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
    Commented Aug 8, 2015 at 8:19
  • You cannot say "punctuations" or "a punctuation" in English. It is not a count noun.
    – tchrist
    Commented Aug 8, 2015 at 11:28
  • 1
    @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. Commented Aug 8, 2015 at 12:30

2 Answers 2


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.


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?"? Commented Aug 8, 2015 at 12:31
  • These would appear to be of equal strength. Take your pick, but you only get one question mark.
    – deadrat
    Commented Aug 8, 2015 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
    Commented Aug 9, 2015 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
    Commented Aug 9, 2015 at 5:09

Where the quote is just a single sentence (or less), then I close the quote before adding the full stop. But where there are multiple full stops within the quote, then I put the last one within the quotation. Am I correct in this?

  • 1
    Please don't post new questions as answers to other questions. The SE format is not suited to having multiple questions in the same thread. You can use the "Ask Question" button on the homepage to create a new question and you can link to this question for context. Commented Nov 23, 2023 at 8:30

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