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Bad advice from Grammarly: Quotation marks and punctuation

On the advice of an alum, I’ve recently been having Grammarly check over my musings. As an experiment, I even purchased Grammarly Premium during a sale [1]. Grammarly can be helpful at times. It catches overused words and misspellings. Grammarly was even good at noting when I was repeating words [2]. However, as I’ve noted in a few of these musings, I don’t always agree with Grammarly’s advice.

And then there are the times when I intentionally violate the rules. In particular, I don’t agree with the rules of American style with regards to the relationship between punctuation and quotation marks. Why, because American style says that we are supposed to put punctuation within quotation marks, even if it is not part of what we are quoting. That choice seems logically wrong to me, since we should distinguish what what is and is not quoting [3].

Now, I don’t mind that Grammarly calls me on this issue. However, I don’t like its advice. What advice? Let’s see …

The punctuation at the end of your sentence is misplaced. Consider moving the final punctuation mark from after the quotation mark to before it.

In American English, commas, periods, exclamation points and question marks are always placed before the end quotation mark. (He said, Hello!) In British English, single quote marks are usually used with the punctuation reversed. (He said, Hello!)

Correct: The bill is due today, Larry said.

Correct: I got a new car! Cynthia squealed.

Correct: Angie asked, Are you going to the mall?

Correct: Please join me for dinner, Jeff said. I’d like to continue our discussion.

What do I object to about this text? Well, as far as I know, British style suggests that you include punctuation inside of the quotation marks when it is part of the quoted material. Hence, one should write He said Hello! whether they are writing in American style or British style [4,5].

I’m also not sure about their claim that question marks go inside of quotation marks. I see that the APA Advice indicates that question marks go outside of quotation marks, unless the material being quoted is itself a question. For example, one should write In today’s faculty meeting did Sam really say I don’t care, I’ll be retired by then? One should also write Sam asked, How is this approach any different than just sending them to University College London? And it shouldn’t matter which style one is using.

Given the bad advice I saw in this bit of text from Grammarly, I asked for a refund on Grammarly Premium. After all, if they can’t get some basic rules right, why should one pay for the software? I am happy to report that I received that refund.

One benefit of the bad advice: I got to read the APA advice and a nice article in The Guardian that exposes some complexities and challenges that my choices are logical.

I wonder what the rule is for the relationship between bracketed endnote marks and quotation marks [7].

[1] Don’t worry! It had a seven-day money-back guarantee.

[2] However, it appears that Grammarly and I disagree on when it is and is not appropriate to repeat words.

[3] I am told that this is also hacker style.

[4] As you might be able to tell, I also object to Grammarly calling these American English and British English. They are really issues of style.

[5] You could write He said Hello! if you, rather than he, were exclaiming. But the Grammarly advice doesn’t make it clear. You could also write "He said Hello? if you were puzzled that he would use such a word [6].

[6] An appropriate response would be Yes, he said, Hello!

[7] I also wonder whether anyone other than me cares.

Version 1.0 of 2017-04-03.