‘Punctuation required with quotes’ in Microsoft Word


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Along with the ‘Oxford Comma‘ and ‘spaces between sentences‘, ‘Punctuation required with quotes’ is the most commonly changed grammar and style setting.

This check is for the location of commas etc. when used with a quotation. Here’s two similar sentences to demonstrate:

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In US usage, the sentence punctuation mark go inside the quotation marks.

In standard British /Commonwealth usage, the comma is outside the quote.

Word lets you set whichever you prefer (or none) then warn of any transgressions.

Double Quotes

In Word 2016 for Windows & Mac (Office 365) this style check works for both “double quote” and ‘single quote’ marks.  That’s a change from earlier versions of Office.

Word 2013 and previous, the feature only worked for “double quote” marks.  If you’re using ‘single quotes’, Word won’t check the punctuation location.

Global Setting

The setting for ‘Punctuation required with quotes’ is a Word global setting. It applies to all documents opened in Word.

There’s no way to change the setting at the document, style or paragraph level.

For most people that’s not a problem. However, some might have clients or specifications for different documents. Anyone with trans-Atlantic dealings could be in this situation. Anyone in that situation has to change the Word setting manually each time.

Office 2016 for Office 365

In Word 2016 (Windows or Mac) look for a red dotted line under the offending punctuation.  Right-click for options.

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.” (or alternative) – fix the punctuation.

Ignore Once – will leave this spacing unchanged.

Don’t check for this issue – changes the sentence spacing for ALL documents, not just the current document. The global Word setting is returned to ‘Don’t Check’. This isn’t made clear at all.

Options for ‘Punctuation Conventions’ – takes you to the Grammar & more settings.

Word 2013, Word 2010 and before …

In earlier versions of Word (also Word 2016 for non-subscribers) the look is a little different but the result is the almost same.

Only “double quotes” are covered by this setting.  ‘Single Quotes’ are ignored.

The blue squiggly line marks an incorrect punctuation.

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Right-click on the blue line to see the options which aren’t very clear.

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You’re forgiven for wondering what caused the blue squiggly line.

Click on the period/fullstop, question mark, exclamation to change the punctuation.

Ignore Once – will leave this spacing unchanged.

Grammar … – opens the Grammar settings

The settings are the same but a little more accessible.

Go to Options | Proofing | Writing Styles. Select ‘Grammar & Style’ then Settings.

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