark enclosed in parentheses.

If you wish to draw attention to specific parts of a quotation, underline or italicize them. The reader must be informed in a footnote, or in parentheses or brackets immediately following the quotation, by means of a phrase such as Italics mine, Underlining mine or My emphasis, that the emphasis was not in the original.

Quick Reference Guide For Punctuation And Quotation Marks

The following table shows how to place your punctuation in relation to the closing quotation mark in a passage or sentence. This is a general guideline. For more specific rules and exceptions, see below.

Punctuation Mark

She said, I got lost on the way to the park.


Ill trade you three blue beads for that feather, Lola said.

Question mark

Inside quotation marks

The girl picked up the cat and said, Dont you want to wear this doll dress, Kitty?

Exclamation point

Hey! Ella yelled. Thats my donut, not yours!

Colon or semicolon

Outside quotation marks

The report listed one primary reason native speakers frequently mix up punctuation: the rules are difficult to remember.


Outside quotation marks

Under her breath, Sophie muttered, I sure hope she appreciates this.

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