Punctuation: Quotation in the Middle of a Sentence

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Marrk, May 22, 2009.

  1. Marrk New Member

    English/U.S.
    How do we punctuate a quotation in the middle of a sentence?


    EXAMPLE A

    Option 1:

    Joe said, "I live here" but he really lives down there.

    Option 2:

    Joe said, "I live here," but he really lives down there.

    Option 3:

    Joe said, "I live here." but he really lives down there.

    Option 4:

    Joe said, "I live here.", but he really lives down there.


    How about this one:

    EXAMPLE B

    Option 1:

    Joe said to Harry, "Do you live here?" but Harry lives in Hoboken.

    Option 2:

    Joe said to Harry, "Do you live here?", but Harry lives in Hoboken.
     
  2. bibliolept

    bibliolept Senior Member

    Northern California
    AE, Español
    Please tell us what you think is correct, Marrk.
     
  3. Marrk New Member

    English/U.S.
     
  4. bibliolept

    bibliolept Senior Member

    Northern California
    AE, Español
    I agree with your first decision. I'd punctuate the second in this manner: "Joe said to Harry, 'Do you live here?,' but Harry lives in Hoboken."
     
  5. Marrk New Member

    English/U.S.
    Thanks, bib.

    Does anybody know the _rule_ regarding this? I am teaching a grammar class and, obviously, my students would like me to tell them what the "right answer" is.

    Thanks.
     
  6. johndot Senior Member

    English - England
    Here’s just one of many sites if you search for punctuation dialogue and similar keywords.
    http://www.authorinresidence.ecsd.net/Dialogue%20Punctuation.htm
     
  7. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    The "right answer" depends to some extent on where you are. If you look in the sticky thread at the top of this forum you will find links to punctuation resources:

    Punctuation
    UK English, University of Sussex:
    http://www.informatics.sussex.ac.uk/...on/node00.html

    US English, Capital Community College Foundation:
    http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/marks/marks.htm

    US English, the Owl at Purdue University:
    http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/grammar/

    US Government Printing Office:
    http://www.gpoaccess.gov/stylemanual/2000/chap08.pdf
     
  8. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Marrk: Joe said to Harry, "Do you live here?", but Harry lives in Hoboken.
    Biblio: Joe said to Harry, "Do you live here?," but Harry lives in Hoboken.

    Me, based on the University of Sussex guide:
    Joe said to Harry "Do you live here?", but Harry lives in Hoboken.
    The comma after Harry serves no purpose.
    The comma after the quotation is relevant to the sentence, but is not a part of the quotation, so belongs outside the quotation marks.

    It's just another version.
     
  9. johndot Senior Member

    English - England
    Did no-one look at the link I gave in post #6? I agree it’s not a University Style Guide, but it gives the best rule (as far as I’m concerned), at number 3. I think it’s not only the neatest method, but also the most logical.
     
  10. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Can you apply it and post the result here?
     
  11. johndot Senior Member

    English - England
  12. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
  13. johndot Senior Member

    English - England
    The punctuation rules which I follow are these, because to my mind they’re the neatest. I say ‘rules’—but in fact there aren’t any: every Style Guide is different, and the only considerations (if a writer is not governed by the style that his publisher insists on) are clarity, and ready understanding by the reader. (It’s different of course if you’re trying to appease an academic examiner—but let’s not go into that.) The author of the failed link I sent earlier seemed to share the same ideas, so here’s my take on (part of) what he wrote—and it’s short and simple, so that should endear itself to you:

    If the speaker would have put a ‘vocal comma or full stop’ where quotation marks coincide with it, then the punctuation goes inside; otherwise (but it’s rare) it goes outside. If a pause or stop of any kind appears within the quotation, there is no need to repeat a pause or stop of any kind immediately outside that quotation mark. (The idea of this being that if the reader [perhaps reciting] pauses once inside and again outside the quotes, it would sound odd (at least) to the listener, who of course can’t see the cause for the apparent stutter—the intervening quotation mark.)

    So, in the given sentence:

    Joe said to Harry, "Do you live here?" but Harry lives in Hoboken.

    which is how Marrk had it in the first place!
     

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