Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Punctuation Pet Peeves

I had a nice but uneventful day, so here's another little lesson for my 200 readers. Yes, there are 200 of you! Scary! I dedicate this post to tater, Jessica, Claire, and Kate -- four people who know these rules already. Mwah!

(1) Periods and commas always belong inside quotation marks.
WRONG: The definition of "negligent" is "failing to exercise the care expected of a reasonably prudent person in like circumstances".

CORRECT: The definition of "meticulous" is "marked by extreme or excessive care in the consideration or treatment of details."
(2) Question marks and exclamation points can be inside or outside quotation marks, depending on the logic of the question or exclamation.
EXAMPLE 1: I looked at her incredulously and asked, "Are you an idiot?"

EXAMPLE 2: What is the meaning of the phrase "stupid is as stupid does"?

EXAMPLE 3: She screamed, "Yes! I am an idiot!"

EXAMPLE 4: She really loves Britney Spears' "Gimme More"!
(3) Colons and semi-colons belong outside quotation marks.
EXAMPLE 1: I think she is a "C U Next Tuesday"; my friends agree.

EXAMPLE 2: Here is the key to "grammatical success": follow these rules.
(4) When quoting materials with errors, insert the word "sic" in brackets after the error. Sic is Latin for "so" or "thus," and inserting it after an error in a direct quote informs your reader that the error is not your own and is simply a reprinting of the original material.
EXAMPLE: Kim e-mailed me to tell me that she loves "mixing orange juice and champaigne [sic] to make mermosas [sic]."
Grammar Nazi


  1. what an honor to be mentioned out of the 200+ readers. ;)

    3-1 is awesome!

  2. this post has hooked me and labeled me as a lifelong blog reader. THANK YOU.



  3. It almost looks like you're complimenting Jessica Claire on her great grammar skills. Except, of course, for the comma in between.

    Thanks for the shout out, my grammatically gifted friend!

  4. I am LOVING this post. "Sic" is especially one of my all time favorite things ever.

  5. omg...i've always wanted to know what [sic] meant, now i know hahaha

    and i didn't have to pay anything to learn it---thanks =)

  6. I love that kim got a shoutout for mermosas.

  7. I love this post.

    Girl who can barely speak English

  8. LMAO! "They are just punctuation marks; they dont' own me". I am a punctuation rebel!

  9. Best post ever! I too have always wondered what [sic] meant. I thought - it stood for [this is sick!] or something like that...

  10. ooh! I knew all of them but the [sic] rule. Thank you! :) I'm obviously sneaking on...better run!

  11. i make these mistakes all the time. oh well. ;) that's what i get for going to school when they decided that taking formal grammar education out was a good idea.

  12. nice. i appreciate that very much. i'm a grammar nazi by profession.

  13. hellz yeah!!!!


    Thanks for the lesson, too. I don't think I was aware of number (3).

  14. I am way lazy about my grammar on line. I know I shouldn't be but I am guilty of it big time.



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