1. End periods and commas always go inside quotation marks if there is no parenthetical documentation. But periods and commas come after parenthetical documentation.
The narrator says, “But there was no more sleep . . . for anyone that night. Black Dick had murdered sleep” (17).
Wolfe once again uses feline imagery when Dick goes berserk, shoots three men, and seeks to evade apprehension: “Dick, now moving in a long, unhurried stride that covered the ground with catlike speed, began his march toward town” (18).
You can go ahead and change the channel, when a politician talks about “family values.”
2. Use blocking (indention) for longish quotations (three or more lines) or for those you wish to emphasize.
Dick’s room was spotless, and on the table in the center of the room, there was always an old Bible worn out by constant use, for Dick was a deeply religious man. There was a little cast-iron stove and a little boxwith a few lumps of coal and a neat stack of kindling in it. And against the wall to the left, there was an iron cot, always precisely made. (19)
3. Quotation marks are not used to set off indented (block) quotations, unless the quotations contain dialogue. End punctuation of indented (block) quotations comes before parenthetical documentation.
The boys’ act of destruction is interrupted by the premature arrival of Old Misery:
“Old Misery,” Mike said. “He’s on his way.”
“But why?” T. said. “he told me. . .” He protested with all the fury of the child he had never been. “It isn’t fair.” (35).
4. Semicolons always go outside quotation marks. (Meaning that they go outside when they are used at the ends of quotations.)
Dylan Thomas wrote that we were to “rage against the dying of the light”: so rage on!
5. Question marks and exclamation points go inside the quotation marks if they are part of the quotation.
I read somewhere that Charlton Heston’s favorite song is “Whoomp! There it is!”
A Few Addendums
1. Any changes in or additions to direct quotations must be made in brackets. Brackets [ ] are to direct quotations what parentheses are to your own sentences.
2. Ellipsis marks (three spaced periods) are used to indicate omissions from direct quotations. Use the spaced periods (. . .) only when you are quoting a complete sentence; they are not necessary for a phrase or a dependent clause; see example 3 above. If you omit words at the ends of sentences, use 4 (. . . .) spaced periods, not 3 (one for the period and three for the ellipsis).
3. Usually you do not need to use ellipsis marks at the beginning of a quotation.
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