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May 13, 2011


Lisa M. Neal

I still remember one of my writing professors in college saying that periods and commas ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS go inside the quotes. I therefore flinch when I see them used otherwise and I know the writer's first language is American English. I probably need to lighten up. Call it "globalization." But my professor also said to be sure we knew the rules before breaking them. I know the rule, and maybe I need to bend it a bit. I am not, however, ready to start spelling the wheels on my car "tyres," nor write that black is their "colour." :)

Les Blatt

Lisa, I think there are two really good arguments for "logical punctuation" made in the Slate article. First, there's the problem that the comma or period is actually ADDED to the quote when we put it inside - that is, the period or comma is really part of OUR writing, not the quotation. I think that's valid. The second point is the question of accuracy for those who write programs. In just about all program languages, including a stray comma or period inside (or outside!) a quote will be disastrous. As I say, my problem is largely one of habit; as a professional news writer/editor, the location of period and commas was quite thoroughly drilled into me. But, like you, my car has, and will have, a trunk, not a "boot." or "boot", I suppose...

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