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Chapter 33. Quotation marks and numbers > Using punctuation outside quotation m...

Using punctuation outside quotation marks

There are several instances in which punctuation should go outside quotation marks:

  • Question marks, exclamation points, and dashes go outside quotation marks if the quotation marks are used to call attention to a word or if the punctuation isn’t part of the quoted material.

    In the following example, the quotation marks are being used to emphasize cheapskate: I doubt you like to be referred to as a “cheapskate”!

    In the next example, the question mark isn’t part of the quoted material: Don’t you mean “high” instead of “low”?

    However, in this example, the exclamation point is part of the quoted material: Suddenly – “Fire!” - sounded through the dark.

  • Always place a semicolon or a colon outside of quotation marks. The following example illustrates this rule: The manager of the restaurant receives privileges that are “special”: in other words, he gets free meals.


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