Help! Inside or Outside Quotation Marks?

What is the rule for periods inside of quotation marks?  Well, it depends on whether you are American or British.  For the ACT, I will share with you the American rules:

,   .   ,   .   ,   .   ,   .   ,   .   ,   .   ,   .   ,   .   ,   .

Rule 1:  ALWAYS, ALWAYS, –did I write….  ALWAYS place a period and comma inside quotation marks in a sentence.

Example:  Margaret shared great advice with the audience, “It is important to do your best and trust God with the rest.”

Example:  Margaret shared great advice with the audience, “It is important to do your best and trust God with the rest,” and then she closed in prayer.

 

However, the rule changes when we use ! and ? (exclamation marks and question marks)

!   ?   !   ?   !   ?   !   ?   !   ?   !   ?   !   ?   !   ?

Rule 2:  Exactly the same as the British, you need to look at the sentence to see if the quotation is part of the entire sentence OR if the quotation is extra in the sentence.

A.  If the quotation is part of the entire sentence, place ! or ? OUTSIDE “(quotation marks).

Example:  Have you ever heard Mercy Me’s song, “I Can Only Imagine”?

B.  If the quotation by itself is an exclamation or question, place ! or ? INSIDE of ” (quotation marks).

Example:  Casting Crowns produced a wonderful song, “Who Am I?”

 

;   :   *   —   ;   :   *   —   ;   :   *   —   ;   :   *   —

Rule 3:  Semicolons, colons, asterisks, dashes ALWAYS, ALWAYS, –did I write… ALWAYS place OUTSIDE quotation marks in a sentence.

Example semicolon:  Casting Crowns produced a wonderful song, “Who Am I?“; I listen to it often.

Example colon:  You may want to purchase the following songs:  “Breathe,” “Be One,” and “Who Am I?”

Example asterisk:  Shirley Jackson uses irony to develop her story in “The Lottery.”*

Example dash:  Poetry titles should be written in quotation marks–“The Road Not Taken,” “Still I Rise,” and “Aspiration,” for example.

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