My favourite news item of the year is the one about a comma. It was all about overtime pay for truck drivers, pay dating back over four years. Big money was at stake – as much as $10 million. Truck drivers and grammar I love it because I have to confess that I’m one of the “grammar police”: very picky about the way words are used and about things like syntax, apostrophes, and for sure – commas. So when I heard that the humble comma, placement of, was the key to a… Read More
Angela’s ABCs: Where do you put punctuation marks when you are using quotation marks? By Angela Caldin
I’ve been wondering for some time whether punctuation marks like full stops, commas and question marks should go inside or outside a closing quotation mark, and getting more and more confused. But now I’ve realised that there’s a reason why I’m so confused. Although both British English and American English follow the same rules up to a point, when it comes to commas and full stops they diverge.
It’s possible that some of us have a vague idea at the back of our brains that you shouldn’t use a comma before and. I know that sometimes this was taught as a punctuation rule in UK schools. But punctuation is intended to make things clear and to be an aid to reading, not a set of hard and fast rules, and should is a word I dislike intensely and try to avoid if I can. There are certainly some situations where a comma before and is preferable and helpful.