Using question marks and exclamation points with quotes properly

The proper use of exclamation points and question marks with quotes depends on what you’re writing.

Essentially, you stick to this basic rule: question marks and exclamation points go inside quotation marks if they are a part of the quoted matter. But they go outside the quotation marks when they punctuate the sentence as a whole.

  • Brian asked, “What are we having for dinner?”
  • Who said, “To the victors go the spoils”?
  • Sally screamed, “There’s a bug on my arm!”
  • He honestly felt that his birthday was “just another day”!

What if you’re asking a question, and it includes a quote that is also a question?

For that case, use only one question mark, and place it inside of the quotation marks. For example:

Did you really ask, “Why am I here today?”



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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.
but
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!
Thanks
Andy
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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.
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richardgb Premium
Excellent tutorial Diane.
Thank you
Richard
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DianeK59 Premium Plus
Thank you, Richard!
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YvonneBray Premium
Great tutorial .
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DianeK59 Premium Plus
Thanks, Yvonne!
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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.

Alex
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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! 😎
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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.



Alex
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DianeK59 Premium Plus
That makes sense, Alex. Those slight changes can make a world of difference!
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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.
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DianeK59 Premium Plus
You are welcome!
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