In the article by Anthoney McCartney on Yahoo! News (http://news.yahoo.com/man-arrested-red-carpet-says-never-hit-pitt-172635914.html):

Don't get offended at me. Don't get mad at me. And just to be thankful that I show it's easy to get access to you and maybe you have to tighten security," Sediuk said. He said celebrities should be cautious when talking to fans. "Obviously, I don't want to say, 'Don't talk to fans.' But (be) cautious.

Looking at the last sentence, is the period within the second quotes technically correct within the quotes outside? Or, is the last sentence technically correct? I've always held that a period does not have to be confined to the end of the sentence but was divided about it. Because the period is the end, is it not? Now, for the first time ever, I've seen an example in an article I just happened to read, and my age-old doubt just got "re-ignited".

What are your thoughts? Is it acceptable? At least Yahoo! QA seems to think so?

  • 1
    It is perfectly fine — unlike your very own double period, which simply does not exist in English (or any language, for that matter). If you mean a period, use a period. If you mean an ellipsis, use three. Two are not an option.
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Jun 3, 2014 at 19:58
  • Obviously related: english.stackexchange.com/questions/1560/…
    – MrHen
    Commented Jun 25, 2014 at 18:04
  • thanks man :) I'd appreciate an example(s) if you will.. cheers! Commented Jun 30, 2014 at 19:05

2 Answers 2


It looks like your blockquote should have a close quote mark at the end of it, so I'll assume that's the case.

In this use, the quote from Mr. Sediuk is two sentences. The first one includes a nested statement that gramatically is itself a quote -- he's clarifying that "Don't talk to fans" is not what he's trying to say. Since that statement is a full sentence, and is placed at the end of the sentence he was speaking (that started with "Obviously"), a period at the end is appropriate. The period's placement within the single quote is correct given that Yahoo is edited to standard American English.

The alternating of single and double quotes for nested quotations is the established way of dealing with quotes within quotes (e.g., Chicago 15th ed, 11.33 and the AP Stylebook). For extreme examples, you might look at some of the prophetic books of the Bible (like Jeremiah ch. 2), which can go three or four sets deep.


The last sentence in the quote you referenced is punctuated incorrectly. It should read, "Obviously, I don't want to say, 'Don't talk to fans,' but (be) cautious." However, the punctuation is the least of the grammatical problems with that quote. It would have been better to say "Obviously, I don't want to say, 'Don't talk to fans.' You need to be cautious."

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.