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Rant about periods and quotations marks

MrDupin February 13, 2015 User blog:MrDupin

American and English natives, I hate to bring this to you, but your use of quotation marks and periods doesn't make sense. Quite simply, your use is logically incorrect.

This has been brought to my attention after editing articles for about a month. At first, I thought it was some minor mistake writers made. But after a while I realized that this is how American/English write in general.

I will give one quick example:

/*Let's say that at one lonely road there are two signs. One reads "You shall not pass" without a period and the other reads "You shall not pass." with a period. This isn't part of the example, I just want to show that the first sign ends without a period while the second ends with a period.*/

A man is walking down a lonely road. He sees two signs. He walks towards the one reading "You shall not pass."

Now a question: Did he walk towards the first or the second sign? In English you have no idea. But for me, it is perfectly clear. He walked towards the second sign. If he had walked towards the first, it would have been: "You shall not pass". The period goes outside the quotation marks because the sign does not end with a period.

What you are doing is adding stuff to the sign, which is wrong.

Another example:

John barely passed his finals, despite cheating. He is truly a "genius."

This is what you would write. But that doesn't make sense. I used quotation marks to sarcastically comment on John's intelligence. The period is not part of the sarcasm. Only the word 'genius' is. So, the logical way of writing the sentence would be:

Blabla... He is truly a "genius".

The period goes outside the quotation marks because it is not part of the sarcastic comment.

-rant over-

I know this will never change the way you use quotation marks and periods, but still, it is bugging me that you are using them without taking into account the context/logic of the sentence. It is weird how languages use punctuation marks differently, while it would be much more logical if there was a 'universal system' of use.

Anyway, have a nice day.

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