Mon 5 Jun, 2006 04:49 am
If the quoted words end with a full stop, then the full stop goes inside the quotation marks. If the quoted words do not end with a full stop, then the full stop goes outside the quotation marks:
He said: "I love you."
She has read "War and Peace".
Note that in US English, the full stop usually goes inside the quotation marks in all cases:
He said: "I love you."
She has read "War and Peace."
However, US English adopts the British style for question marks and exclamation marks:
He said: "Do you love me?"
Have you read "War and Peace"?
Can you imagine? He has never read "War and Peace"!
What I was always taught is that it depends on whether what's in the quotation marks is a full thought or not. That is, treat it like a sentence within a sentence. The titles of books, even if they are technically enough to be a full sentence, aren't full sentences, so you'd always put punctuation outside the quotes (actually, book titles don't even go in quotes, they are either underlined or italicized; article titles can go in quotes or be italicized). Hence if a book was titled something like, I dunno, "My dog is a terrier", well, technically those words together are a sentence, but it's a title, so the punctuation still goes outside of the quotes, e. g. I just read a new book, "My dog is a terrier". Of course if the title has punctuation in it, that punctuation stays, and does not affect the punctuation that goes on outside of the title, e. g. I just read a new book, "My dog is a terrier!".
Essentially, titles are their own entities. You don't change them just because you need punctuation in a sentence. Instead, you put the punctuation outside of the title so as not to disturb it. A quotation is different and in that case I've seen a few different things. I've always heard to do both, to add internal punctuation if it's a full sentence that's been uttered, and a bit of punctuation outside it for the entire sentence, e. g. She said "I love you.". but that may very well be wrong (I've also seen She said "I love you.") and someone who is more of an authority will, I am sure, correct me.
There seems to be different conventions between American and British usage. A while back, there was a thread on the comma (similar usage as the period), which contained a link to another thread:
You might discover your answer here.
Thanks for your help!!!
(This applies specifically to US English.)
Sometimes called a "full stop," the period is most commonly used to mark the end of a sentence. Just make sure before you place the period that the words form a complete grammatical sentence, or else you will be creating a sentence fragment (see Chapter 35).
If the sentence ends with a quotation mark, place the period inside the quotation mark (see also 55e):
One commentator said that "rainforest destruction, overpopulation, and the global arms trade are problems for the entire world."
If the sentence ends with a paranthesis, place the period outside the parenthesis unless the entire sentence is a parenthetical comment (see also 56a-56c):
Mexicans voted Sunday in elections that could weaken the power of the world's longest ruling political party, The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).
If the quotation is a question and it is at the end of the sentence, put the question mark inside the quotation marks.
The police officer asked me, "Do you live here?"
If the quotation is a statement embedded within a question and it comes at the end of the sentence, put the question mark outside the quotation marks.
Who said, "Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it"?
Pages 837-840 of "The New Century Handbook: Third Edition" by Christine A. Hult and Thomas N. Huckin.