Punctuation within quotation marks or outside?


From an article in our newsletter:


Come to our "Card Party!"  Familes and friends are invited to join us from some....


One proof reader feels that the exclamation point should be after the end quotation mark; this writer believes it should be as it is written.  Is either right or wrong?

asked Apr 02 '12 at 15:10 Sue New member

2 answers


I wonder why you need an exclamation mark at all. My rule of thumb as a Brit is that punctuation marks are contained within the quotation marks.

link answered Apr 02 '12 at 18:51 Angela Rigley Contributor

I suspect the best approach is to minimize confusion for the reasonable breadth of likely readers. This would support placement of 'other punctuation' at least, and perhaps including periods and commas, outside the quotation marks unless the punctuation is part of what is being quoted.

Americans and perhaps many others would view 'outside' periods and commas as strange or wrong, but this would hopefully eliminate confusion about inclusion of the punctuation in the quoted text. On the ever-present 'other hand,' some readers assumption of a grammatical error would reasonably cause confusion and would distract from the material that included the quotation.

It is a bit circular in reference, and perhaps the referenced blog table is wrong, but the American Psychology Association (APA), as cited in a similar thread on Grammarly, has a blog with a table of American and British usage at http://blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/2011/08/punctuating-around-quotation-marks.html. The table states that periods and commas are always outside quotation marks, while other punctuation, if part of what is being quoted, is placed inside quotation marks.

However, quoting an earlier post from "Jeff Pribyl" in a similar thread on Grammarly and conflicting with the APA table referenced above, "In British English, the comma or period is generally outside of the quotation mark unless the punctuation also appears in what is being quoted." [ed.: the typo "Britsh" was corrected here]

Loren DemareeMay 31 '13 at 17:56

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Is the exclamation mark included in the title of the event, or is the invitation adding the exlamation to a 'non-exclaimed' title? This may change the placement if the event title is "Card Party," and the style used is an 'American' placement of exclamation marks within the closing quotation mark only if it is the original author's work, which would not be the usage as supposed here in my example. Thus:


Come to our "Card Party"! Families and ...

link comment answered May 31 '13 at 17:22 Loren Demaree New member

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