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justn's avatar

In your informal writing do you put punctuation inside or outside quotation marks?

Asked by justn (1382points) October 8th, 2009

When quoting another work I like to keep my punctuation marks separate from the original work. MLA style requires that I put punctuation inside the quotation marks, so I comply, but it drives me crazy doing so. In my opinion, my added punctuation isn’t what the author intended so it should go on the outside of the quotation marks. In all of my informal writing I do this.

So, how do you like to treat this in informal writing when you aren’t held to certain style standards?

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6 Answers

gussnarp's avatar

I don’t have the MLA style memorized, but the rule I always learned, and the one I follow, is that punctuation goes inside the quotes when it is part of the quote, otherwise it goes outside.

whitenoise's avatar

I think you don’t need to dop what you wrote, based on MLA rules. See below qutation from The Owl at Purdue – a website with writing help and teaching resources from Purdue University.

“To indicate short quotations (fewer than four typed lines of prose or three lines of verse) in your text, enclose the quotation within double quotation marks. Provide the author and specific page citation (in the case of verse, provide line numbers) in the text, and include a complete reference on the Works Cited page. Punctuation marks such as periods, commas, and semicolons should appear after the parenthetical citation. Question marks and exclamation points should appear within the quotation marks if they are a part of the quoted passage but after the parenthetical citation if they are a part of your text.”

janbb's avatar

In informal writing (where you are not generally citing the work), I usually use what seems to me to make sense in terms of the sentence. Most of the time, I will follow the rules and keep the punctuation “within the quotation marks.” But sometimes, it seems to enhance the sentence ‘if I don’t”! Those aren’t great examples, but I knows it when I sees it.

jca's avatar

my informal is pretty much the same as my formal, as don’t like looking like i was not taught correctly.

she said to me, “What would you like for dinner?” “I will have dinner when I come home,” I said.

that’s how i was taught in the USA.

Zen's avatar

I say: “As soon as you say informal, the rules go out the window by definition. However, everything goes inside the quotation marks, according to Strunk and White.”

Rozee's avatar

It seems to me that I heard or read that the reason the period was moved inside the quotes was related to typesetting. The period was small and easily damaged so the large block with the quote mark was on the outside to protect it. At any rate, I have used that as my way to remember to protect the small period by following it with the larger quotes mark.

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