1. Mercurial
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    Mercurial Contributing Member Contributor

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    Semicolons and Quotations

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Mercurial, Feb 5, 2009.

    When a character says something, it's appropriate to use punctuation such as:
    "Blahblah."
    "Blahblah," (with more blahblah afterward...)
    "Blahblah!"
    "Blahblah?"
    ...depending on the situation.

    But what about "Blahblah;" ??
    That doesnt look grammatically correct to me, yet I cant find anything telling me anything about whether it's correct or incorrect.

    And then, on the same subject, what about if you're using a source that uses a semicolon, and you happen to be quoting said source? Would you include the semicolon as it appears in the original document? Example:

    Blahblah-my-own-words-blahblah-according-to-this-source-eating-steak-is "blahblahblah;" however...

    Does it go inside or outside, or not at all?
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If you are quoting a document, yes, you would use the punctuation as in the original document. However, although technically valid, you shouldn't use semicolons in dialogue.

    When you have punctuation immediately before and immediately after a closing quote, you omit the punctuation after the closing quote mark. A period preceding a closing quote is converted to a comma only if the sentence continues after the quote.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ...never correct, for dialog... colons or semicolons don't go in dialog for any reason...

    ...what you will find is what is correct... that's what guides do... they tell you what is correct to do... they don't tell you all the things NOT to do...

    regardless of correctness, you must quote the excerpt exactly as it appears in its original form... if there is a major goof in it, you may add '(sic)' after the goof, if you don't want the readers to think it was yours, rather than the original writer's/speaker's...

    normally, in the us, periods and commas always go inside " "... the reverse is the rule in the uk, though i believe it's being phased out nowadays... if you're still referring to something you're quoting, see above note...
     
  4. Mercurial
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    Mercurial Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thank you both, Mr C and Maia. I think I understand now; never use semicolons if using a quotation mark directly after. --It'd probably be better to either end it with a period or use a comma and end the sentence with a "...blah," s/he said, right? I dont think I ever have, but it sparked my interest, because the second question was the one that I was more concerned about.
    If it's in an original document, I'd better use the semicolon, but if I feel it's incorrect, I can use (sic) afterward. Thanks for the tip, Maia. I actually use (sic) in freelance articles I write from time to time, but the thought didnt even occur to me. :p That's me though; sometimes I blurt out whatever question is on my mind before I actually think hard enough about the answer.

    :)
     
  5. Vayda
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    Vayda Senior Member

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    If you're writing a paper in either MLA or APA style, you should leave out the ending punctuation, and punctuate instead after your parenthetical citation. For example...

    The quote: Dogs are fricken' awesome, way better than cats; however, I like pigeons.

    According to researcher Burnes, "Dogs are fricken' awesome, way better than cats" (22).

    Some people prefer dogs, even going so far as to say they are "way better than cats" (Burnes 22).

    Some people think dogs are "way better than cats" (Burnes 22); however, I disagree.
     
  6. Mercurial
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    Mercurial Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm to write in MLA style often for a few classes I take, and I always find it hard to remember all the styles and techniques. I'm going to tag this or save it or whatever we do here so I dont forget! ...Funny example, too. :D Thanks, Vayda!
     

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