Group A:

  1. This is so-called "Moon Cake." // The period is inside the double quatation marks

  2. This is so-called "Moon Cake". // The period is outside the double quatation marks

I know the former is more standard-conforming in most publications; however, I think the latter is more intuitive and meaningful. Because the period is used to stop the whole sentence, rather than stop the phrase itself. I think the former is counter-intuitive, although the usage is standard-conforming.

Please consider another two sentences:

Group B:

  1. She said: "I don't know."

  2. She said: "I don't know".

It is obvious that the former is more meaningful than the latter, because the period is used to stop the whole sentence, and the double quatation marks are used as a quatation. This time, it is standard-conforming and intuitive.

What's your opinion?

  • This question is a really good question for English Language Learners, but it's not a particularly good question for English Language and Usage. – Matt Sep 18 '13 at 1:40
  • @Matt why? This is a BrE vs AmE thing. – terdon Sep 18 '13 at 1:46
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    @terdon: Because the ELU answer is "You can use either, it doesn't really matter. If you prefer the former, use that. And besides, there is no such thing as 'correct' in English." ELL will give a more concrete (and for the questioner in this case, probably more useful) answer which shows how to write good English for communicating in a clear way to other speakers of English (including BrE and AmE speakers) in an everyday setting. – Matt Sep 18 '13 at 1:56

You can use either, they're both correct, just choose one and stick to it. As long as your style is consistent, both versions are fine. This is one of the differences between American and British punctuation styles.

Americans tend to place punctuation within the quotation marks while the British tend to place it outside them. For example:

  • British style

    "Yes," she said, "I would love some tea."

  • American style

    "Yes", she said, "I would love some tea".

It is largely a personal choice though and different style guides have different opinions. For some more information on this and other differences between BrE and Ame punctuation styles see the links below:

| improve this answer | |
  • The Wikipedia article, though containing excellent material, is erroneous in its blanket statement (inadequately qualified): British English (BrE) is the form of English used in the United Kingdom. In fact, the terms BrE and AmE are inaccurate labels, as adherence to the conventions meant by the terms is neither mandatory nor universal in either region. As indicated by your 'It is largely a personal choice though and different style guides have different opinions.'. (Thought I'd throw in a little double punctuation as I'm in a logical mood.) – Edwin Ashworth Sep 18 '13 at 7:50
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    I think this is backwards: “The British tend to place punctuation within the quotation marks while the Americans tend to place it outside them.” – Bradd Szonye Sep 18 '13 at 10:24
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    Well this Brit was taught what is commonly thought to be the American style. The truth is that neither form is one or the other. – Andrew Leach Sep 18 '13 at 10:36
  • Your claim British tend to place punctuation within the quotation marks... counters your examples. And to avoid confusion, no quotation marks! =D – James Webster Sep 18 '13 at 10:45
  • I tend to agree with @BraddSzonye. I was taught to place my punctuation marks within a set of quotation marks. If I read a section of text with punctuation placed outside the quotation marks, it looks wrong - still readable, but wrong - to me. – Jamie Taylor Sep 18 '13 at 11:16

If the punctuation is part of the quote it should go inside the quotation marks with the portion of text it is punctuating.

She said "I hate aliens."

If the punctuation is your own, part of your text, it should go outside the quotation marks with your text that it is punctuating.

I have read "Great Expectations".

Though this is often framed as a BE -v- AE thing it is more complex than that. If you follow the MLA style guide, for example, it uses the so-called 'British' style.

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  • While there are good reason to use logical quotes over typographer's quotes, I think a good answer for ELU needs to discuss why, and not simply recommend one over the other. – Bradd Szonye Sep 18 '13 at 10:29
  • You skip the questions of the acceptableness of 'double punctuation' (I'm quite happy with: << Bert asked Bob "Did she ask 'Why have you taken your coat off?'?" >> , though I admit that << She said "I hate aliens.". >> is unwieldy) and the difference between reported speech and other quotes (would you have: << On the placard, she wrote "I hate aliens". >>?) [Apologies for the chevrons - I'd rather use separate lines, but that option isn't available in 'comments'.] – Edwin Ashworth Sep 18 '13 at 14:30

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