Quotations Marks With Other Punctuation
The rules about quotation marks and other punctuation differ from country to country, from format to format. If you’re at all unsure as to where to put the punctuation, consult a style guide.
That said, here are some fairly common guidelines in American English: the punctuation that comes with the quote stays within the quote, and the punctuation that comes with the unquoted sentence stays outside the quote.
If you end a sentence with a quote that contains end-of-sentence punctuation (period, exclamation mark or question mark), there’s no need for anymore punctuation at the end of the sentence: just let the quote’s punctuation do all the work.
The man said, “I shall be re-born!”
So I asked, “Where did you get that outfit? Your mother’s childhood dress-up box?”
Here, the exclamation mark serves as the punctuation for the whole sentence, including the quote.
If you’re only quoting part of a sentence, you’ll need to use your own punctuation at the end of your sentence, outside the quotation marks. Commas and semicolons usually go outside the quotation marks.
The project manager suggested that everyone “hone their personal skills and talents” carefully.
Matthew is “contemplating higher things”; Mary blatantly confesses to napping.
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