Comma in Title

Example: Jim's story, "The Use of Quotation Marks," will be published in the first magazine next month.

Why was the second comma, after "Marks", put within the quotation marks? Should it not be outside the closing quotation mark, because it is not part of the title of Jim's story?

Comments for Comma in Title

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Aug 09, 2016
Comma Inside or outside quotation marks.
by: Audrey

Thanks for your question, which gives pause to many people who care about these things.

The answer may depend on where you live as well as your stance on tradition. Traditionally, the comma would be within the quotation marks. Not being a historian, I can't tell you when or where the "rule" changed to say that the comma should be inside the quotation marks only if it belongs to the original material, in this case, to the title.

In North America, the traditional placement (always within the quotation marks) still holds in many style guides. In other jurisdictions, the placement depends on the original material.

For an individual instance, it's important to be consistent within a text. If you are submitting material to a particular publisher, you could ask which style guide they use, and follow it.

Often it's just easier to recast the sentence, especially when you suspect that you will have some readers who believe the comma should be inside and others who believe the comma should be outside.

The first magazine next month will publish the story "The Use of Quotation Marks" by Jim.

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