I was reading a book where the dialogues of the actors were written in paragraphs. The dialogues, were broken down by the author into pieces of sentences, and between the pieces, the author inserted his thoughts/facts/humour, and then proceeded with the dialogue. For example,

He continued, “Just after the Independence,” and rose from his chair.

Should this have been typed as ”, instead of ,”?

Or take a second example,

He said, “I am a good boy.”

This is how it is generally written. But it seems to me that there should be another fullstop at the end of the sentence to mark the end of He said, “———”. sentence.

How should inverted commas be closed?


1 Answer 1


The Chicago Manual of Style (CMoS, 13th ed.) says in section 5.63:

A direct quotation, maxim, or similar expression should ordinarily be set off from the rest of the sentence by commas:

  • Vera said calmly, "I have no idea what you mean."
  • "The driver refused to enter the bus," retorted Eberly.
  • "I am afraid," said Kroft, "that I can offer no explanation."
  • You know the old saying, Politics makes strange bedfellows.

Your sentence,

  • He said, “I am a good boy.”

is correctly punctuated.

  • Isn’t it, the quotation sentence is still open, without any closing fullstop? Why not this? He said, "I'm a good boy.".
    – Ahmed
    Sep 18, 2019 at 11:27
  • If I punctuate your example like < "The driver refused --- .", retorted Eberly. > this. Isn’t it more logical?
    – Ahmed
    Sep 18, 2019 at 11:32
  • (It should be obvious, but CMoS is an American English standard.)
    – rajah9
    Sep 18, 2019 at 11:35
  • You said, "...the quotation sentence is still open, without any closing fullstop?" The sentence, "I am a good boy" has its full stop. It's placed inside the quotation marks by (AmE) convention.
    – rajah9
    Sep 18, 2019 at 11:39
  • When I read <"The driver refused to enter the bus.", retorted Eberly.> out loud, my voice went to its lowest point after "bus." Then it lifted a little for the last part, as the sentence did not complete. The retort seemed like an incomplete afterthought.
    – rajah9
    Sep 18, 2019 at 11:43

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