Quotation Marks & Punctuation
How to Use Quotation Marks and Punctuation – Grammar Matters
Quotations really help bring the printed word to life but getting the grammar right when using quotation marks and punctuation can be confusing. As usual, the Brits and Americans disagree about the rules so we cover both American and British English punctuation usage in quotations. Apart from the grammar rules there’s also the practical decision whether to use the traditional “ ” (66 99 style quotation marks), single curly quotation marks ‘ ’ or settle for the ” and ‘ straight quotation marks (inverted commas in British English) provided on most computer keyboards.
Many online resources, including ADDucation, use the straight quotation marks simply because the keys are right there on the keyboard. For online and printed books, magazines, publications, poetry and anywhere typography is important use traditional quotation marks and punctuation.
ADDucation Tips: Click the + icon to show any hidden columns. Set your browser to full screen and zoom out to display as many columns as possible. Start typing in the Filter table box to find examples of quotation marks and punctuation inside the table.
|Quotation Marks with:||Quotation Marks and Punctuation Rule/s:||American English Examples||British English Examples|
|Periods (full stops) and commas|
|Semicolons, colons, and dashes||Semicolons, colons, and dashes always go outside quotation marks.|
|Question marks and exclamation points||Where they go depends on your sentence:||Part of the quotation:|
Not part of the quotation:
|Part of the quotation:|
Not part of the quotation:
|Single or double quotation marks / inverted commas|
Readability can be improved using a space between the closing single and double quote:
|Commas inside quotations|
Grammar Rules Made to be Broken?
- Technical writing or coding examples which illustrate something the reader should enter into a text box should leave commas, periods (full stops) outside the quotation marks because it’s important the user doesn’t enter the punctuation into the text box.
- For over a decade the <q> tag has been available to use in short inline quotations instead of traditional quotation marks in HTML webpages.
- In most situations where it’s tempting to break the rules a better method is often to use bold or italics or colored text to highlight text or place the instructions on a separate line.
Quotation Marks Trivia History
American English and British English differ because, when metal type was commonly used to compose text for printing by compositors, the rule was to place periods (full stops) and commas inside quotation marks to help protect the slender small metal type pieces from falling off or being broken off. In the early 20th century, a famous British style guide “The King’s English” (written by Fowler Brothers) arbitrarily decided “logic” overruled practical typesetting so the British moved full stops (periods) and commas outside quotation marks. This change never made it across to America, which is why there are two different styles today.
ADDucation Pages Related to Grammar:
- ADDucation’s list of best one line jokes is full of quotation marks…
- List of Mnemonics packed with memory joggers…
- Spotted a mistake? Do you have any suggestions to improve our quotation marks and punctuation list? list please add your comments below…