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Punctuation of Direct Quotations

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Punctuation of Direct Quotations                                                        

Common Core Language Standard 2

Most of us have heard often how we need to faithfully quote the words of an author when using them in our own writing. However, few of us have heard that it’s not just the words which must be faithfully quoted; it’s also the punctuation. If we fail to use proper punctuation in this quotation, the whole meaning changes: “Let’s eat, Grandma” and “Let’s eat Grandma” (Author unknown) are certainly different meanings entirely.

Today’s grammar and usage lesson is on pronoun antecedents. Remember that a pronoun takes the place of a noun and identifies its antecedent. An antecedent is the noun or pronoun that the pronoun refers to or re-names.

Now let’s read the mechanics lesson and study the examples.

Direct quotations must include original capitalization and punctuation. Periods and commas go inside the closing quotation marks. Question marks and exclamation points go inside the quotation marks, if part of the quoted sentence, but outside, if not. Colons and semicolons go outside the closing quotation marks. Example: Beth said, “The case is closed. Isn’t it?”

Both parts of a divided quotation are enclosed in quotation marks. The first word of the

second part is not capitalized unless it begins a new sentence. Example: “This book,” my mother said, “is wonderful.” When quoting an author or speaker, the first word of a complete sentence must be capitalized, even if it is in the middle of a sentence. Example: Ray did say, “We saw it.”

Now circle or highlight what is right and revise what is wrong according to mechanics lesson.

Practice: My coach whispered, “This game is over.” He continued, “Before it has even started.”

Let’s check the Practice Answers.

Pennington Publishing's Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) Grades 4-8 Programs

Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) Grades 4-8 Programs

Mechanics Practice Answers: My coach whispered, “This game is over.” He continued, “before it has even started.”

Now let’s apply what we have learned.

Writing Application: Write two of your own direct quotation sentences: one ending in a period and one ending in a question mark.

This writing opener is part of a comprehensive language conventions lesson from the Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand)  Grades 4‒8 programs. Complete descriptions, instructional scopes and sequences, introductory video, previews, and two-week test drives of the grade-level teacher guides and student workbooks are available here.

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