I always, or at least since grad school, thought that it was American publishing practice that everything went inside the quotation marks, even if you add a question mark. Today I was reviewing the SBL Handbook of Style and was surprised to see that they do not agree.
A question mark, however, belongs outside of the quotation marks unless it is part of the quoted or parenthetical material (CMS 5.28). Thus:
Why had he said, “I’m too tired to respond”?
Do you understand the word “pedant”?
He asked, “What can I do?”
Colons and semicolons also belong outside quotation marks:
S. Westerholm wrote the article “ ‘Letter’ and ‘Spirit’: The Foundation of Pau-
Who knew? (Probably a lot of you. That was just rhetorical, no need to reply.)