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Should punctation go outside the quotation marks? “No.”

Writing at Slate, Ben Yagoda observes a shift in how people punctuate sentences: “[W]ith increasing frequency, commas and periods find themselves on the outside of quotation marks.” This shift toward British-style punctation “simply makes more sense,” he writes.

I think Yagoda makes a good case that this shift is happening, but not that it should happen. Rules of language are arbitrary, not logical. This forced structure helps us all communicate in a standard way. On this point, there’s widespread concensus that punctuation ought to be inside the quote marks in American English. Nothing terrible will happen if you break this rule—you’ll just be wrong. Read more at Slate.


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