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Punctuation: QUOTATION MARKS ELLIPSIS

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Page 1: Quotation marks  ellipsis

Punctuation:

QUOTATION MARKS

ELLIPSIS

Page 2: Quotation marks  ellipsis

I. QUOTATION MARKS

Although quotation marks have several functions, let’s concentrate on only one of them: using quotation marks to indicate the use of someone’s exact words.

Take a look at the sentence below:

When we finally finished the report, the boss

merely said: “It’s about time.”

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Remember that quotation marks should not be used for an indirect quotation, that is, the restatement or rearrangement of a person’s exact words:

Robert asked me how my brother was doing.

Neither are quotation marks used with well-known proverbs and sayings simply because they are not direct quotations.

I really that an apple a day keeps the doctor away.

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Now here’s a basic guide on punctuation when using quotation marks:

When a quoted statement occurs at the beginning of a sentence and is followed by an expression such as s/he said, etc., omit the period before the closing quotation mark and use a comma instead.“I think we should all go home now ” he said.

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When a quoted question or exclamation occurs at the beginning of a sentence and is followed by an expression such as s/he asked, etc., retain the punctuation mark before the closing quotation mark and do not insert a comma.

“Will you lend me the money or not?” she asked.

“Stop picking on me!” he yelled.

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When a quoted statement, question or exclamation comes at the end of a sentence and is introduced by an expression such as s/he said/asked, etc., a comma or a colon usually precedes the opening question mark.In his letter Tony said “I plan to arrive on Friday at 9 a.m.”

In his letter Tony said “I plan to arrive on Friday at 9 a.m.”

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Let’s now take a look at some practical rules that will help you learn how to position marks of punctuation in relation to quotation marks.

A. Periods and Commas

Always place them inside the closing quotation mark.

Before the conference, Dr. Foster said “I hope to be able to open your minds to the beauty of Hungarian poetry.”

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“I’m sorry, but I don’t remember,” answered the witness.

B. Semicolons and colons

Place semicolons and colons outside the closing quotation mark. Last week you said, “I’ll have the job done in two days” however, I haven’t seen my results yet.

Please send me the following from the file labeled “Ernest Szabo” a copy of his resumé.

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C. Semicolons and colons

1. A question mark or an exclamation point goes inside the quotation when it applies only to the quoted material.

His first question was, “How could you do that to me?”

When the final gavel sounded, the defendant shouted, “ Let me out of here!”

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2. A question mark or an exclamation point goes outside the closing quotation mark when it applies to the entire sentence, not only to the quoted material.

When will the boss say, for a change, “Nice job, Fay”?

Stop telling me, “Don’t worry”!

The quoted material is at the end of a question, but it is not a question itself.

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3. If the quoted material and the entire sentence require the same punctuation mark, use only the one that comes first.

Have you seen the ad that starts, “Who wants to grow old? ”

Don’t yell, “Fire!”

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I. ELLIPSIS MARKS

1. Ellipsis marks are generally used to indicate the omission of words within a quoted passage.

“Each of us has an ego ideal ... An image of the kind of

person one can be ....”

The person who quoted this passage did not consider some original parts relevant to his purposes, so he decided to omit them. Notice that the last dot is the period.

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2. Ellipsis marks are also used to indicate a speaker’s voluntarily unfinished sentence is a dialogue.

Robert: Well, what have you done since you got out of...

Gilbert: Prison?