When a comma or period is required after a quotation, the punctuation mark is usually placed before the closing quotation mark in the United States. This practice exists to improve the look of the text. Although this is not necessary, it does not cause problems for the reader.
The usual guideline is that commas and periods should always be inside the quote marks, but all other punctuation, such as question marks, colons, semicolons, and exclamation points, should be outside the quotation marks, unless they are part of the original quotation.
The punctuation mark (full stop or comma) always occurs before the closing quote mark in American English. In contrast, unless the quotation is also a complete phrase, the punctuation mark will normally occur after the closing quotation mark in Australian English. Some writers and editors prefer one style or the other, but both are acceptable according to most standards.
Ending quotations with periods is common in official writing and some other contexts where accuracy is important. Ending quotations with commas is commonly found in journalism and other contexts where speed is important. Using periods within quoted material is considered formal; using commas is less formal.
According to The Chicago Manual of Style, it is incorrect to use periods within quoted material; however, this practice is still common. This example from the book shows correct usage: "He said 'I love you.' I replied, 'I love you too.'" Periods should be used only at the end of quotations. This example is from the same book: "She said, 'I hate you!' I answered, 'I hate you too!'" Commas are appropriate here because the quotation is part of a sentence.
Again, the American form prevails in Canada: periods and commas are placed within closing quotation marks; all other markings are placed inside if they fit with the cited content, outside if they do not. Colons and semicolons are particularly noteworthy. It is common practice to remove them at the conclusion of cited content.
Additionally, only full sentences are included within quotations. Fragments such as phrases or words are omitted unless the speaker includes them within his or her sentence. For example, "I like green eggs and I hate ham" would be considered incomplete because "and" falls between two words instead of within a quoted sentence. On the other hand, "I like green eggs and ham" would be acceptable since everything after the first "and" is part of the same sentence.
Closing quotation marks are used to indicate that something has been said or written by someone else. In many cases, these marks also act as an indication of attribution. For example, if I say that "John Doe likes green eggs and hates ham," then it can be assumed that "John Doe" is a person who has spoken previously. In other cases, however, particular wording may imply attribution but not necessarily identity. For example, "The doctor says I am cured!" could refer to any number of doctors. Similarly, "Put him down!" could have been said by anyone who has ever been told to put something down.
Put one space after a period, comma, colon, semicolon, question mark, or exclamation point as a general rule. However, if a closing quote mark immediately follows any of these marks, don't put a space between them. In either situation, no space should be used between the period and the closing quote mark.
Unless the quotation is followed by a citation, the last period or comma is placed inside the quotation marks even though it is not part of the quoted content. If a quotation is followed by a citation in parentheses, the citation is followed by a period. Otherwise, if there is more than one word after the quotation mark, each subsequent word starts a new paragraph.
For example: "I enjoy eating out because I like trying different foods." This statement would not be considered complete without a punctuation mark at the end of the first sentence. However, if this were an essay and not a quotation, then a full stop would be used instead.
Quotations are often attributed to people in order to highlight important ideas in the surrounding sentences. In this case, the quotation should be followed by the name of the person it has been attributed to. For example: "A man can never have too many books;" Plato (427 B.C.E.-347 B.C.E.) Platonism is the ancient philosophical system developed by Plato that still influences modern philosophy. When referencing this quotation, it would be correct to include its attribution.
It is important to distinguish quotations from paraphrases. A quotation takes exactly what it says - a real piece of content - and reproduces it accurately.
Unless you want to paraphrase a textual source, you should still put the quote between quotation marks. In the United States, commas and periods are always placed within quote marks, while colons, semicolons, and dashes are placed outside: "This book is about flowers" vs "this book: it's about flowers".
When quoting from newspapers or magazines, however, do not use quotes around every word or phrase. This is especially true with abbreviations such as dates, names, and addresses. If you do so, the reader may think that these words are part of the quote! Instead, write out the whole sentence including names, dates, and addresses. Then follow it with a parenthetical note stating who said what about and when it appeared in the newspaper/magazine. For example: "John Kennedy was elected president on November 8, 1960." Not only does this give more credit to the person, but it also avoids any confusion about what words were actually spoken by whom.
Finally, when you are quoting someone else's work, it is customary to give them credit even if they don't want it.