Q: I have a question about quotation marks. I know the punctuation goes inside the quotation marks when writing dialogue, as in: Ray asked, “What about quotation marks?” What happens when they’re used in titles, though, as in this example: Three very different styles are represented by “Nude Descending a Staircase,” “The Scream,” and “The Mona Lisa.” The punctuation (including the serial comma) doesn’t look right inside the quotation marks. I tried it outside, though, and it looked even less right. Which way is right?
A: The answer is not going to be what you expect. If you are writing a book and correctly following the guidelines set forth in The Chicago Manual of Style, the titles of works of art will be in italics (underlined in manuscript form), rather than in quotation marks, so the punctuation point is moot.
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