1. stonefly
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    stonefly New Member

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    quotation marks and commas

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by stonefly, Jan 15, 2011.

    Sometimes I don't feel right putting a comma inside punctuation marks.

    For example, if I wished to refer to a "word," the comma goes inside the marks, but the marks are pertinent to the word while the comma is pertinent to the sentence. It doesn't feel right.

    For example, if I wished to refer to a "word", is it acceptable to place the comma after the marks?
     
  2. bubblegirl101
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    bubblegirl101 Senior Member

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    no you should always place a comma first after the sentence and then put quotes around the dialogue.
     
  3. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Comma goes inside. :)
     
  4. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Does it make you feel better or worse hear that, yes, it's illogical, and it's the rule anyway? My understanding (and I've seen it in enough places to be reasonably confident that it isn't an urban legend) is that this was introduced for the needs of typesetting. There's a fairly detailed explanation in Wikipedia (look for the article on "quotation mark"), though I realize, of course, that Wikipedia isn't exactly a definitive source.

    ChickenFreak
     
  5. evelon
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    evelon Active Member

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    There are two ways of looking at this and I'm not sure which way you are meaning.

    "Just give me the word," - the comma goes inside the punctuation marks.

    But, if you are saying, for example - And the man called him a 'word', before hitting him. Then the comma is after the puncutation marks. But normally under those circumstances you would be using the single ' rather than ".
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    commas and periods always go inside quotation marks, if you're writing for the us market... in the uk, the opposite is the rule, but us usage seems to be tolerated and may even be catching on there...

    and no, it may not make much sense, but then neither does much of the english language in general...
     
  7. evelon
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    evelon Active Member

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    There are still a few differences between UK and America.

    In the UK when we are writing dialogue, the comma, or full stop, always goes inside the quotation marks, however, if we highlight a word or phrase by enclosing it in inverted commas, any comma that we then use (for effect or pause) goes outside the inverted commas.


    "I will have a 'Lucy's Special Coffee," she said.

    She ordered a 'Lucy's Special Coffee', a house favourite.
     
  8. Spacer
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    Spacer Active Member

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    Logical quoting is especially important when writing about computer programming. Magazines concerning programming would use logical quotes for consistency since an example might require it to be clear what punctuation mark is inside the quotation. I gave the editors a hard time by beginning a sentence with a proper noun that was a program identifier in a case-sensitive language and lower-case. Now when it is important to be Logical, you can easily avoid dialog tags.

    >> Type "rm ," and then...

    Recording dialog is not the same as quotation of something that is to be preserved with high fidelity.
     
  9. UberNoodle
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    UberNoodle Senior Member

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    The way I do it is like this:

    1) This 12 guage double-barrelled remington is my 'boom stick'.
    2) "This is my boom stick," he shouted. "It's a 12 guage double-barrelled remington!"
    3) "Like oh my gawd, that's so awesome," she exclaimed. "Like totally!"

    When quotation marks are used in-line, for emphasis or reasons other than quotation, the final punctuation mark is on the outside because it doesn't relate to the content inside the quotation marks. However, if it that quotation is actual speech, then, in fiction writing, the punctuation stays inside, like above. In journalism and reporting though, it is often kept outside so as to maintain the spirit of the original quote, which is important.

    4) The CEO later stated that the words attributed to him were "clearly misquoted and [..] quite possibly libel."

    VS

    5) The CEO later stated that the words attributed to him were "clearly misquoted and [..] quite possibly libel".

    In the example shown in (5), it is clear that the full-stop (period) was not in the original quote, thereby preserving that meaning and nuance. There is also no capitalisation of 'clearly'. This makes sense as the original, full quote is, "Well, in regard to the accusations against me, spread by my rivals, I can only say that I have been clearly misquoted and the effect of this is quite possibly libel."
     
  10. evelon
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    evelon Active Member

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    1) This 12 guage double-barrelled remington is my 'boom stick'.
    2) "This is my boom stick," he shouted, "it's a 12 guage double-barrelled remington!"
    3) "Like oh my gawd, that's so awesome," she exclaimed, "like totally!"



    Would you put a full stop after 'shouted', and 'awesome'? The first part - ''This is my broomstick," he shouted - is a complete sentence and so needs a full stop. The second part "It's a 12 guage...remington!' is a new sentence.


    "I had no idea he was going," she said. "If I had known ..." (Two independant sentences)

    However,

    "I had no idea he was going." She sighed and said, "If I had known..."
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    uber... your #s 1 and 5 are ok in the uk, but not for us publication...
     
  12. tristan.n
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    tristan.n Active Member

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    My college English teacher spent an entire semester on the comma. It completely sucked, but I learned something at least. When it comes to dialogue, the punctuation is always inside the quotation marks.
    "Yes, dear."
    "Yes, dear?"
    "Yes, dear," I said.
    When dealing with proper nouns (or when using parentheses to add something to the end of a phrase), the comma or other punctuation goes outside of the quotation marks.
    Have you read "A Good Man Is Hard to Find"?
    This dish is spicy (yet also a bit sweet), so I can't eat it.

    Cheesy examples, but you get the point, right? It also depends on which version of English you're writing in. There are different rules for the comma in American literature than there are in British literature. The British had it right: use the comma logically, not conventionally. If we would stop changing things, maybe there wouldn't be so much confusion. Rules of English, methods of measurement, deciding which side of the road to drive on... I mean come on early Americans, were all those changes really necessary? lol
     
  13. Spacer
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    Spacer Active Member

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    The "always inside" was an issue for movable metal type and serifs. With modern technology, they can be printed in any order! The "always" rule has been pushed back steadily ever since.
     
  14. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not quite the opposite -- sometimes commas and full stops go inside the quotes here too.

    That said, UK punctuation seems to be a lot less rule based than the US. It's not that long since punctuation marked the dynamics of speech rather than the logical structure of the sentence, and I suspect a bit of that way of thinking still persists. It might seem to make no difference to the quote mark rules, but I think that the mindset means that we instinctively look past the detail to the sense of the sentence.
     
  15. UberNoodle
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    UberNoodle Senior Member

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    Yes, I suppose I would! I was concentrating so much on the placement of punctuation before or after quotation marks, that I missed those simple mistakes. And, I got carried away with thinking of silly dialogue. Tah! :)
     
  16. UberNoodle
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    UberNoodle Senior Member

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    Ahh, I see. Well, I love my Logical Quotation Marks. I guess the USA will have to volunteer someone to convert my stuff over.

    Now that's thinking a long way ahead!
     
  17. stonefly
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    stonefly New Member

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    Thanks for all the replies on this. It put my question in a different light as well as answering the question.

    Also, I found answers to other questions I had regarding dialog, tags and punctuation.
     

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