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  1. Junior Member
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    #1

    Comma outside a quotation mark in British English

    Please look at the following example:

    "We don’t want to go on holiday to the same place every year", he said impatiently.

    Could you tell me if I punctuated the sentence correctly (following BrE convention)? Should a comma go outside the quotation mark?

    I often read in books that in British English comma is put outside the quotation mark in a sentence like the above.

    For example, I found the following examples:

    1. "I'll go", she said.
    2. "Come here", he told me.

    What about a sentence like the following?

    Her behaviour was "totally unacceptable", according to Mr Jones.

    Could you tell me what rule I should follow in British English?
    Last edited by Natalee92; 26-Jan-2017 at 10:16.

  2. teechar's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Comma outside a quotation mark in British English

    Quote Originally Posted by Natalee92 View Post
    Please look at the following example:

    "We don’t want to go on holiday to the same place every year", he said impatiently.

    Could you tell me if I punctuated the sentence correctly (following BrE convention)? Should a comma go outside the quotation mark?
    Yes and yes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Natalee92 View Post
    I often read in books that in British English, the comma is put outside the quotation mark in a sentence like the above.

    For example, I found the following examples:

    1. "I'll go", she said.
    2. "Come here", he told me.

    What about a sentence like the following?

    Her behaviour was "totally unacceptable", according to Mr Jones.

    Could you tell me what rule I should follow in British English?
    You don't need the quotes in that sentence because you are clearly attributing the statement to someone (Mr Jones).

  3. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    #3

    Re: Comma outside a quotation mark in British English

    I would only put the punctuation marks outside quotation marks when it belonged to the sentence rather than the quote, which isn't the case for me with direct speech. You example about unacceptable behaviour and Mr Jones is how I would do it.
    Last edited by teechar; 26-Jan-2017 at 15:03. Reason: typo

  4. Junior Member
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    #4

    Re: Comma outside a quotation mark in British English

    Maybe it is not the best example, Let me give you another in which I quote exact words from a book:

    Cognitive Linguistics constitutes "a cluster of many partially overlapping approaches", according to Brown (2003: 23).

    Then it is OK to put the comma outside the quotation?

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    #5

    Re: Comma outside a quotation mark in British English

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but British English places commas outside quotation marks. The Oxford Dictionary, however, suggests that all commas be placed within the inverted commas.

    Personally, I follow the Chicago Manual for most of my writing, so my punctuations for direct speech are usually within quotation marks.

  6. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    #6

    Re: Comma outside a quotation mark in British English

    We can place them inside or outside.

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