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I know that if Alice talks for more than one paragraph, I should only close the quotation marks at the end of the last paragraph.

"Blah blah blah.

"Blah blah."

I also know that if there's narration at the end of the first paragraph, I close the quotes so it doesn't blend with the quotation.

"Blah blah blah," said Alice.

"Blah blah," she continued.

What do I do if the narration is at the beginning of the second paragraph?

"Blah blah blah.

Alice paused, then continued, "Blah blah."

Should there be a quotation mark at the end of the first paragraph? If there's a rule, I'd like to know it, but if not, I'd appreciate examples in print for precedent.

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The rule is this: only leave the ending quote out if the very next text is also part of the quotation. So your final example should be:

"Blah blah blah."

Alice paused, then continued, "Blah blah."

You can't leave out the quotation mark after the third "blah" because the next word is "Alice," which is not part of the quotation.

As an aside, I find the following is a helpful way to think of it. If it helps you as well, use it; if not, feel free to ignore:

Don't consider which quotation marks to remove. Instead, only think about which quotation marks to add. So, you should add a quotation mark:

  1. at the start of the whole quotation (the word before is not part of the quote)
  2. at the end of the whole quotation (the word after is not part of the quotation)
  3. at the start of each paragraph of the quotation (so, necessarily, the word after the quote is continuing the quoted text)

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