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I'm working on a style sheet for a series of publications, and am wondering about what's a good rule to set for punctuation and quotation marks.

CMOS says that the final period of a quote may be omitted or changed to a comma.

My own prejudice is to keep an ending period of the quote if it is a full sentence unless the overall sentence requires something different.

e.g. She orders me around, saying things like "Take out the trash." and "Do the dishes." without any concern the fact that I'm actually working when she tells me to do these things.

e.g. However, if someone does something bad, and I think, “He’s a bad person,” it becomes much harder for him to improve.

Does this seem like a workable standard?

Cheers, Wes

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    Style is one thing; easy of reading is another. A period within the body of a sentence is jarring, and I find myself having to re-read the passage to check whether there's a typo in not capitalising the following word. A comma or semi-colon would avoid this. – Chappo Says SE Dudded Monica Sep 9 '18 at 1:55
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You are free to do whatever you like, but I know of no style guide or grammarian that would recommend such punctuation. If you presented it to any editor, you would find it corrected.

A possible way around it that could be somewhat acceptable is to remove the quotation marks and put each quoted sentence in italics. If you're not reporting actual dialogue, that's one way of referring to what's said while still setting it apart from the running text.

However, since you're not obviously reporting dialogue, whether you use quotation marks or italics, it would be more common to have everything in lowercase and without periods:

She orders me around, saying things like "take out the trash" and "do the dishes" without any concern to the fact that I'm actually working when she tells me to do these things.

She orders me around, saying things like take out the trash and do the dishes without any concern to the fact that I'm actually working when she tells me to do these things.

Using speech fragments—changing the sentences into phrases—avoids the punctuation issue altogether.

  • Thanks for that, Jason. It helps clarify things a lot. In a case where I was reporting full sentence dialogue, would the first letter be capitalized, but period dropped? It's translation from Korean to English, so I've got some constraints there. – Wes Thorpe Sep 9 '18 at 12:12
  • If it's full-sentence dialogue, the final period is normally dropped if the sentence continues past the last quotation mark. I thought and then said, "Also, when introducing actual dialogue, you put a simple dialogue tag like said and a comma before the first quotation mark and use a capital letter after it." Beth Hill's blog post "Punctuation in Dialogue" might help. – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Sep 9 '18 at 14:31

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