Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Grammar Goody #3--It looks wrong, but it's right

I usually like to insist that most grammar and punctuation rules make sense, but this one I must admit just plain makes no sense at all. This is one of those things you just have to learn and remember.

Periods and commas go inside the close quotation marks. 

So, instead of
"Stop", he said as he went about his business  (which looks right)

It must be

"Stop," he said as he went about his business. 

AND

According to Jon Stewart, "this rally to restore sanity will be huge." [period, then close quotation mark]

3 comments:

Megan said...

I'm just curious, what about a citation? "stop." (wittern-Kller 23), or "stop" (Wittern-Keller 23). This always confuses me.

Laura Wittern said...

That's a great question, Megan. What you're describing here is MLA style of citation (which historians don't use). However, I believe I'm correct in telling you that the correct version is the one you have above second. The period to the entire sentence goes after the close quotation marks.

Laura Wittern said...

Now I just realized that my original answer above was not clear. The period in MLA style goes after the close parenthesis, as Megan had it in her second example. (I had written after the close quotation marks, but I meant to write after the close parenthesis.) Sorry for my lack of clarity.