Tuesday, July 19, 2005

On Placing Question and Exclamation Marks with Quotations

Logic may dictate that questioning about a question we need two question marks, or when exclaiming about an exclamation we need two exclamation marks. But forget about logic. Here are the rules:

1. Place question marks or exclamation marks outside the quotes when asking a question or exclaiming about a quote that is a statement. Examples:
  • Did you say, "We are leaving at noon"?
  • Stop saying, "We are leaving at noon"!
2. Place question marks or exclamation marks inside the quotes if the quotation itself is a question or an exclamation. Examples:
  • Did you ask, "Where are we going?"
  • Stop screaming, "Wow!"

You should now be clear about the matter. But if you are doubly confused, remember that no one ever promised English to be a perfectly expressed language!