Most of my writing these days (at least, until this site) is literary analysis for my (excellent) English teacher. Predictably, I frequently use quotes, and often, those quotes will come at the end of a sentence or before a comma.
For fear of seeming ignorant: yes, I know that in American English, the comma or period goes inside the quote. For example,
- Tom, “forc[ing] him out of the room,” demonstrates his violent assertiveness.
- Torvald was not “the man [she] could bind [herself] to.”
Sorry for the examples being a little poor; I tried making them up, instead of actually finding them in past essays. They should be more than sufficient to demonstrate my point, though.
I don’t like that; I think it’s annoying. If the punctuation is mine, it goes outside the quotes; if it’s the author’s, it goes inside. This is the case in British English, which I like. Unfortunately, I’m not into the whole “flavor” / “colour” thing. Waste of letters.
Except if the punctuation is an exclamation or question mark or something, in which case, if it’s yours, it goes outside the quotes, even in American English. That’s actually good, and I can see the argument concerning the comma and period: they’re neutral; they don’t change the meaning of the quote; it looks better when they’re enclosed, so keep them there.
But I’ve dug the whole too deep, and I’d seem clueless if I suddenly switched. And I still think my (the British, I guess) way is more precise.