...[an] Extended Project titled ‘Is the Internet or the Supermarket affecting the UK High Street the most?’. [full stop/punctuation]


Hi everyone, hope you can help!

This is the sentence,

This research into the recession helped me in writing a 5000-word Extended Project titled ‘Is the Internet or the Supermarket affecting the UK High Street the most?’. The essay allowed........ Now I don't see why I don't need the full stop but Microsoft Word is telling me it shouldn't be there.

Who's right?

  • PaulQ

    English - England
    If you removed the optional single quotatio marks, then is certainly should not be there. The quotation marks are merely there to help the reader. The reader is not helped by another 'end of sentence' punctuation mark. Leave it out.


    English - England
    I am reconsidering your question. I think I was wrong at first. The title is, ‘Is the Internet or the Supermarket affecting the UK High Street the most?’, The question mark is part of the title, and I am happy to put a comma after it (as I did!)

    Why then should I not put a full-stop after it? Is seems to me that the quotation marks separate the title from the rest of the sentence completely, and the full title, including punctuation marks need to be shown, e.g. there might be 2 books, "English Grammar" and "English Grammar?" or what if I wrote a book, "PaulQ on the use of ?"?

    In short, I think your teacher is correct. and both the question mark and the full-stop are required.


    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Most publishers don't like the question mark and full stop occurring together. Both are considered terminal punctuation and they usually do not occur together.

    • The questions are 'Who am I?' and 'What am I?'
    Combining a question mark and a comma is fine in certain circumstances, because the comma does not constitute terminal puncutation.
    • I asked him 'What are you doing?', and he didn't answer me.


    American English
    American and British English differ on the placement of punctuation marks in relation to quotation marks or inverted commas, but I don't think they differ in not permitting multiple punctuation marks. (Parentheses, and dashes used in pairs, don't count as punctuation for this purpose.) Mr. Q should argue with writers of style guides, not suggest that what he considers "logical" should be done on their own by learners of English.

    For American English, The Chicago Manual of Style (13th ed., 1982, which I have on my shelf), widely used by U.S. academic publishers, says of multiple punctuation marks:

    The use of more than one mark of punctuation at the same location in a sentence (multiple punctuation) is, for the most part, limited to instances involving quotation marks, parentheses, brackets, or dashes [cross-ref. deleted]. An abbreviating period, however, is never omitted before a mark of sentence punctuation unless the latter is the period terminating the sentence: [examples omitted]

    When two different marks of punctuation are called for at the same location in a sentence, the stronger mark only is retained.​
    Who shouted, "Up the establishment!"
    "Have you read the platform?" asked Williams in distress.

    Since we've had this argument in other recent threads, it would be useful if one of our British correspondents could cite an actual widely-used British style manual.
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