comma after question mark (title, quotation): article "What is art?",

Discussion in 'English Only' started by skarface, Jan 5, 2011.

  1. skarface Banned

    According to Michael Davidson's article "What is art?", art is like a quiet pond.

    According to Michael Davidson's article "What is art?" art is like a quiet pond.

    The article's title ends with a question mark; should there be a comma after a quotation mark or not? What is grammatically correct?

    Please help me if you know. Thank you very much in advance.
  2. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
  3. Julieta T Member

    Well, according to my Grammar teacher you must never write 3 punctuation marks together. But the comma there makes sense. You can write the article title in italics and it saves you plenty of headaches
  4. Julieta T Member

    By the way:

    Note that quotation marks are closed after the whole speech and not after each sentence. All punctuation marks may be used inside quotation marks.
    a. If a whole sentence of direct speech ends with quotation marks these must come after the full stop, question mark or exclamation mark.
    “We shall come back at 7 o’clock, when your husband is at home.”
    b. If the quotation is less than a complete sentence, the closing quotation marks precede the final punctuation.
    The performance, he complained sharply, had been ‘little short of a fiasco’.
    c. If more than one paragraph is quoted, write an opening quotation mark at the beginning of each paragraph. Write a closing quotation mark only at the end of the whole speech.
    “I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.
    “Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.
    “But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination.”

    Your case would be b.
  5. skarface Banned

    It is quite confusing for me; "What is art?" is indeed a complete sentence. How should I rewrite it to circumvent this problem?
  6. Julieta T Member

    Sorry, you are right. The thing is that the title is part of a larger sentence, and the comma does not belong to it but to the sentence. That is explained in another part of the book I've taken the rule I wrote before from: GORDON IAN, Practical Punctuation, Oxford, Heinemann Educational Publishers, 1978.
    I would recommend you to write the title in italics, in that way you can use the comma after it and avoid the problem of having too many punctuation marks.
  7. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    There are several good online punctuation guides that would help with this.
    From the sticky thread at the top of this forum:
    UK English, University of Sussex:

    US English, Capital Community College Foundation:

    US English, the Owl at Purdue University:

    US Government Printing Office:
    Start at and search for punctuation.

    The most feared punctuation on earth, by The Oatmeal:
    How to use a semi-colon.
  8. Fabulist Banned

    Annandale, Virginia, USA
    American English
    I believe that Julietta (post #4) is summarizing British style. Standard US practice differs in some particulars, especially in always placing commas and periods (we do not have "full stops" in the US) inside quotation marks, regardless of whether they are part of the matter quoted. This ought to be covered in more detail in the US style guides referred to by panjandrum.
  9. As Fabulist says, US usage would place the comma inside the quotation mark. (I must say that I prefer British usage in this regard and occasionally give in to the temptation to use it.) Anyway, wherever you place it, you need a comma after such a long introductory participial phrase; the presence of punctuation within the phrase doesn't change the need for a comma.
  10. Parla Senior Member

    New York City
    English - US
    In my opinion, Edgy's conclusion (post #9) is exactly right in every particular.

Share This Page