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  1. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    Punctuation Quote Marks--Commas Inside or Out with ? and !

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by dillseed, May 11, 2014.

    In AmE, I think the commas go inside the quote marks in the following sentence. No rewording or suggested sentence reconstruction, please. :)

    • Next month’s issue will feature the following articles: “Will the Internet Replace Long-Distance Telephone Service?,” “Tax Law Changes—Again!,” “Are Business Cycles Obsolete?,” and “Whither Wall Street?”

    Or, alternatively, could we use semicolons outside the quotes and drop the commas within (refer to second exemplar below)? Which is preferred? Are both versions technically correct? I think the semicolons may be too strong a break—and the commas should suffice within the quoted material.

    • Next month’s issue will feature the following articles: “Will the Internet Replace Long-Distance Telephone Service?”; “Tax Law Changes—Again!”; “Are Business Cycles Obsolete?”; and “Whither Wall Street?”

    Thank you.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2014
  2. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd probably use the second with commas instead of semicolons, but I'd be open to correction.
     
  3. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I agree with Catrin. In the first case, the comma isn't part of the article title and thus goes outside the quotation marks.
     
  4. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    That's where the conundrum lies. In American English, commas and periods always go inside the quote marks—always.
     
  5. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I don't think it's always. This might be the exception. If I find an authoritative source to back me up, I'll be sure to post it.
     
  6. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    Ahhhhhhh! Lo and behold! I just found this in CMOS 16! The commas do go inside! Wait . . . uh . . . this applies to titles of works! Can it work in my first example that shows the commas inside the quote marks?

    6.119 Commas with question marks or exclamation points

    When a question mark or exclamation point appears at the end of a quotation where a comma would normally appear, the comma is omitted (as in the first example below; see also 6.52). When, however, the title of a work ends in a question mark or exclamation point, a comma should also appear if the grammar of the sentence would normally call for one. This departure from previous editions of the manual overrides aesthetic considerations not only to recognize the syntactic independence of titles but also the potential for clearer sentence structure—especially apparent in the final example, where the comma after Help! separates it from the following title. (The occasional awkward result may require rewording.) Compare 6.118. See also 14.105, 14.178.

    “Are you a doctor?” asked Mahmoud.

    but

    “Are You a Doctor?,” the fifth story in Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?, treats modern love.

    All the band’s soundtracks—A Hard Day’s Night, Help!, Yellow Submarine, and Magical Mystery Tour—were popular.

    [​IMG]Chicago Style Q&A: New Questions and Answers

    Q. When the appositive rule (commas setting off a nonrestrictive appositive) bumps up against the rule that says a question mark shouldn’t be directly followed by a comma, which rule prevails? Here’s the sentence: The album’s first single “Do You Realize??” features a lush arrangement. Is it better to set off “Do You Realize??” with commas? Leave out the commas? Recast the sentence (which is what I wound up doing)? Thanks for your thoughts.

    A. The sixteenth edition of CMOS recommends using a comma even after a question mark if it would normally be required (6.119). End of dilemma: The album’s first single, “Do You Realize??,” features a lush arrangement. Of course, if you find that punctuation clump ugly, you’re free to recast the sentence.
    --------------------------------------------
    I'm tenacious! :)
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2014
  7. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I thought it was just when using speech that the commas/question marks/whatever marks go inside the quotation marks, everything else, outside unless, it's part of whatever's inside (like a book title)

    Ah, the English language, what a fickle mistress she is!
     
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  8. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    Exactly. Aren't the quotation marks part of the designation of the article title? It's not like the words of the titles are being quoted, per se.

    Sorry. There are times where I wonder who writes these manual articles.
     
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  9. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    @dillseed, that's interesting, though not what I expected. If it were up to me, they'd go outside (for purely aesthetic reasons).

    @cutecat22, In the US, they always go inside. For example:

    Last night I read "Article A," "Article B," and "Article C."

    I actually prefer the British way of doing things (putting the comma outside). It just looks nicer.
     
  10. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    “Are you a doctor?” asked Mahmoud.
    Yep, I agree on the one above.

    “Are You a Doctor?,” the fifth story in Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?, treats modern love.

    "Are You A Doctor?", the fifth story in the book/anthology/series "Will You Be Quiet, Please?", treats modern love.
    or the same as above but with single quotation marks.

    All the band’s soundtracks—A Hard Day’s Night, Help!, Yellow Submarine, and Magical Mystery Tour—were popular.

    All the band's soundtracks: A Hard Day's Night, Help!, Yellow Submarine and Magical Mystery Tour were popular.


    I was always told you don't precede the word 'and' with a comma, even when listing items. The word 'and' comes before the last item and so replaces the comma. Although I'm not too sure on my use of the colon o_O
     
  11. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    I concur wholeheartedly. Even in AmE, Chicago should be punctuating the examples thusly:

    Next month’s issue will feature the following articles: “Will the Internet Replace Long-Distance Telephone Service?”, “Tax Law Changes—Again!”, “Are Business Cycles Obsolete?”, and “Whither Wall Street?”

    and

    • “Are You a Doctor?”, the fifth story in Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?, treats modern love.

    Despite Chicago's edict, the two examples above should be punctuated, as I have rendered them, in AmE. Those commas are not part of the quoted titles, and they should be placed outside the quote marks as I've done above.

    Do you agree with me?
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2014
  12. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    the article one, if it's in dialogue, would it not be:
    "Last night I read Article A, Article B and Article C."


    Or am I getting confused with dialogue and non dialogue? Don't worry, I am easily confused!
     
  13. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I would get rid of the comma before and "Whither Wall Street?"
     
  14. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    In dialogue, you would use single quotes to denote article titles if you're using double quotes for the dialogue. For example:

    He said, "Last night I read 'Article A,' 'Article B,' and 'Article C' before going to bed."

    This is purely a personal preference. I like to use that last comma for clarity.
     
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  15. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    I do too.
     
  16. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I thought that after I'd posted but I was right in the middle of something :-D
     
  17. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's called the Oxford comma and I was for it even before I became a proper Oxonian. :p Leaving it out improperly links the last two items of the series.
     
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  18. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    so it's in the same vein at the Oxford pillowcase and Marmite. You either love it or hate it!
     
  19. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    both examples were 'ok' but the second was more 'correct,' imo, since ;s usually follow a : when separating items in a list...

    and yes, commas and periods do go inside " " in US rules...

    as for the rule being the reverse in UK usage, it seems that the US practice is on the rise and close to becoming the norm there, too...
     
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  20. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    Thanks.
     
  21. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Ah. That's the loved/hated "Oxford" comma. While I grew up believing as you do, I'm starting to skew towards using it. It makes meanings clearer.

    Example: The people who are the best role models in my life so far are my my parents, Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama.

    Versus: The people who are the best role models in my life so far are my parents, Hilary Clinton, and Barack Obama.

    This is an example from Dan Persinger's Writers' Devils ...and it perfectly illustrates why rules are sometimes made to be broken!
     
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  22. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    When I briefly studied English at Uni, the professor was very clear that, at least in my country, the comma before the 'and' is voluntary. While it is frowned upon, it IS correct either way. I prefer to use it.
     
  23. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    jannert...
    a comma wouldn't be used with only two items, as 'and' is all that's needed there... where it would become a choice between the oxford comma, or none, would be if there are 3 or more items being listed... so i don't see those two examples as being relevant... or even sense-making in any way...
     
  24. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Ah, so you don't think Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton having a child together is odd??? :)
     
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  25. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    given your age and obama's, not only would it be 'odd' but physically impossible! :dry:
     

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