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I have been looking for the answer to this for some time. I get close, but never find the exact answer (or question for that matter). In the following sentence, should the comma fall after "fairmindedness" and before the quotation mark or after the citation? I should also say I have to use APA formatting for my academic writing.

In my reading, when I came across “fairmindedness” (Paul & Elder, 2012), I automatically thought ‘yes, I am fair-minded.’

OR

In my reading, when I came across “fairmindedness,” (Paul & Elder, 2012) I automatically thought ‘yes, I am fair-minded.’

closed as off-topic by AmE speaker, jimm101, Davo, Skooba, MetaEd Nov 3 '17 at 17:57

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The Purdue Online Writing Lab, which claims to follow APA style, gives this example that seems to match your example (except that it concludes with a period rather than a comma):

Additional Punctuation Rules When Using Quotation Marks

...

Put commas and periods within quotation marks, except when a parenthetical reference follows.

[Relevant example:] Mullen, criticizing the apparent inaction, writes, "Donahue's policy was to do nothing" (24).

It seems clear to me that the same rule would give you this example if the sentence continued after the parenthetical, separated by a comma:

Mullen, criticizing the apparent inaction, writes, "Donahue's policy was to do nothing" (24), though Mullen is rather fuzzy about what affirmative policy would have worked better.

APA itself provides this relevant example from a sample one-experiment paper (in PDF form) linked to its site:

However, despite the preservation of emotion-processing regions with age (or perhaps because of the contrast between the preservation of these regions and age-related declines in cognitive-processing regions; Good et al., 2001; Hedden & Gabrieli, 2004; Ohnishi, Matsuda, Tabira, Asada, & Uno, 2001; Raz, 2000; West, 1996), recent behavioral research has revealed changes that occur with aging in the regulation and processing of emotion.

Note that the comma falls after "1996)" and not after "age" many words earlier.

From these guidelines and examples, it follows that the version of your original sentence that is more in line with APA style is the first of the two you offer above:

In my reading, when I came across “fairmindedness” (Paul & Elder, 2012), I automatically thought ‘yes, I am fair-minded.’

I suspect, though, that APA would also prefer double quotation marks around the phrase "yes, I am fair-minded."

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    Here's an explicit quote from Penn State University Libraries' APA Quick Citation Guide: "In-text references should always precede punctuation marks." – Lawrence Mar 30 '17 at 3:53
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    @Lawrence: Very nice find. Here are two examples from that page: 'Direct quote: (include page number) One study found that “the listener's familiarity with the topic of discourse greatly facilitates the interpretation of the entire message” (Gass & Varonis, 1984, p. 85). [and] Gass and Varonis (1984) found that “the listener’s familiarity with the topic of discourse greatly facilitates the interpretation of the entire message” (p. 85).' – Sven Yargs Mar 30 '17 at 4:04
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Pages 170 and 171 of the APA Style Manual (6th ed.) cover this question. Your first example is the correct one, for two reasons.

  1. Because you need not include punctuation at the end of a quote (i.e., you can decide to end the quotation before the punctuation occurs), you can simply leave out the comma in the original text. Also note that you may need to provide a page number for the quoted text.

  2. You shouldn't use a comma before an opening parenthesis. The Chicago Manual of Style (16th ed., sect 6.96) says

An opening parenthesis should be preceded by a comma or semicolon only in an enumeration; a closing parenthesis should never be preceded by a comma, semicolon, or colon. A question mark, an exclamation point, and closing quotation marks precede a closing parenthesis if they belong to the parenthetical matter; they follow it if they belong to the surrounding sentence.

  • Thank you Rodney. I knew you should not use a colon or semicolon before a closing parenthesis, but I was not aware that the rule included commas. That answers my question. – Alethalweapon Aug 5 '15 at 17:21
  • Well, I can always use an upvote. :) – Rodney Atkins Aug 6 '15 at 17:55
  • I am new to this site. I don't think I have that privilege yet, otherwise I certainly would. – Alethalweapon Aug 10 '15 at 16:55
  • Huh. I thought everybody could vote. – Rodney Atkins Aug 11 '15 at 17:36

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