When using various marks of punctuation with quoted words, phrases, or sentences, follow the conventions of American printers:
- Place the period and the comma within the quotation marks:
a) “Kristen,” he said, “would you like to have lunch tomorrow?”
b) She replied, “Okay, but first I have to finish reading the story, ‘The Farmer’s Daughter,’ for my lit class.” (Note whenever something is quoted within a quote, one uses single quotation marks)
- Place a colon and semicolon outside quotation marks:
Professor Dahl spoke about “the protagonists”; but I recalled only one in “The Tale-Tell Heart”: the murderer.
3. Place the quotation mark, the exclamation point, and the dash within the quotation marks when they apply only to the quoted material. Place them outside when they do not apply.
Within the quotation marks:
a) Pilate said, “What is truth?”
b) Jeremy replied, “No way!”
c) “Achievement—success!—,” states Heather Evans, “has become a national obsession.”
d) Why do children keep asking “Why?” (for a question within a question, use one question mark inside the quotation marks)
Outside the quotation marks:
a) What is the meaning of the term “half-truth”?
b) Stop whistling “All I Do is Dream of You”!
c) The boss exclaimed, “No one should work for the profit motive!”—no exceptions, I suppose.
Harbrace College Handbook (2000); New York; Harcourt Brace