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For example. If I want to quote a passage from a writing, that says

The cake is not a lie.

and my sentence is:

The book by author states that "The cake is not a lie." however studies show that the cake is a lie.

Is it OK to replace the period with a comma to make the sentence flow?

Relevant: Also what do you do with the capital "T" Are you allowed to lowercase it?

The book by author states "the cake is not a lie," however studies show that the cake is a lie.

I usually just work around this by switching up the structure of the sentence, but sometimes I really want to phrase something a particular way.

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Alas, this is a grammar question, and as such, off topic here. And if I'm already commenting, then YES replacing the period with a comma is correct, and NO the first letter of a quoted sentence should not be lower-cased. Pick up any book or magazine for plenty of examples. –  Standback Sep 20 '11 at 3:04
    
Ah, thank you. I get confused about whether my question is more appropriate for English or Writing I shall be more careful next time. Thanks for the help –  luclabs Sep 20 '11 at 3:14
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No worries :) We're noob-friendly. :P –  Standback Sep 20 '11 at 3:28
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migrated from writers.stackexchange.com Sep 20 '11 at 22:56

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4 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

The best source for such questions is The Chicago Manual of Style. (By "best," I mean that it is most supportive of my existing prejudices.)

15th Edition, Section 11.8 permits these changes (and others) to quotations:

  • The intial letter may be changed to a capital or lowercase letter
  • The final period may be omitted or changed to a comma
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Conservative readers still regard however as an adverb rather than a coordinator, so if you are not to offend them it needs to be preceded by a full stop (or at least a semi-colon). You place the full stop inside the final quotation mark because the full stop is part of the quotation. There is no need for a second full stop. You start the first word of the quotation with a capital letter because that’s what the original does. The passage might then read:

The book by (the?) author states "The cake is not a lie." However, studies show that the cake is a lie.

An alternative would be

The book by (the?) author states "The cake is not a lie", but studies show that the cake is a lie.

In this instance, no full stop is needed after lie.

It is, incidentally, rather a curious thing to say. What on earth does it mean?

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Thank you. Unknown in UK (to me, anyway). –  Barrie England Nov 7 '11 at 19:21
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Speaking as a UK person you can not replace a period with a comma. "The cake is not a lie." is a sentence. A sentence ends with a period. You have a sentence. The end of the sentence is a period. You quote the sentence so you quote the full stop. Suppose the test case was "Is the cake a like?". How would you punctuate that? And why should the rules be different for a period and a question mark?

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I don’t know why the rules (well, conventions) should be different for a period and a question mark, but they are, as @Dale’s CMoS quotation shows. British and American standard styles agree in this respect — see the examples here. –  PLL Sep 21 '11 at 1:12
    
I'll see your wikipedia and raise you Fowler 2nd Edition where the replacing of periods by commas is absent. –  Wudang Sep 21 '11 at 7:12
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The point, I think, is that British punctuation requires a comma outside the quotation marks; if you have that, I see no reason you can't quote the words up to but excluding the full stop. –  TimLymington Oct 25 '11 at 10:36
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I think you can replace the "." with a comma and lower case the "The."

When you quote something, you're taking it out of context. The point of a quote is to reference something, not to be exact in style.

Warning: not an editor so I could be wrong

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