Let’s look at some examples of how to properly punctuate these different usages.

Using periods and commas with quotation marks

In American usage, place periods and commas inside of quotation marks. To quote someone’s exact words, begin the quote with open quotation marks, and end the quote with a period or comma and closing quotation marks.

  • The instructor said, “Your assignment was due on Friday.”
  • “I am finally home,” Sally announced as she plopped down on the couch.

It is common to begin quotes with a comma before the opening quotation mark. But, this is not required in all writing styles. As is true with most writing rules, the most important thing is to keep your writing consistent.

For instance, if you’re splitting a quote into two separate parts, you should end the first section with a comma placed inside of the quotes, then begin the second section with another comma inside the quotes:

For example: “The problem is,” Tony said, “that storm is coming in too quickly.”

Note: punctuating British vs. American English

Americans place periods and commas inside the quotation marks, but those in the UK do the opposite. In British English, all punctuation marks should be placed outside of the quotation marks unless the punctuation is a part of the material being quoted.

British English also uses single quotation marks for standard quotes and double quotation marks for quotes within a quote.

However, Americans do the opposite. The double quotation marks are used for standard quotes, while single quotations are used when quoting something within another quote.

For example:

  • American English: “I remember his favorite saying, ‘Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.’”
  • British English: ‘I remember his favorite saying, “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.”’

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AndyN1 Premium
Hi Diane
I use Grammarly and I find it very helpful. As you say you have to check and not always accept the proposed change. One that I find it often gets wrong - for my eyes anyway - it always wants to turn "may" and "be" into "maybe". Obvious examples would be
Maybe we will come tomorrow - I think that is correct.
We may be coming tomorrow. - I think is also correct.
I find it also has trouble when you try to use subjunctive forms. Or maybe I shouldn't be using the subjunctive case at all.
Like you, I find really bad grammar and punctuation to be distracting after a while. Reading aloud is also a good way to catch sloppy writing.
A great lesson!
DianeK59 Premium Plus
Thank you, Andy.
Yes, it is important to verify Grammarly's suggestions, rather than just accepting. But it has a high accuracy rate.
richardgb Premium
Excellent tutorial Diane.
Thank you
DianeK59 Premium Plus
Thank you, Richard!
YvonneBray Premium
Great tutorial .
DianeK59 Premium Plus
Thanks, Yvonne!
Dhind1 Premium
This is excellent, thank you for taking the time to put this together.

I really appreciate anything that will help to improve my grammar skills. I am a native speaker and I know that any help is good for me.

I have spent almost 30 years overseas where I have listened to shortened versions of English as my friends and co-workers struggle to "talk" to me.

I appreciate their efforts as I am sure they appreciate my efforts to communicate in their language. But, over time basic skills become eroded, so a refresher is always welcome.

DianeK59 Premium Plus
Thank you for your comments, Alex. I suppose the overseas conversations might be similar to when I try to speak with the Spanish speakers in our country. My one year of high school Spanish could use a bit of refreshing, too! 😎
Dhind1 Premium
That is it, Diane, I find when speaking Thai that I tend to be very literal, short, and hopefully, to the point.

Nuances of the Thai language get left out as I, either do not understand them, or I cannot get the right tonal inflection.

Also, Thai has some reversal of grammar in the way they say things.

They would say copy one, as opposed to one copy.
My friend you as opposed to your friend.

It can be confusing and as I say, any help to maintain what semblance of skill, with English that I have is appreciated.

DianeK59 Premium Plus
That makes sense, Alex. Those slight changes can make a world of difference!
Kav Premium
I have seen a document explaining this and showing British quoting and using ''', Cambridge Dictionary does not use three but two speech marks.

Thanks for writing about it though.
DianeK59 Premium Plus
You are welcome!