1. Tyler Danann
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    Tyler Danann Active Member

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    Question marks, Exclamations inside or outside quotations(within speech)

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Tyler Danann, Apr 26, 2014.

    Should ! or ? be inside or outside quotations like this:

    Inside

    “What's at these 'various areas'?” McKaiser said curiously.

    Outside

    “What's at these 'various areas?'” McKaiser said curiously.
     
  2. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    This is a real knotty problem, isn't it? I've just looked it up in three sources here at home, and can't find an exact reference.

    The closest I can come is Webster's CompactWriters Guide, which says: NOTE: When both single and double quotation marks occur at the end of a sentence, the period typically falls within both sets of marks.

    So that would make your second example the correct one. Probably. The niggles are the Writers Guide use of 'typically' —which could mean just about anything. And the reference is to a period (full stop) rather than either a question mark or an exclamation mark. Normally a question mark and/or exclamation mark replaces a period in a sentence, so they are probably considered to be the same in this sort of instance?

    Good luck to anybody else who can dig up an exact reference to this situation!
     
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  3. Tyler Danann
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    Tyler Danann Active Member

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    Thanks Mr Owl :)
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i don't see any problem there... 'outside areas' is just a quote within a quote, so the ? clearly must go after it, since that's the end of the sentence and the closing " be placed after the ? just as it would be if there was no internal quote...

    the second example is incorrect, since the US rule is that only periods and commas must always go inside " "... ! or ? may go outside, when appropriate, as it is in this example...

    btw, there should be a comma after 'said,' if you really want that swiftie adverb there... ;)
     

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