View Full Version : Formatting Questions (quotation marks, etc.)

11-22-2005, 07:38 PM

11-22-2005, 08:08 PM
What you wrote was the right way. No caps after the quote.

11-22-2005, 08:14 PM
Does it matter in which direction the quotation marks point when you send your stuff to an agent or publisher? And if so, what is the correct way with quotation marks in fiction? I can't demonstrate it here, because all of the quotation marks seem to be of the straight "model" in this message box, but hopefully someone understands what I'm after.
What you're asking about is commonly known as "curly quotes." If you use them, then yes, it matters which way they're curling, because it looks awkward at best and vomitous at worst if they're wrong. However, unless you get into some funky formatting, your word processing program should automatically curl them correctly. More to the point, I don't think any of the commonly accepted submission fonts use them, so you probably don't have anything to worry about.

11-22-2005, 09:53 PM
If you're formatting using standard font such as Courier, then you don't have to worry about the "curly quotes."

The only time when you capitalize after a quote is if it's not part of the dialogue tag, such as an action:

"I really like this dress." He laughed. "It makes you look like Nemo, you know, that fish."

Elijah Phoenix
11-22-2005, 10:24 PM
I thought all them dots and curlys on my keyboard were for decoration.
Whats goin on here!!!

11-22-2005, 10:55 PM
"I really like this dress." He laughed. "It makes you look like Nemo, you know, that fish."Where can I purchase a dress that makes me look fish-like? It might make for an interesting change from with old wolverine...

Maryn, snappy dresser

11-23-2005, 12:27 PM
Use straight quotes. It's easier, you can't make a mistake with them, and it looks more professional anyway. Also, if you find you need to send an electronic submission at any point, the curly (or "smart") quotes can cause problems, because they don't work right on all computers.

11-24-2005, 11:24 AM
I think they use single quotes in England and Canada... but if you're targeting American market, then use double quotes.

11-24-2005, 12:45 PM
In the UK, we use single quotes in published fiction, but double quotes in non-fiction. We're taught to always use double quotes at school. Most guidelines I've seen that mention it say to use double quotes in manuscripts, because it's easier to distinguish them from apostrophes then.

11-24-2005, 03:10 PM
But I peeked at a few books in my shelf and noticed they use the single ones for dialogue: ' .
Books I have from the UK use single quotes for dialogue. Books from the US use double.

Books from the UK that have direct quotes within quoted dialogue use double quotes to indicate that (as in, 'Well, then I heard her say, "Don't start that with me" to the squid.'), and in the US, it's reversed ("Well, then I heard her say, 'Don't start that with me' to the squid.")

12-03-2005, 07:30 PM
Thanks for all the replies, folks:) This morning I took the plunge and switched my manuscript from my beloved Georgia to Courier New. But I still have trouble! My quote marks aren't straight, they point to the oddest directions, as you can see from this image:
I thought they'd be straight with Courier. Although I have Courier New, does that make a difference? Can anybody offer any insights? Could this be because of some unicode settings, etc (my computer & programs are in my mother tongue, which uses the umlauts in certain letters)?
:Shrug:Hi, Tilda. For what it's worth, the quotes are pointing the right direction (to this American eye), no matter how odd they appear to you.

It's possible that your word processing program has an option labelled 'smart quotes' which can be turned on and off. On causes the quotation marks to curve as they do in your example. Off, straight up-and-down.

In Word (I have the 2002 version), you can change it by clicking on Tools, then from its drop-down menu, on AutoCorrect Options, then AutoFormat. The topmost check-box is Replace "straight quotes" with "smart quotes."

If you use something other than Word, try typing "smart quote" into its Help menu to find out how to turn it off.

Maryn, impressed by people who can write in two or more languages

12-03-2005, 07:33 PM
Once you turn off smart quotes, you might have to replace the ones you've already written. Just go to find/replace under Edit & replace " with " & that will fix all the ones you've already typed.

12-03-2005, 10:05 PM
I think they use single quotes in England and Canada... but if you're targeting American market, then use double quotes.

This is news to me, but in both my fiction and non-fiction (day job) I've been writing to an American market for years.

12-04-2005, 08:22 PM
Make sure you turn off "smart quotes" on both the Autoformat and the Autoformat As You Type tabs. The latter is actually the one that will control what happens when you're typing and performing search/replace procedures.

12-05-2005, 01:39 AM
Thank you so much for the smart quotes help! I found it in my Tools and ticked it off. But my quotation marks are still pointy:-(

I tried the replace function (" with ") but nothing happened. I tried switching fonts, saving the manuscript, closing it and opening it again. I tried to replace double quotes with single ones but they still appear as pointy ones. Whenever I press the double quotes key in my keypad, the pointy one still appears, even though I have smart quotes turned off (I've checked it many times, and the smart quote option really is off). I'm really getting desperate here, correcting all of them manually is such a huge job! :(

Anyone have any other insights? Could it be that Courier NEW just has those pointy quotes?
Thanks so much! :)Oh, I remember having this problem when I went from WordPerfect to Word, years ago. It's not Courier New so much as the program's ability to recognize its two types of quotation marks. Here's what fixed it then--maybe it will work for you now. (I've got my fingers crossed.)

Copy a curving 'smart quote,' then open search-and-replace. Paste the curving smart quote in the what-to-search-for box, and type a straight-up-and-down quote in the replace-with box. Click on Find Next and replace one, to make sure it works. If it does, click on Replace All.

That will replace exactly half of the smart quotes--all the ones curving that direction. Now copy and paste one that goes the other way and repeat.

Let us know how that turns out. If it's no good, we'll keep at it.

Maryn, determined to help