I sometimes see

I said “You are right.”

I don’t know why I don’t need a period after ”, but I know it’s grammatically correct.
Then how about these

You wrote “right”.
You wrote “right?”.

Are they correct?
Or should I put the period before ” ?
Or I don’t need a period?

  • 2
    I don't really understand what this question is getting at, but you should perhaps note that Americans usually include the "sentence-ending" period within the quoted text (before the closing quote mark). British writers don't use this orthography unless the quoted text ends with a "period-substituting" exclamation or question mark (in which case most British writers don't include the period after the closing quote mark because it seems "redundant"). – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Aug 16 '19 at 12:36
  • 1

If there is a complete sentence in the quote then it makes sense to put the full stop inside the quote marks. There isn't any need to put a second full stop after the quote marks, as it is obvious that a new sentence is starting.

On the other hand if there is no full sentence in the quote, you don't want to put a full stop in the quote, but as the sentence is ending, you ought to have some punctuation, which would go after the quote marks.

If the sentence in the quotes is a question, it should have a question mark (in the quotes) You could put a full stop after the quote in this case, but it probably isn't required.

You asked, "Are they correct?" There is no simple answer to this.

I wrote, "simple". But there may be a longer answer that is possible.

You said, "I know it's grammatically correct." That is true but rules for punctuation are about clarity, style and rhetoric. These particular rules are different in the USA and UK, so you should consult a style manual.

One can construct sentences that are difficult to punctuate well, such as a question with a quoted question at the end. In general avoid extra punctuation after a quote that contains a complete sentence.

Did you ask, "Are they correct?"

  • Re your first and third paragraphs: of course there's a need to put a second full stop or whatever other punctuation mark is needed after the quote marks – since when does the quoted sentence end the enclosing one? The same with your last paragraph. I generally disagree with this opinion, as it emphasizes a nonexistent artistic value of minimalism in punctuation as opposed to veracity and clarity, so that's a –1 from me, and I hope you don't mind (I know people will +1 it to zero it out, so there you go). – userr2684291 Aug 16 '19 at 13:32
  • @userr2684291 you should expand this to a full answer – James K Aug 16 '19 at 17:36

As noted in the other excellent answer, usage differs in British and American usage in general.

If you want to read detailed information on this kind of thing, two of the most influential and "definitive" style guides are:

  • British English: Hart's Rules for Compositors and Editors, originally by Horace Hart Wikipedia
  • American English: The Elements of Style, by Strunk and White, see Wikipedia
  • I don't know about the first one, but the second one contains a lot of misleading advice on English in general (see languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=15509). en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sense_of_Style looks like it might be a good alternative: "Pinker's prescriptions combine data from ballots given to the Usage Panel of the AHD, the usage notes of several dictionaries and style guides, the historical analyses in MWDEU, the meta-analysis in Roy Copperud's American Usage and Style: The Consensus, and views from modern linguistics represented in CGEL and the blog Language Log". – userr2684291 Aug 16 '19 at 13:53
  • Hart's is the style guide of the University of Oxford Press. Strunk and White is the typical university guide, though perhaps the Chicago Manual of Style is a better comparison with Harts. Strunk and White is "the most frequently assigned text in US academic syllabuses" (Wikipedia) Of course there are criticisms, but modern editions fixed most of the old ones. I'll stand on my statement that these are influential and important style guides. – jonathanjo Aug 16 '19 at 18:45

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.