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Semicolons with Quotation Marks

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  Ed Good  —  Grammar Tips
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Semicolon Comes Outside

The semicolon should be placed outside ending quotation marks. When the quoted matter ends with a semicolon, the semicolon in the quotation is dropped:

The agency reviewed those petitions that were "timely"; it ignored those that were late.

The agency approved those agreements "having no significant impact on competition"; it refused to enforce those violating the antitrust laws.


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Next: Chapter 4 - Colon

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1 Comment
  • Arnold Silveri
    Arnold Silveri
    Does the semicolon go inside Quotation marks when listing book titles?
    LikeReply 14 years ago
    • John Conn
      John Conn
      Hi Arnold, good question; there's always some exceptions, huh! From what I have seen, "colons and semicolons always go outside closing quotation marks"; however, it is a more common practice to use italics for book titles, if that can ease the dilemma!

      Hope this helps. Best regards.
      LikeReply 14 years ago
    • Anthony Simard
      Anthony Simard
      John Conn I confirm. Grammarly informs that a colon or a semicolon are outside quotation marks while a period or a comma are inside. Italicising always depends on the methodology you are using. MLA, for instance, would indeed italicise longer works, whereas quotation marks would be used for shorter works. 
      LikeReply4 years ago


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