I have a sentence such as the one below, and am unsure as to where the commas should go.

I, John Doe, the man feared as "the tyrant," guarantee it.

In particular, I'm wondering about the comma after tyrant. That should go inside the quotations, right?

  • It's a question of style, not language. One needs to follow the applicable style manual/ style guide. This is a question that has been asked and answered earlier on these pages. – Kris Jan 23 '14 at 6:35
  • @Kris: if you have a link to the other question, provide it so this one can be closed as a duplicate. – DougM Jan 23 '14 at 18:53
  • @DougM Please see the table at the right hand side of this page, titled RELATED -- that should be a good start. (I can count at least four possible duplicates). – Kris Jan 24 '14 at 6:16
  • On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday it goes inside, on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday it goes outside. On Sunday tyrants take the day off. – Hot Licks Aug 19 '15 at 2:35

Traditionally, punctuation always goes within quotation marks in the United States. Not all English-writing nations follow this custom, however. It's perfectly acceptable in the United Kingdom to place the comma outside of the quotation mark. The Capital City College in Hartford, CT has more information if you're interested.

Of course, in this age of the internet there's a lot more drift in standards and custom. Whether or not you place the comma as "the tyrant," or "the tyrant", is a matter of house style akin to how many spaces after a period.

As for the punctuation in the sentence as a whole, the four-clause structure is itself rather wordy and ponderous. You may want to revise if that's not the feel you're going for, although your placement of commas is correct and proper with the wording as presented.

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