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Dear Grammar freaks

Make yourself useful....

Does the question mark go in or out of the quote?

He's playing "Othello?"


He's playing "Othello"?

by Anonymousreply 7704/04/2013


by Anonymousreply 103/28/2013

[quote]Dear Grammar freaks

[quote]Make yourself useful....

Oh, [italic]dear.[/italic]

by Anonymousreply 203/28/2013

When I don't know a grammar rule, OP, I just put a "smiley face" bug in that area to distract the reader.

It worked at my graduate school, Michigan.

by Anonymousreply 303/28/2013

What if he is in "They Shoot Horses Don't They?"?

I never learned this in school.....I'm suing those bitch middle school teachers.

by Anonymousreply 403/28/2013

I guess that should be yourselves. If not, then I'm lost.

by Anonymousreply 503/28/2013

Titles of plays and films aren't put in quotation marks; they're italicized in print or underlined if you're using a typewriter (or a typewriter font like Courier). Short stories and essays are put in quotation marks. The question mark would lie outside the quotation marks unless the title included a question mark.

by Anonymousreply 603/28/2013

A real grammar freak would point out that in this sentence Othello is the name of the *character* not the play, so it doesn't need quotes at all.

by Anonymousreply 703/28/2013

R6 is generally correct. In situations such as the DL where the application of italics and underscores required arcane knowledge, quotation marks often are used as a proxy when dealing with titles of works. I prefer the style of capitalization of the words of the title as an alternative.

And, yes, the answer is "out." (That's the American way of saying it. It is more common to see the following in the UK:)

And yes, the answer is "out".

by Anonymousreply 803/28/2013

Question marks are good for indicating you're uptalking? They personalize your words for the reader - as if he's actually listening to you in his head?

by Anonymousreply 903/28/2013

And "Sometimes?" When I'm watching [italic]Monster High[/italic] with my nephew? Every phrase, except for the last, ends in a question mark.

by Anonymousreply 1003/28/2013

What is your grammar question? Your question is about punctuation.

by Anonymousreply 1103/28/2013

Ooh, OP got DRAGGED by r11!

by Anonymousreply 1203/28/2013

Ignore the old fashioned people who are a slave to old style manuals... many of the rules were to facilitate typesetting, not to actually make sense.

If the punctuation is part of the quote, it goes inside. If it's not part of the quote, it goes outside. Its' a question of accuracy and avoiding ambiguity.

On a side note, the "oxford comma" is not optional. Anyone who says it is, is wrong. Period.

by Anonymousreply 1303/28/2013

American style is to put the ? inside the quote marks regardless of whether or not the ? is part of what you're quoting.

British style is to put the ? outside of the quote marks.

As a reference please see the book Eats, Shoots and Leaves.

However, the style suggested by [r13] is also valid

It should be apparent that because this issue is addressed in style manuals that there's no truly right or wrong answer. Unless the ? is part of the quote you may put it inside or outside the quote marks, but be consistent.

by Anonymousreply 1403/28/2013

Am I lying down in bed or laying down in bed? When is each used?

by Anonymousreply 1503/28/2013

If it's a waterbed, the answer is 1974.

by Anonymousreply 1603/28/2013

Correct: He's playing "Othello?"

Punctuation marks always go inside the quotation mark.

OP: In other words, the question mark is part of what your asking. Therefore, it goes inside the quotation mark.

And likewise, if you were making a statement: He's playing "Othello." Then the period would also go inside the quotation mark.

by Anonymousreply 1703/28/2013

I don't think there is an accepted "British" rule about this: it depends on the meaning; eg:

Is he playing "Othello"?

No, he's playing "Whose afraid of Virginia Woolf?"

Is he really playing "Whose afraid of Virginia Woolf?"?

by Anonymousreply 1803/28/2013

R18, contrary to popular opinion, most grammarians simply paddle around the question entirely, as in: Is he really in the Woolf play?

by Anonymousreply 1903/28/2013

r13 - Oxford commas are nearly always optional. And always tedious when used unnecessarily.

[quote]No, he's playing "Whose afraid of Virginia Woolf?"

Oh dear.

by Anonymousreply 2003/29/2013

In the sentence you wrote, Othello is the character's name, not the title of the play, so no quotation marks are needed.

by Anonymousreply 2103/29/2013

Punctuations always inside the quote. I have read that the British places it outside. So if you get called out, OP, just say you were educated at an English boarding school.

by Anonymousreply 2203/29/2013

Jesus fucking Christ,

Do any of y'all actually have to write anything? Ever. Aside from pinched ass web posts?

Mark papers, put out correspondence, work in the world of education or the Arts? Do you huh?

Punctuation marks go inside the quotes, no matter what, and inside parenthesis too.

If I am wrong, you better make some modern-times sense argument. I have to quote and reference film and music titles all day in my work. I am not a scholar but a teacher. Of music and voice. I write and communicate. Not perfectly. Don't fuck with folks who sing and make word sing.

Don't get all prissy and particular unless you have something of value to say.

Jesus died for grammar fools like y'all.

by Anonymousreply 2303/29/2013

What about a character in a story, asking a question? Would it be:

Is he going to be in "Othello"?

by Anonymousreply 2403/29/2013

oops, I meant:

"Is he going to be in 'Othello'?"

by Anonymousreply 2503/29/2013

Othello inquired,

"When was the last time you had a dick in your hole?"

The question mark goes inside, just like a cock should.

by Anonymousreply 2603/29/2013

[quote]Punctuation marks always go inside the quotation mark.

No, R17... ONLY if the punctuation is part of the quote.

The reason for the rule you mindlessly regurgitate is due to physical typesetting limitations that made it "easier" to put a period inside a quote than outside it.

It's an arcane, stupid, outdated, obsolete rule, and those who slavishly cling to it in the modern electronic era are Neanderthals.

It's the same reason that we don't have two spaces after a period any more.

The rules are changing. Let go of your old stupid ways and get with the program.

Putting punctuation inside the quotes that is NOT part of the quote is basically LYING. It's misleading, and frequently changes the meaning of what you're reading. It's wrong, and everyone should just stop doing it.

by Anonymousreply 2703/29/2013

[quote]Oxford commas are nearly always optional. And always tedious when used unnecessarily.

No, R20. They're not optional. And they're not tedious... they're logical, rational, and realistic. It's STUPID to leave one out of a series... it makes no sense, and leads to ambiguities. There is no reason for "two rules" here... leave it out except when it's necessary. Just always use it. ALWAYS. It's consistent, reasonable, rational, and right.

See pic:

by Anonymousreply 2803/29/2013

[quote]Punctuation marks go inside the quotes, no matter what, and inside parenthesis too.

No. They. Don't.

Your arbitrary rule is out-dated, and never made any logical sense anyway.

Stop regurgitating stupid arbitrary rules you learned decades ago in school. They no longer apply. They're wrong (always were, actually)... the reasons for those "rules" don't exist any more.

Stop perpetuating stupidity.

by Anonymousreply 2903/29/2013

R 23, you are dead wrong.Punctuation marks do NOT always go inside the final quotation mark. If, what is contained within the quote is a question, the mark goes inside the final mark. If it is not itself a question, but is part of a larger question, then the mark goes outside the final quote. "Are you going to the movies?" Did he say," Never"? Periods and commas go inside, colons and semi-colons go outside. Hope you're a better voice teacher.

by Anonymousreply 3003/29/2013

R23 the modern and olden day argument is the same. You put only what you are quoting inside the quote marks.

Therefore in this situation the question mark would go outside the quote, and the meaning is unambiguous.

R26 is unhelpful as the question mark is a part of the original quote.

by Anonymousreply 3103/29/2013

R30, periods and commas do NOT always go inside.

by Anonymousreply 3203/29/2013

If you are British, the rules for commas and periods are different. In the US, the marks go inside the final quotation mark.

by Anonymousreply 3303/29/2013

[quote] He's playing "Whose afraid of Virginia Woolf?"

If the rule is that the question mark goes inside the quotation marks either because it's part of the quote or because modern rule allows, would this statement need an additional period after the quotation mark to conclude the statement?

by Anonymousreply 3403/29/2013

[quote]If you are British, the rules for commas and periods are different. In the US, the marks go inside the final quotation mark.

More evidence the rules are arbitrary. The British have it right... the Americans have it wrong, and need to stop perpetuating this wrongness.

Don't be a part of the problem by mindlessly pushing stupidity like this. There's no reason for it. Just stop.

by Anonymousreply 3503/29/2013

Speaking as a Brit, I think

Is he playing "Othello?"

looks bizarre. How would you Yanks cope with

Is she playing "Hello Dolly!"?

Would that be:

Is she playing "Hello Dolly!?"

by Anonymousreply 3603/29/2013


I am duly humiliated :-)


by Anonymousreply 3703/29/2013

r15, objects and animals lay. People lie.

by Anonymousreply 3803/29/2013

Animals lie, not lay, unless they lay eggs. " lay" needs a direct object.

by Anonymousreply 3903/29/2013

I will always use the Oxford comma!

by Anonymousreply 4003/29/2013

Does anyone have a quick and easy rule for the usage of "who" and "whom?"

I was told, if it's a question, answer the question. If it ends with "him" or "her," it's "whom." If it ends with "he" or "she," it's "who." Except I don't know if it always works.

Example: "Who took the last brownie?" HE took the last brownie. So "Who" is correct in this instance.

"Whom do you want to have dinner with?" I want to have dinner with HIM. So "Whom" is correct in this instance.

by Anonymousreply 4103/29/2013

[quote]Do any of y'all actually have to write anything? Ever. Aside from pinched ass web posts? Mark papers, put out correspondence, work in the world of education or the Arts? Do you huh? Punctuation marks go inside the quotes, no matter what, and inside parenthesis too.

I have a part-time second job that does require me to mark papers, as a matter of fact. And while I agree with your statement that, as a rule, punctuation marks should be inside quotation marks, I disagree strongly that they should be "inside parenthesis (sic) too".

Also, you have several incomplete sentences in your post. You're outside the A range right there.

by Anonymousreply 4203/29/2013

[quote]or underlined if you're using a typewriter (or a typewriter font like Courier)

It's 20fucking13. Nobody is using a typewriter, and if you're using a typewriter font, you still italicize titles, not underline them.

by Anonymousreply 4303/29/2013

[quote] I disagree strongly that they should be "inside parenthesis (sic) too".

Wrong, they would also be inside parentheses.

by Anonymousreply 4403/29/2013

R36: [quote]Is she playing "Hello, Dolly!"?

This ^ is correct if you are asking whether she is playing either the Soundtrack or Original Cast Recording of "Hello, Dolly!"

(I took the liberty of adding the comma I'm sure you meant to insert after "Hello.")

What if you are asking, however, whether she is a member of the cast of a production of "Hello, Dolly!"? Then you would want to ask "Is she playing *in* "Hello, Dolly!"? If she is the star, you might ask "Is she playing Dolly?" or "Is she playing Dolly in "Hello, Dolly!"?

God, I hope I got that right.

by Anonymousreply 4503/29/2013

LOL R41 gets all puffed up about his knowledge of English grammar, and then in his puffery ends a sentence with a preposition. I think y'all must have failed yer LSATs.

by Anonymousreply 4603/30/2013

R46, it's perfectly fine to end a sentence with a preposition, as famously pointed out by Winston Churchill... "That is something up with which I shall not put!"

Trying to avoid ending sentences with prepositions can lead to very stilted verbiage.

by Anonymousreply 4703/30/2013

Yeah, we understand that. But HE just fucked up.

by Anonymousreply 4803/30/2013

Lynne Truss' book, Eats, Shoots and Leaves, is such a disappointment.

Should I put the book title in quotes, by the way?

by Anonymousreply 4904/02/2013

This is like Top/Bottom vs Versatiles threads! But without any sexual tension because no one on here ever gets laid.

by Anonymousreply 5004/02/2013

Punctuation marks go inside the quotes.

Simple rule. Pay no attentio to these other incorrect posters.

by Anonymousreply 5104/02/2013

yes and thanks r51.

I was trashed for saying the same thing. You will soon be corrected on a word in your post, in some attempt to discredit you.

I think that using Hello Dolly as an example should automatically disqualify anyone from commenting on modern day language.

Truth is most of us do better than most others.

In person I talk like a thug.

by Anonymousreply 5204/02/2013

Punctuation only goes inside the quotes if it's part of the quotes. Only an idiot or a moron would continue to beat the drum of the outdated and illogical "always put punctuation inside quotes" rule.

Seriously, its' 2013, time to get out of the rules set up in the 1800s by type-setters.

It's a stupid rule, and it needs to die... and thankfully, it IS dying.

Just like the "two spaces after a period" rule is dead and buried now.

by Anonymousreply 5304/02/2013

R53. Punctuation marks go inside the quotes.

Two spaces after a period is alive and well--and correct.

by Anonymousreply 5404/02/2013

The mandate of good manners is to abide some fundamental rules, and more importantly to make others feel comfortable and included.

The mandate of good grammar is to abide some fundamental rules and not to nit pick the fuckin shit out of good peoples's intentions when you can understand them perfectly well.

Two spaces after a period is not only permissible but easier on the eye. Comfortable and accepted.

Punctuation inside quotes is never commented on by professors.

Unless you are a "certain" professor marking papers, or someone's grandmother, it is pedantic and rude to point out ordinary grammatical errors.

by Anonymousreply 5504/02/2013

R55. Rules are rules. While some might be bendable, others are not. Everyone does not win as your comment seems to indicate. Not everyone gets a gold star when you don't follow proper grammar rules. And not everyone is going to feel 'comfortable' as you state when they're wrong.

by Anonymousreply 5604/02/2013


I am Italian, and we put more faith in comfort and intention than the nebulous strictness of prissy Englishmen.

You do not even state the fault of my position. Because it can be challenged only from the tightest ass. I wish you a beautiful day.

by Anonymousreply 5704/02/2013

Given that parentheses and quotation marks are also punctuation marks, I wonder what the absolutists like R23 do when those adjoin.

Overprint them? Put the first quotation tick, then a parenthesis, then the second quotation tic?

Iron-clad rules are just trouble.

by Anonymousreply 5804/02/2013

[quote]Two spaces after a period is alive and well--and correct.

R55, you're flat out wrong there. In the era of modern web publishing, that rule is reversed: Only ONE space after the period is acceptable. (even if you type two, the web protocols will remove the second one anyway). Try it. Look at DL, and see how many consecutive sentences you can find with two spaces after the period.

It was "correct". It is no longer "correct". The same goes for punctuation inside the quotes.

You're living in the past dude. You're a dinosaur. And you're not nearly as "correct" as you think you are.

by Anonymousreply 5904/03/2013

R56 is some sort of extremist authoritarian.

Rules like "punctuation inside the quotes" are just arbitrary and made up, and not "iron-clad" or anything. The rule differs from area to area, language to language, and changes over time.

It must be really tough being you, dude... believing in these non-existing "iron-clad" rules that are constantly trying to shift on you.

Evolve, damn you!

by Anonymousreply 6004/03/2013

It's funny, R59. I have a young friend (literally: I'm one year younger than his father) who's as digitally connected as can be, but even though I've tried (I've edited a lot of his writing) to get him to stop double-spacing after a period, he won't do it.

You'd think I'd be the one holding onto the old way of doing things, but he's the one who can't stop.

Oh, and whoever's holding on to some idea that all punctuation goes inside quotation marks, well, that's true, except when it isn't. And there are quite a few "isn't"s.

by Anonymousreply 6104/03/2013

I can't stop double spacing after periods, without deliberate mental effort each time. It's practically reflex.

I have other weird typing habits from library school where we had to type catalog cards in a strict, uniform way.

by Anonymousreply 6204/03/2013

The reason it's easy for me, R62, even though I'm an elder, is that I didn't learn to type until I was using a computer, so it wasn't a "bad" habit I had to unlearn.

by Anonymousreply 6304/03/2013

[quote]I can't stop double spacing after periods, without deliberate mental effort each time. It's practically reflex.

Same here. I do it all the time. It's such an ingrained habit after all these years, it's hard to stop. But that doesn't change the fact that the "iron-clad rule" has changed.

Of course, most of the time it doesn't matter... because whatever I'm typing into simply strips the extra spaces without me having to think about it. No big deal.

by Anonymousreply 6404/03/2013

How 'bout double- or triple-spacing between [italic]words?[/italic] People at my work do this with their emails (and in our database) all the time and it drives my fucking crazy.

It just looks stupid.

by Anonymousreply 6504/03/2013

That's just [italic]dumb[/italic], R65. I've never heard of that before.

I know a guy who's one of the most verbally articulate people I've ever met, and before he met me, he put a comma at the end of every line of text he typed. He said he had no idea where he learned that, but he believed it to be true. But verbally, the guy is brilliant.

by Anonymousreply 6604/03/2013

The Oxford comma is always optional. The key is to use it consistently if you are going to use it at all.

by Anonymousreply 6704/03/2013

It's never optional. Always use it. Be consistent in using it. It's stupid to leave it out. There's no good reason for leaving it out. And leaving it out can lead to ambiguities. So just always use it.

by Anonymousreply 6804/03/2013

That is absolutely not true, R68.

Again, both forms are correct but the key is to use it consistently.

by Anonymousreply 6904/03/2013

This is the theme song for this thread.

by Anonymousreply 7004/03/2013

In America, it is called the Harvard comma, the Princeton comma, and the Yale comma, if you're talking about what I think you're talking about when you say "the Oxford comma."

by Anonymousreply 7104/03/2013

Fuck off, R71.

by Anonymousreply 7204/03/2013

Do we *use* commas in California, R72?

by Anonymousreply 7304/03/2013

There is no question mark in "Othello". There is a question mark in "They Shoot Horses Don't They?".

That's the difference. That's the reason why He's playing "Othello"? is punctuated with the ? after the ".

by Anonymousreply 7404/03/2013

I always place titles of books, plays, films and magazines in italics. In that case not an issue for me.

by Anonymousreply 7504/03/2013

Just because "web protocols" or whatever don't allow the second space after a sentence-ending period doesn't mean the rule is "dead, dead, dead."

As a reader of printed words on paper, I appreciate that little hint that we're closing one and opening another. I still use it in business letters, still see it in books and magazines, and won't stop using it.

It may die out, but it is not just a vestige of the typescript era; it is a courtesy to the fucking reader. Depending on the quality of the medium, or the quality of the copy, or the quality of the reader's eyesight at the time, the difference between a comma and a period can be difficult to see. The second space between sentences helps.

by Anonymousreply 7604/04/2013

I've never had a problem reading either way, R76, and I'm probably as old as you sound. The double-spaces do look funny to me, though, in typed, pre-publication manuscripts.

by Anonymousreply 7704/04/2013
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