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I prefer placing punctuation next to the closing quotation mark like this:
I'm watching "Titanic".

However, when there is already a punctuation within the quote, is it right to add another punctuation after the quote?
Did you say "Hello?"?
No, I didn't say "Hello?".
Then did you say "Hello."?
Yes, I said "Hello.".
A punctuation, before the closing quotation mark, for the quoted sentence. And another one, after the mark, for the main sentence. It might have made sense, if only I have ever seen such usage. (Especially the last one, which contains two full stops. It looks so wrong.)

  • The examples here are very contrived. See english.stackexchange.com/questions/166/… for better examples. It may even provide the answer you're looking for. – Andrew Leach Aug 8 '15 at 8:19
  • You cannot say "punctuations" or "a punctuation" in English. It is not a count noun. – tchrist Aug 8 '15 at 11:28
  • @AndrewLeach - I believe that this is different from the link you give. Here we have a question within a question, e.g. "Did you say, 'What time is it?'?" - I don't see an answer to that on the other question. – chasly from UK Aug 8 '15 at 12:30
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This is a matter of style. Consult your style guide, either the one you've adopted or the one thrust upon you. I use The Chicago Manual of Style:

When two different marks of punctuation are called for at the same location in a sentence, the stronger mark only is retained.

Example:

Who shouted, "Up the establishment!"

The question mark that ordinarily appears at the end of an interrogatory is omitted. I infer from this rule the following:

Who said, "Up the establishment"?

The exception is a period that ends an abbreviation, which is retained thus:

He said, "I don't work for Dewey, Cheatham and Howe, Ltd."!

unless it abuts a period that ends a sentence:

I don't work for Dewey, Cheatham and Howe, Ltd.

  • None of these address the problem of a nested question, e.g. Who said, "What time is it?"? – chasly from UK Aug 8 '15 at 12:31
  • These would appear to be of equal strength. Take your pick, but you only get one question mark. – deadrat Aug 8 '15 at 16:13
  • I see: only the stronger one remains. Then how can I tell which mark is 'stronger' than another? Is there some rules, like "A question mark is stronger than a period"? – Thunderweb Aug 9 '15 at 2:49
  • Question marks and exclamation marks trump periods. You'll have to decide from the context whether a question mark is stronger than an exclamation mark. In the sentence: George said,"Do I kill you or not?" I've decided that George's threat is stronger than my surprise at being threatened. If I write: George said, "Do I kill you or not"! I've decided that George isn't that much of a threat but that I'm astounded that he'd say that. – deadrat Aug 9 '15 at 5:09

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