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Quotation Marks!


Wild Potato
May 16, 2007
Las Vegas
Try to speak slowly 'cause English aint my thing. ;)

When it comes to quotation marks, my question is this: Where the hell should I put the things? I always place them outside punctuation marks, but I've seen a few grammarians on this forum putting them inside of them.

Are question marks treated differently than other signals in the placement of quotation marks? A few examples of how I would normally place quotation marks:

The doctor said: "we need to pull that spike out of your head."

The doctor said: "do you think we should pull that spike out of your head?"

What do you mean when you say: "I need this spike pulled out of my head?"
(Should I shift the quotation inside the question mark here?)

You shouldn't "have a hyper-cow," so to speak, merely because I suggest you might have a spike stuck in your head.


"I'm the hero!"
Jul 29, 2006
Punctuation goes inside of quotations.

"Oh," you say to me, "I had never thought about it like that before."

"But of course!" I respond. "That's part of the proper mechanics for English!"

"Is that so?" you ask.


It is also American English style to put punctuation inside quotation marks even when quoting. For example, let's say a man wrote this:

5 Centimeters Per Second was indeed a terribly excellent movie. I cried at the conclusion.

Americans would write this: He said that "5 Centimeters second was...excellent."

I'm used to MLA style papers though, and since the period isn't in the original quote, it shouldn't be in the quotation mark. Thus:

He said that "5 Centimeters Per Second was...excellent".


staring at the clock
Jan 21, 2007
where mise
I don't care how it's supposed to be done, but I'll tell you how I do it.

Punctuation goes inside quotation marks, with a few exceptions. If a sentence ends in a quotation, and the sentence, but not the quotation, requires a ! or ?, the punctuation goes outside the quotation marks. Did you tell John "don't go to the store"? If the question mark were inside the end-quote, how odd it would look, as though "don't go to the store" were a question! That's silly. Whenever I'm directly quoting another source, I keep my own punctuation outside of the quotation marks. I don't like to imply that my punctuation is anyone else's. Jefferson wrote that our Creator has endowed us with rights to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness".

It makes sense to me.

Thorvald of Lym

A Little Sketchy
Nov 21, 2005
A Palace north of Oslo
See Above.

Concisely, if the punctuation is part of the quotation, it is included within the quotation marks. If the punctuation is not part of the quotation or is added by a second or third party, it is left outside the quotation marks.

To my understanding, at least.
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