Where should a period be placed when a sentence ends in a word that is meant to be copied exactly?
Contrived example: Let’s say that my friend is house-sitting and I want to text them the password to my laptop. The password is
password123. There is no period in the password.
Which of these has better punctuation?
The password to my laptop is “password123.”
This is confusing because the password does not in fact include a period. The reader could copy it down incorrectly.
The password to my laptop is “password123”.
This is (according to any source I can find) incorrect punctuation.
Is it acceptable to make an exception here and use the latter punctuation, given the intended utility of the sentence?
At the end of the day I just restructured the sentence to avoid this problem, but I am still curious if there is an official answer to this.
The “rules” on punctuation placement relative to quotation marks are often poorly stated. When a sentence ends with a quotation of a sentence or a relatively complete phrase, one should generally include the period (or comma, in other contexts) inside the quotes. The theory is that the phrase was at its ending anyway, so might as well give it the period.
But when the quoted text is something like a password or an acronym, or some sort of contrived product name, where the punctuation is clearly not relevant to the quoted material, the punctuation should be after the closing quote.
Consider a product that calls itself “Dot.Product”. Including the period in the quotes would be quite deceptive.