My understanding is that rules governing punctuation and quotation marks are partly governed by what country you're writing in. For example, in American English, we always place periods inside quotation marks. However, is this still true when the quotation marks only include one word at the end of a sentence? Is the following example correct?

It's an oil-extraction method known as "fracking."

It feels off to me but if periods must always go inside quotation marks my guess is that it's correct.

  • 1
    The "rules" are nowhere near that rigid. Basically, if the quoted material is, itself, a more-or-less complete sentence then common practice for about 80% of the literate population is to place the period inside the quote (vs being painfully literal and having two periods). For single words common practice would be to put the period outside the quotes. But a substantial minority of educated writers use other "rules".
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Oct 5, 2018 at 2:26
  • My question wasn't about commas and quotation marks. It was about placing the period within quotation marks even if the quotation marks surround only one word at the end of a sentence.
    – user27343
    Commented Oct 6, 2018 at 1:25
  • Whether one should place commas/full stops before or after the closing quotation marks does not depend on what country one is in, but rather on the style manual adopted by the publication one is writing for. What is informally called the 'American style' of positioning them is, strictly speaking, the style prescribed by the manuals that the majority of the U.S. publishers impose on their authors. Nothing, however, prevents a U.S.-based publisher from adopting a manual with a different (and arguably more sensible) rule on this matter.
    – jsw29
    Commented Oct 6, 2018 at 1:37
  • I was just referring to the fact, that as far as I know, no American manual ever allows for a period outside of quotation marks whereas British ones do.
    – user27343
    Commented Oct 6, 2018 at 2:05
  • 1
    This question really is a duplicate of this one, not the other one.
    – Laurel
    Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 2:11

1 Answer 1


The following rule is taken from "The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation" by Jane Straus, an American writer, judge and grammar guru for the first-ever Grammar Bee held at the California State University, and the founder of GrammarBook.com (I've given all this information to explain why I think we can trust this author's book):


Periods and commas always go inside quotation marks, even inside single quotes:

She said, "Hurry up."

The sign changed from "Walk," to "Don't Walk," to "Walk" again within 30 seconds.

So, the punctuation in your sentence about fracking is correct.

I'm not saying you can never see a period outside quotation marks. As a matter of fact, you are likely to. But it doesn't mean that it's correct.

  • 1
    What makes Jane Straus an authority on the matter? Generally in English (AmE and BrE), the period or comma goes inside the quotes if the quote is a sentence like, "This is a quote," and outside if the quote is a phrase that occurs at the end of a clause "like this".
    – R Mac
    Commented Oct 5, 2018 at 2:40
  • @RMac thank you for your comment. I've edited my answer.
    – Enguroo
    Commented Oct 5, 2018 at 2:53
  • Thank you for answering my question. R Mac - My understanding is that periods must always go inside quotation marks. However, question marks can go inside or outside depending on the context.
    – user27343
    Commented Oct 5, 2018 at 2:56
  • @user27343 thank you for the question. Speaking of question marks, if a question is in quotation marks, the question mark should be placed inside the quotation marks: She asked, "Will you be my friend?" BUT Do you agree with the saying, "All''s fair in love and war"?
    – Enguroo
    Commented Oct 5, 2018 at 3:01
  • @user27343 by the way, when you have a question outside quoted material AND inside quoted material, use only 1 question mark and place it inside the quotation mark: Did she say, "May I go?"
    – Enguroo
    Commented Oct 5, 2018 at 3:05

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