It's an update

What follows is an excerpt from an email I sent to Brian Bridson in response to his comments about the it's page.
> I see that you grew up in Canada, but are currently at the 
> University of Washington, most probably writing for an 
> American audience. Unfortunately, I spotted at least 20 
> punctuation errors in your Web page. In American English, the 
> comma and period ALWAYS go inside the quotation mark, while 
> the colon is placed outside the quotation mark. I think the 
> Australian, British, and Canadian rule is different. If you 
> are following a different country's punctuation rule, 
> especially on a Web page that deals with grammar and usage, 
> maybe you'd better state that on your page. 

You're the first person ever to point out this 
'feature' of the it's page.  In fact, I'm aware of
the usual rule for punctuating around quotation
marks, and this rule is the same in Canada as far
as I know (though I just found a web page suggesting
that it's otherwise in England).

Over the years, I have migrated over to what I 
would call "rational punctuation", wherein commas
and periods appear outside quotations.  I'm pretty
sure that my research in the field of computer
programming languages is what drove me to this switch -- 
putting the punctuation outside the quotation makes
for a more strictly hierarchical decomposition of
the sentence into pieces.  

Now, no one ever promised that punctuation was 
supposed to be rational.  You may think hypocritical
my capricious violation of accepted rules as it suits
me, particularly on a page about grammar, and you're
probably right (in my defense, I say clearly that the
misuse of the apostrophe is a personal pet peeve; I never
say anything about punctuation).  So whether I'm following 
a now-forgotten dictum of my Canadian education, or I'm
leading a personal grammatical revolution, I would say 
that the page deserves at least a healthy disclaimer.
I think I'll link from the page to an excerpt of this
message.

Craig S. Kaplan Last updated: