English is a funny language, as so many of us have proven in our writing. And it changes from country to country: Punctuation rules, spelling, and usage are all different depending on where we live and which version of English we (choose to) follow.
I am an American, so I (mostly) follow our punctuation system, including how to handle quotation marks. Does our system make sense? No, not when we’re using quotation marks with commas and periods, and especially not when quoting a single word at the end of a sentence.
But. It’s the American rule, and I think it’s important to know — just in case.
- Periods and commas ALWAYS go before / inside / in front of final quotation marks, even if we’re quoting the last word(s) in a sentence.
“I made the phone call,” said Linda.
Victor called Jack a “nerd.”
- We do not use single quotation marks by themselves; we use them only inside doubles. Be sure put a space between the single quotation mark at the end and the double quotation mark.
Jack said, “I think Fred’s a ‘nerd.’ “
So, if you’re following the American system, perhaps this post will give you a little more knowledge of a rule that is pretty different from what you might have expected.