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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Quotation Marks Pairing with Other Punctuation. Duhh.

There seems to be another confusing trend afoot. Don't worry. I'm not going to nag you about their using italics for internal thought. I gave you the whys and wherefores in The Frugal Editor-- -- and mentioned it several times since then. Enough is enough already!
This is a punctuation fiasco that aims at taking one of America's simplest punctuation rules (style choices) and making pudding of them. You're sure to see folks putting a period or a comma after a closing quotation mark if you haven't seen it already.
June Casagrande, author of Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies ( ) urges you not to be taken in by it.  I think the trend may be picking up steam with more and more people reading books published in the UK or by UK authors. We, unfortunately, think that what they do has to be more correct--or classier--than what we do. After all, they do have a few hundred years on us in terms of the European aspect of our culture.
But our most prestigious publishers have for years followed the general guideline of putting your punctuation (except for colons and semicolons) inside the closing quotation marks. Let's band together and foil the grammar conspirators (or snobs!).
What is right for the English may only be ostentatious for Americans. Our punctuation is supposed to be a reading aid, not stick out like a hammered thumb.
Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults. and speaks on issues of publishing. Find her The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success (How To Do It Frugally series of book for writers). Learn more about her other authors' aids at , where writers will find lists and other helps including Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips on the Resources for Writers page. She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at her Sharing with Writers blog. She tweets writers' resources at .

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