1) Set off explanatory expressions with commas. In this example, attribution (“the mayor said”) is inserted between the dependent clause (“If we …”) and the independent clause, (“we will”)
- “If we can win this election,” the mayor said, “we will change the future of our great city.”
2) Place periods and commas within quotation marks.
- “I don’t like cabbage,” said Peter Rabbit.
- Peter Rabbit said, “I don’t like cabbage.”
3) Place a question mark inside quotation marks if the quotation is a question. But if the quoted material is not a question, put the question mark outside the quotation marks.
- He asked, “Do you like me?”
- How can you support somebody who is said to be “on the wrong side of every issue”?
4) Semicolons are placed outside quotation marks.
- The football coach introduced his starting lineup as follows: “Daffy Duck, a great quarterback”; “Pluto, a heckuva fullback”; and “Goofy, a ferocious tackler. “
5) A colon goes outside the quotation marks unless it is part of the quotation itself.
- The man said, “I have but one hobby: eating.”
- The man called his friend “every bad name in the book”: Slimeball, twit, tiny-brained and nose-wiper were some the most common.
6) Use quotation marks for titles of books, lectures, movies, operas, plays, poems, songs, speeches, television shows and works of art. Do not use these marks for names of magazines, newspapers, references books or the bible.