I'm using biblatex-chicago as my referencing system as its fairly common in history-related fields and it has all the features I need (notes style rather than author-date, shorthands, etc.).

However, the one inconvenience is the US-style formatting of punctuation and quotation marks, i.e. the placement of punctuation inside quotation marks rather than inside or outside depending on the context, as per European practice and my preference. Obviously as a US style it makes perfect sense that it follows US preferences in the matter and if I'm chasing a chimera by all means tell me so :)

In reading the documentation, I find (v. 1.0rc4 p. 52) that

[i]n common with other American citation styles, the Manual requires that the commas and periods separating units of a reference go inside any quotation marks that happen to be present

but also (same paragraph) that

... biblatex contains truly remarkable code that handles this situation in very nearly complete generality, detecting punctuation after the closing quotation mark and moving it in- side when necessary, and also controlling which punctuation marks can be printed after which other punctuation marks, whether quotation marks inter- vene or not. This functionality is now mature, and biblatex-chicago-notes relies on this code to place punctuation in the “American style[.”]

The documentation for biblatex itself (v. 3.7 p. 4) makes reference to using csquotes and polyglossia for writing in other than US English.

All told, this suggests one might be able to override the biblatex-chicago behaviour but I've not been successful in doing so.


  1. Can this be done, and if so, how?
  2. If not, what would be the next best biblatex-flavoured option to handle my needs (I hope I've not left anything significant out).

I'm not bound by the publisher to any given style so can switch if need be.

Here's an MWE which illustrates the issue and my failure to address it adequately.


        Author = {E. Bouzon},
        Booksubtitle = {Mélanges von Soden},
        Booktitle = {Vom alten Orient zum alten Testament},
        Editor = {Manfried Dietrich and Oswald Loretz},
        Hyphenation = {german},
        Location = {Neukirchen},
        Number = {240},
        Pages = {11--30},
        Publisher = {Neukirchener Verlag},
        Series = {Alter Orient und altes Testament},
        Shorthand = {\textsc{aoat}~240:2},
        Shorthandsort = {aoat 240:2},
        Shorttitle = {\emph{ṣimdat-šarrim}},
        Title = {Die soziale Bedeutung des \emph{ṣimdat-šarrim}-Aktes nach den Kaufverträgen der Rim--Sin-Zeit},
        Volume = {2},
        Year = {1995}}


Let's have a full citation from Bouzon.\autocite[some ref]{Bouzon1995}

1 Answer 1


You are looking for


biblatex-chicago maps both english and american to cms-american.lbx. cms-american.lbx inherits its bibliography extras from american.lbx which does \DeclareBibliographyExtras{\uspunctuation}. \uspunctuation turns on the American quoting style where punctuation always goes inside the quotation marks. The 'normal' behaviour is restored with \stdpunctuation.

biblatex cannot detect the language variant british from polyglossia, so it uses english instead of british, as it would if you used babel. In that case no change would be needed since british is remapped to cms-brtish.lbx that in turn takes its definitions from british.lbx where \uspunctuation is not executed.

  • 1
    Just tried it, works like a charm! And as an added bonus the quotation marks have shifted from the noisy double variety to the single, which I'd totally forgotten about. I see now that there is a reference in the biblatex-chicago documentation to this but only for the reverse case of US-ifying other languages. Nov 9, 2017 at 18:11
  • 2
    @K.G.Feuerherm Ah yes indeed, \uspunctuation always uses double quotes and overrides the quote style set by csquotes. With \stdpunctuation the style settings of csquotes are honoured.
    – moewe
    Nov 9, 2017 at 18:16

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