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Commas and Quotation Marks

I have a list of Computer Programs that I am including in some documentation and have a question regarding the use of commas.

The list looks like this: “Test.prg” “Test2.prg” “Test3.prg”

If I included this list in a sentence I tend to think that the programs should be separated by commas but the commas should be outside the quotes like this: “Test.prg”, “Test2.prg”, and “Test3.prg”.

Another program says that the commas (and the period) belong inside the quotes like: “Test.prg,” “Test2.prg,” and “Test3.prg.”

I think this just looks completely idiotic. I know for most quotes, punctuation belongs inside the quotes but I believe in this instance, the quotation marks aren’t meaning dialog but just another part of the item name and so should not be treated as regular quotation marks.



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"Test.prg," "Test2.prg," and "Test3.prg."

is correct standard American English.

"Test.prg", "Test2.prg", and "Test3.prg".

is correct standard British English (and Canadian, etc.)

Pick the option that most closely corresponds with the remainder of yourt documentation.

As far as it looking stupid, nothing correct ever looks stupid. The only entity that looks stupid when something is done wrong is the person who knew better but did it wrong anyway.

speedwell2 November 17, 2004 @ 1:42PM

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Yes, yes, I know there are exceptions. This might be one, but it depends on how you used the list in a sentence.

If you are referring to the programs as programs, then you would follow the US style above (assuming the remainder of your document follows US style). The sentence then would be something like:

The files I moved to the server were "Test.prg," "Test2.prg," and "Test3.prg."

But if you are referring to the NAMES of the programs AS names, you might write this:

In your personal directory, set up three files named "Test.prg", "Test2.prg", and "Test3.prg".

It's a subtle difference. It IS an exception to the US rule I stated above.

speedwell2 November 18, 2004 @ 1:35PM

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Sure, as soon as you Brits start to drive on the correct side of the road. :))

speedwell2 March 28, 2005 @ 7:10AM

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Who, me? Um... yeah, that's how my partner thinks I drive, anyway. LOL

speedwell2 March 29, 2005 @ 10:06AM

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Help please . . . I have been searching the net for a book or dictionary listing all grammatical symbols and their meanings. Could anyone direct me or recommend a book or website?

Greatly appreciated,


paulamu March 24, 2006 @ 8:43AM

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There were a few other posts on this topic as well.

I seem to remember learning in gradeschool that if your quote ended a sentence then the period, exclamation point, etc. would be placed inside the final quote only if it was appropriate pucntuation for the quoted material itself without the rest of the sentence.

e.g., Which one of you said "I'll do it"?

The question mark should not be inside, since "I'll do it" is not a question. Is this correct?

I never even heard of putting commas inside the quotes and I'm American. You learn something every day. I must have been asleep that day in class.

porsche March 25, 2006 @ 4:13PM

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