Integration Course

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           Quotation Marks and Punctuation

Source:  APA Style

Note: In American English, periods and commas ALWAYS come inside closing quotation marks!  The only exception is when parentheses are used at the end of a sentence (for example, when a citation or page number is given in parentheses at the end of a sentence).  See the topic of "Parentheses" below.

Many of your professors will probably get this wrong.  You can respectfully point this out to them.  By the way, the rules are entirely different if you are British.

Correct:  .”   ,”       John said, “I love it.”  “I like it,” said John.

Incorrect:  ”.  ”,      John said, “I love it”.  “I like it”, said John.

Quotation Marks and Punctuation

Punctuation mark


In relation to closing quotation mark, place it…



Participants who kept dream diaries described themselves as “introspective” and “thoughtful.”




Many dream images were characterized as “raw,” “powerful,” and “evocative.”




Barris (2010) argued that “dreams express and work with the logic of gaining a sense of and a relation to ourselves, our lives, or our sense of reality as a whole” (p. 4).


See more examples of how to cite direct quotations here.


At the beginning of the study, participants described their dream recall rate as “low to moderate”; at the end, they described it as “moderate to high.”




Participants stated they were “excited to begin”: We controlled for participants' expectations in our study.



Question mark or exclamation point (part of quoted material)

The Dream Questionnaire items included “How often do you remember your dreams?” and “What do you most often dream about?” We found intriguing results.


When a quotation ending in a question mark or exclamation point ends a sentence, no extra period is needed.

Question mark or exclamation point (not part of quoted material)

How will this study impact participants who stated at the outset, “I never remember my dreams”? We hypothesized their dream recall would increase.



Quotation within a quotation + period or comma

Some participants were skeptical about the process: “I don’t put any stock in these ‘dream diaries.’”