Excerpt from Success, Your Path to a Successful Book
by Maralyn D. Hill and Brenda C. Hill
Punctuation marks and closing quotation marks deserve to be quoted from The Writer’s Digest Grammar Desk Reference:
- Typographical convention in the United States requires that periods and commas always be inserted before the closing quotation marks–regardless of whether a direct quotation consists of an entire sentence, a phrase, or a single word. This convention, however, is widely violated.
- Semicolons and colons are always inserted after the closing quotation marks.
- A dash is inserted before the closing quotation mark if the dash signals to the reader that the speaker has not finished his or her statement.
- A dash follows the closing quotation mark when the dash belongs not to the quotation but to the sentence hosting the quotation.
- A question mark or an exclamation point is inserted before the closing quotation mark if the quotation itself is a question or an exclamatory statement.
- A question mark or an exclamation point is inserted after the closing quotation mark, however, if the entire sentence (of which the direct quotation is only a part) is a question or an exclamatory statement.
The above reference book gives examples with each rule. It is a good investment and reasonably priced. Even with things we know, we frequently double check to reassure ourselves. That seems easy enough. But when researching online, we discovered that the English do it differently.