Every Wednesday, Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0 features handy tips to enhance all of our writing, from daily emails to articles to books. After all, everyone needs to write, right?
I received an email from Leah Rae with a question about punctuation in relation to closing quotation marks. My question is punctuation. I know how to use double quotes. Period, then last quotation mark. But when you have a word or two in single quotes, does the same hold true? Looks wrong not to have period outside last single quote. Thanks.
Leah Rae, thanks for your email. It can get a little confusing, especially if you read British novels, which have their own quotation mark rules that aren’t similar to American English. We’re lucky with this one because, for once, the Chicago Manual of Style and the Associated Press Stylebook both use the same rule.
Periods and commas should always be within quotation marks, regardless of whether they are used within single or double quotes.
Continuing our celebration of American Literature, here are some interesting tidbits about Ralph Waldo Emerson.
1. Poet, philosopher, and essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson was born in 1803 in Boston. He led the Transcendentalist movement and wrote dozens of published essays, including "Nature" and "Self-Reliance," and delivered more than 1,500 lectures across the U.S.
2. After studying at Harvard, Ralph Waldo Emerson entered the ministry, but found himself unable to administer the sacraments in good conciousness after the death of his nineteen-year-old wife, Ellen. He left the church.
3. Nicknamed "The Sage of Concord," Ralph Waldo Emerson surmised that intuition was the only way to comprehend reality.
4. Ralph Waldo Emerson owned the Walden property upon which Henry David Thoreau built his cabin.
5. “My life is not an apology, but a life. It is for itself and not for a spectacle. I much prefer that it should be of a lower strain, so it be genuine and equal, …
One of my favorite writers died earlier this week. Maeve Binchy, 72, sold more than 40 million copies of her novels and short stories, including her most famous, Circle of Friends and Tara Road.
I first discovered her work while rummaging around a Barnes and Noble store almost twenty-three years ago. I had a feeling I’d enjoy Circle of Friends after checking out the back cover copy. Immediately hooked, I went on a Maeve Binchy binge, eagerly gobbling up all of her previous novels.
Over the years, I took her with me on the train to and from work every day, on business trips, even to my mother’s house, so she, too, could enjoy the stories. I have every book available in the United States, plus a few of her short story collections.
Reading a Maeve Binchy novel is like a literary hug — warm and enveloping — but not sappy. Her tales of Ireland speak of everyday life, whether it was going off to college, swapping houses on a whim, or starting a restaurant.