She said “It hurts me.”

I learned that, here in the U.S. of A., periods and commas generally go inside quotation marks when they run into each other.  I also learned that the misuse of this order of things causes physical pain to my sister, so I won’t be getting that wrong again any time soon!

Hey, what would I know?  I was a computer science major and although my friends (yeah, you know who you are) made great use of my gorgeous baby blue electric typewriter that my dad bought me for college, I calculated that I typed about six pages during that time.  I’m pretty sure that none of them contained quotation marks.

BTW this rule made no sense to me until I found out how it came to be!  This is from the Grammar Guide of the Capital Community College Foundation:

There are peculiar typographical reasons why the period and comma go inside the quotation mark in the United States. The following explanation comes from the“Frequently Asked Questions” file of alt.english.usage: “In the days when printing used raised bits of metal, “.” and “,” were the most delicate, and were in danger of damage (the face of the piece of type might break off from the body, or be bent or dented from above) if they had a ‘”‘ on one side and a blank space on the other. Hence the convention arose of always using ‘.”‘ and ‘,”‘ rather than ‘”.’ and ‘”,’, regardless of logic.” This seems to be an argument to return to something more logical, but there is little impetus to do so within the United States.

From the same site: “In the United Kingdom, Canada, and islands under the influence of British education, punctuation around quotation marks is more apt to follow logic.” <– for Lava

One thought on “She said “It hurts me.””

  1. I’m a bit of a grammar prude myself, and I, too, feel the pain of a misplaced punctuation mark. I am also a bit of a logic prude as well, however, and this grammar rule always left me a little irritated. So, now, I know why, and I feel better already. Even though I’ve just started a sentence with a conjunction…..Advil, anyone?

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