I was wondering if the following sentence is written correct for an essay:

From 1607 to 1700, according to Eric Foner in his book Give Me Liberty!, over half a million people migrated to America from England.

The title of the book I am referencing is Give Me Liberty! with an exclamation mark in the title. Is the comma following the exclamation mark correct? Any other suggestions?

Thanks, Nick

  • 1
    In the States, double punctuation is usually frowned upon (you'd drop the comma); in the UK, 'rules' are a lot less restrictive. This would seem more logical: why should an accident of juxtaposition prevent the use of what would normally be seen as sensible/helpful usage? ['Have you read Give Me Liberty!?'] But you should have an in-house style guide to follow. Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 1:10
  • 2
    Your answer is disingenuous. It violates the Gricean maxim of quality, being that you have neglected to provide evidence for your claims. There are no rules "in the States" regarding double punctuation that would disallow use of a comma after an exclamation point. In this case, American rules follow that of UK rules.
    – Nick
    Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 1:30
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    I think the exclamation mark being part of the title (and italicized to boot) trumps any rule about adjacent punctuation. (Though it's worth considering somehow rewriting the sentence in such a way that the "conflict" does not occur.)
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 2:27

3 Answers 3


Since "according to Eric Foner in his book Give Me Liberty!" is a distinct clause within the sentence, and given that Give Me Liberty! is the title of a book, it's grammatically correct to enclose the clause within commas. Though it may look awkward, it is perfectly acceptable.


There are a number of movie musicals with exclamation marks in their titles - for example, Oklahoma!, Girls! Girls! Girls!, and Oliver!. You couldn't list these without commas between them (otherwise it would appear as though there were three movies called Girls!), so your use of a comma in the context you describe seems perfectly acceptable.


I would say yes, correct, if that's the literal name of the book.

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