Friday, August 19, 2011

Punctuation with Quotation Marks

Uh-oh. Nothing ready for this week, but since I'm working on edits for my new novel, and this is today's subject, I thought I might as well post this.

Fire has been on my mind because I just finished listening to Nora Roberts's Chasing Fire, a terrific book. The reader, Rebecca Lowman, was outstanding and added to it. The descriptions of the fire took your breath. I really, really enjoyed it.

So, back to quotation marks and punctuation.

Periods and commas always go inside the closing quotation mark.  Placement of question marks and exclamation points depends on the context. Colons and semicolons always go outside the closing quotation marks.

Luke burst into the meeting. “Who yelled ‘Fire’?”

David said, “Voting is responsibility as well as a right.”

After the introduction, the speaker said, “We are here to support our leader”; but the audience booed him off the stage.

Another example:
I question the use of the word “tortured”; you may have a tortured soul or a tortured expression, but as an adjective, the word means “anguished,” not brutalized or subjected to torture.


Maryn Sinclair said...

After reading your helpful posts, I always go back through my manuscript. Thanks again for another needed lesson.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

As a former English teacher who taught writing courses both at the high school and college level, I do a lot of self-editing. I'm very particular about grammar, spelling and correct use of language. Still, even with the input of my professional editors, the novels always have some small errors when published. This just shows we are all mortals and fallible.


Jacqueline Seewald
THE TRUTH SLEUTH--request it at your local library!

Ellis Vidler said...

Jacqueline, I don't think I've ever read a perfect book. Something always slips through, whether it's mine or someone else's. The big publishing houses are no exception. We just have to do our best with the ones we have some control over.

Ellis Vidler said...

Maryn, I'm doing these edits for my editor at Echelon Press, and they do make me think. I've been over it more times than I can count, but I always find something else.