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  1. sportzchick

    sportzchick New Member

    Jan 14, 2012
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    Question about apostrophes. When are they in a quote and when are they out?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by sportzchick, Jan 29, 2012.


    As the subject line says, I'm wanting to know when an apostrophe goes inside a quotation mark and when it doesn't. For a long time I've struggled on this and I've gotten a variety of answers. I once even asked a long-time professor at my university and she couldn't tell me!

    One person told me that if whatever is in the apostrophes makes a complete sentence, then it goes inside. But if it's part of something else, then it goes outside. Maybe I already knwo the answer, but whenever I read books, I look at how it's done and notice that the authors don't seem to know which way it is either.

    So here's an example of what I mean:

    "Do you think that she could be 'the one?"'

  2. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Nov 21, 2006
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    Coquille, Oregon
    first of all, those are not 'apostrophes'... they are 'single quotation marks' and in american usage, they're used for a quote within a quote, as you've done there...

    and it would make no sense whatsoever for the closing single to be outside the doubles that surround the entire line of dialog, would it?

    what that person told you makes no sense to me...

    fyi, british usage reverses the single/double rule... and apostrophes are used to make contractions, showing that a letter or letters have been elided [can't; wouldn't]... or for creating noun possessives [the book's cover], or to indicate the plural of lowercase letters [abc's; three r's]...
  3. Kitty08

    Kitty08 Member

    Jan 27, 2012
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    The double quotation marks that surround dialogue will always go at the end, regardless of any singles inside, and punctuation goes right before the last double quotation. So the sentence would be:

    "Do you think she could be 'the one'?"

    (I took out the extra "that"--I know it's just an example sentence, but be wary of too many "thats". If a sentence makes sense without it, leave it out). Hope I helped! :)
  4. elious ranhale

    elious ranhale New Member

    Jan 17, 2012
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    Love this explanation!! It helped me a lot! Thanks for the inside!!

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