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Wheee! This is my favorite gripe! OK, CMOS (Reference 5.13) describes
the difference between American style and British style when
positioning periods and commas near quotation marks.
Your first example with the period falling inside the marks is the
British style is more exact and places the period outside the marks
(which makes more sense to me personally).
CMOS recommends the British style (along with single quotation marks)
for scientific <read technical> writing and in any instance where
precision is important or where misreading is possible. CMOS states
"...the position of the period is largely irrelevant and may therefore
yield to 'American practice'." With these qualifications, CMOS
continues to recommend the American style for periods and commas. On
the other hand, question marks and exclamation points are placed
within the quotation marks if they pertain to the quoted material. If
they pertain to the surrounding sentence, they fall outside the
quotation marks. Basically, words or phrases under discussion should
be enclosed by single quotation marks. BTW, CMOS has devoted an entire
chapter (Ch. 10) on proper use of quotations.
Essentially all your examples are correct, but I prefer the British
style of positioning periods and commas for technical writing. It
gives me confidence that users will not confuse the punctuation as
something to enter into a field. (And I will continue to argue in its
favor with every English teacher unlucky enough to get my kid in
PS Love that Dopeler Shift! (My husband was a Doppler technician in
the USAF.) Best quote of the day!
Sr. Technical Writer
Microchip Technology, Inc.
______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re: Punctuating parentheses
Author: JohnMethod -at- aol -dot- com at Internet_Exchange
Date: 10/12/1999 1:29 AM
I am fairly literate, but thar's a gap 'twixt my highschool-days learnin' and
tech talk clarity. Since you exhibit significant experience with current
practice, could you (or your CMOS) please advise me on punctuating *quoted*
items (*not* parentheses):
He said, "I am not sure that the below are correct."
Type "Item 1", "Item 2", or "Item 3" in the text control.
Should an item that ends a sentence be punctuated, "Item 4"?
TIA. Trade you that for this definition:
Dopeler Shift - The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come
at you rapidly.