The following text is taken verbatim from the book, 300 Days of Better Writing: A daily handbook for improving your writing written by David Bowman (2010)

“(Note to our friends in Great Britain: reverse the tip in the next paragraph, and you will probably do fine.)
When providing a direct quote or using quotation marks to indicate that you are writing about a word or phrase, the comma or period that ends the phrase or sentence should be placed inside the final quotation mark. (GB: outside the final quotation mark)


John said, “I am in love with Julie.”
Many people don’t pronounce the final sound of the words “fast,” “quit,” and “stop.” When the man shouted “Halt,” I ran away.

However, if your final punctuation is a question mark, semicolon, or colon, and if that punctuation mark is not part of the quote, then it should go outside.


Did the boss say “fire everyone you can”?
(Note: We removed the quotation marks from around the examples so the quotation marks we’re trying to indicate are obvious.)”