Is that your question?

“Based on a true story?” That’s the question that asks:


Of course, that makes no sense, because the entire headline is actually the question. For some reason the editor made a common mistake (at least it’s common on Yahoo!) by placing the question mark before the closing quotation mark. In the U.S., a comma and period go before a closing quotation mark; a semicolon and colon go after. If you’re looking to place a question mark, put it before the closing quote only if the entire text inside the quotation marks is a question. Otherwise, it goes after the closing quote mark.

“Swappable”: Where to put that colon

It’s not a huge mistake, but it’s worth mentioning: The Yahoo! Tech writer should swap the location of that colon and quotation mark:

colon quo tek

In the U.S., only two punctuation marks always go after a closing quotation mark: the colon and the semicolon.

Prom? Is that your question?

It’s a short question, and it may mean something to a Yahoo! Style reader, but to me it’s nonsense:

prom ques sty hp

Prom? That’s the question? Uh, no. The question is: Are these kids too young to be dressing up for ‘prom’? The entire headline is a question, not just the word in the quotation marks.

Stuck on stupid

Sometimes I think the editors at are just stuck on stupid. They keep repeating the same mistakes. A few days ago, they couldn’t agree on how to refer to a Mexican drug lord. And today, they’re faced with the same issue. Is his name simply El Chapo?

fp el chapo no quo

Or is it Chapo and does it require quotation marks?

fp chapo quo

I’m thinkin’ that maybe the editors don’t know that they’re in disagreement because even they don’t read

Pick one

Displaying once again that the people who write for have no means to communicate with each other, someone decides that a drug lord’s nickname needs to be in quotation marks:

fp el chapo w

while a colleague decides the punctuation is unnecessary:

fp el chapo no

It doesn’t matter which one the writers and editors chose. They should just pick one style and go with it. But first, they need to establish a way to communicate their decision. I hear there are communication methods like telephone, email, instant messenger, and tin cans connected by a string. One of those might work.

‘You don’t know me’: Reader reacts

What could possibly be wrong with this headline on Yahoo! Parenting?

colon quot parent

The punctuation. Two punctuation marks never go before a closing quotation mark: a colon and a semicolon.

Sentence to which I am confused

OK, so placing a comma after a closing quotation mark isn’t a mistake everywhere — just in the U.S. But writing a sentence like this from Yahoo! Makers is the opposite of clear communication:

to which you use mak

Is this the end?

Is this the end of the “Stupid Punctuation Placements”? Probably not. It’s on the home page of Yahoo! Parenting, where the editor thinks “Post-Baby Bikini Body” is an actual question:

body quest quot par

Readers all scream “Wrong!”

If you’re quoting people who are screaming, you probably want to punctuate the scream with an exclamation mark. And unlike the writer for Yahoo! Shopping, you probably know it belongs inside the quotation marks:

summer excl shop

Whaddya wanna bet?

I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that this headline on was written by a millennial — someone in a generation that sees no value in spelling words correctly:

fp millenials slow

It’s also the same person who can’t decide if a phrase (like slow fade) needs to be surrounded in quotation marks.

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