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DebbieOhi
02-23-2006, 03:24 AM
Oh Julia, Grammar Goddess! I've been wondering about this question off and on for a couple years now and would very much appreciate your input.

I know that the following is correct:
He made his debut singing in “Faust.”

But I've always been a tad confused about whether or not to put my punctuation inside quotation marks in certain situations like the following:

The show began with a “sneak preview,” held at the hotel.

Leaving aside the question of whether the comma is necessary or not, is there a British vs American difference between where to place the comma (inside or outside the quote mark)? See the following article:

http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-pun1.htm

I'm Canadian, by the way, but usually try to stick to American spellings (killing all those poor letter 'u's, for example!) in my queries and submissions to U.S. markets.

Advice appreciated!

Debbie

maestrowork
02-23-2006, 03:56 AM
American: The show began with a "sneak preview," hosted at the hotel.

British: The show began with a 'sneak preview', hosted at the hotel.

I believe the British also use single quotes instead of double.

pdr
02-23-2006, 05:20 AM
I believe the British also use single quotes instead of double.

But I was taught in my English school that speech marks were " and quotation marks were '

So using your example and pretending it's speech it would look like this.
"The show began with a 'sneak preview', hosted at the hotel," she said.

I remember being taught that the Americans used a single ' for speech marks and a double " for quotations.

Mind you it was a long time ago. Perhaps it's an age thing again. Aruna, what did they teach you at HL's?

maestrowork
02-23-2006, 05:31 AM
I think it's the reverse (?)...

'The show began with a "sneak preview", hosted at the hotel,' she said.

In this case, actually, the inside quotes can be eliminated:

'The show began with a sneak preview, hosted at the hotel,' she said.

reph
02-23-2006, 05:32 AM
I remember being taught that the Americans used a single ' for speech marks and a double " for quotations.
That teaching wasn't accurate. Americans (I'm one) use " for both. If there's a quote within a quote, the inner quote gets ', and if there's a quote within the inner quote, we go back to ".

rekirts
02-23-2006, 08:22 PM
I'm Canadian and I was taught the same as reph.

I was also taught to use other punctuation marks within the quotation marks under all circumstances--which sometimes seems weird to me, but at least it's consistent.

Maryn
02-24-2006, 12:32 AM
I'm an American (tastefully small amount of flag waving) and I was taught several different things on this issue. Only as an adult did I realize my poor English teachers were often just that: poor English teachers.

They were right about one thing, though: The English language is in a constant state of change.

The standard of using double quotes to indicate irony or a freshly coined term is "old school." It's still correct, but increasingly, single quotes are the correct 'house style' for some publications. Since authors don't want to keep two versions of everything, they'd be wise to stick to the double quotes for the time being. If a publication's standard is singles, they'll change it.

Maryn, who can live with single quotes better than with alright

pdr
02-24-2006, 04:15 AM
Great, everyone, now I'm okay re the Americans - double of everything. If another expert would care to pop up and correct me on the British - is it double for speech and single for quotes? - I'd be delighted.

rekirts
02-24-2006, 05:41 AM
I have some books that were published in Britain. The dialogue is written with single marks ('). Quotes also seem to be with singles. I'll give a couple of examples because I'm not sure if this is what you mean.


Dio hastens to defend himself against anyone who might think that he was 'sullying the diginity of history' by recording such details.

and


The relationship between these features of layout in our Vindolanda letters and the layout of a 'literary' letter is a question of major interest...

I would think the British only use doubles for a quotation within a quotation.

Aconite
02-24-2006, 10:20 PM
I was also taught to use other punctuation marks within the quotation marks under all circumstances--which sometimes seems weird to me, but at least it's consistent.*blink* But then what about sentences like this one:

Who said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself"?

How were you taught to write that?

MMo
02-24-2006, 10:41 PM
*blink* But then what about sentences like this one:

Who said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself"?

How were you taught to write that?

Because the question mark goes to the entire sentence and not to the quoted part, it goes outside the quotation marks.

If the material had been,
Who said, "What is there to fear?"
the question mark would have gone to the quoted material and been placed inside the quotation mark.

Mo

Aconite
02-24-2006, 10:48 PM
Because the question mark goes to the entire sentence and not to the quoted part, it goes outside the quotation marks. I know. I was asking how the person who said they'd been taught to put all punctuation inside the quotation marks had been taught to write that.

MMo
02-24-2006, 10:55 PM
I know. I was asking how the person who said they'd been taught to put all punctuation inside the quotation marks had been taught to write that.

Sorry. I blinked. I can only blame in on insufficient caffeine in my system today.

Mo

rekirts
02-25-2006, 02:33 AM
*blink* But then what about sentences like this one:

Who said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself"?

How were you taught to write that?

Well, ya know...I thought I was taught to put all punctuation inside the quotation marks, but apparently I was either taught wrong or I remember wrong. This site has an excellent rundown of all these rules and their variations:
http://www.writersblock.ca/tips/monthtip/tipmay96.htm

Maryn
02-25-2006, 02:53 AM
It's always sobering to realize that the teacher didn't know what the hell she was talking about, too. I've had that come up several times, in English and in various hard sciences.

I guess they're human. Although they certainly didn't seem that way until at least high school.

luxintenebrae
02-25-2006, 03:41 AM
Thank you for the link, Rekirts. The American version shown there was the one I was taught, but it's nice to know the British version, too. I remembering arguing with my middle school English teacher about placing commas and periods inside quotation marks because it seemed illogical to me. Now it seems weird not to. But I'm so happy that I was right! (Well, I would've been if I'd lived in Britain, anyway.) :tongue

I have a question though that I couldn't find answered on the site, and it's been bugging me for some time. How would you space the quotation marks in a sentence like this?

Susan said, "I've never read 'The Road Not Taken.'"

or

Susan said, "I've never read 'The Road Not Taken.' "

Do you put a space between the single and double end quotation marks? I know it's a little thing, but it bothers me! It looks in books like there's a tiny space, but when I type in on the computer, the space looks too big. Thanks!!

MMo
02-25-2006, 03:51 AM
I have a question though that I couldn't find answered on the site, and it's been bugging me for some time. How would you space the quotation marks in a sentence like this?
Susan said, "I've never read 'The Road Not Taken.'"
or
Susan said, "I've never read 'The Road Not Taken.' "

Hi -- US copyeditor's hat on here. Book titles (and The Road Not Taken is a book title) are italicized, but short story titles and song titles (and many other things) are set in Roman type and quotation marks. In typesetting, there is a "thin space" but if in your manuscript you will just type it together ('title'") the copyeditor will insert a line and a comment for the typesetter. I haven't found a thin space in my word processor (someone else may know of one) but even if you found one and used it, or used ('title' "), the copyeditor is still going to have to mark it. This is not something you have to worry about at manuscript stage.

Mo

DebbieOhi
02-25-2006, 04:11 AM
Thanks for all the info, everyone, and especially for that link, Rekirts!

pdr
02-25-2006, 05:18 AM
Ditto, very helpful.

luxintenebrae
02-25-2006, 10:15 AM
Thanks, Mo - good to know I don't have to worry about that then. I didn't know The Road Not Taken was a book as well. I was actually just referring to the poem by Robert Frost. Unless you mean it was the title of an anthology he also published? But anyway, yes, I understand what you mean. :D Thank you for your help!

MMo
02-25-2006, 11:20 AM
Thanks, Mo - good to know I don't have to worry about that then. I didn't know The Road Not Taken was a book as well. I was actually just referring to the poem by Robert Frost.

You're welcome. But twice today I have messed up. I'm going to have to learn to read more carefully, slowly, and perhaps while moving my lips. I was thinking of The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck, not Frost's poem. Ooops. Well, the rest of my post was on point.

Mo

DebbieOhi
02-26-2006, 06:28 PM
Ok, I thought it was all clear to me now, but maybe it's not. What if we're talking about character/book titles? I'm wrestling with some dialogue in an upcoming comic strip where a character is reading out potential titles for a children's book mascot character/book from a written list:

"Sammy The Salt Shaker"?
"Deirdre The Dust Bunny"?

When I try putting the question mark inside the quote, it looks wrong:

"Sammy The Salt Shaker?"
"Deirdre The Dust Bunny?"

And I want to make it clear that the name of the character/book is not a question.


Also, using the example I gave at the beginning of this thread, what if I had phrased my example as a question? i.e. Which of the following is correct:

Did he make his debut singing "Faust?"
Did he make his debut singing "Faust"?

Assume that the question is being asked in e-mail, so no option for italics is possible. The first looks incorrect to me, though it follows the rules we've been discussing.

Thanks,

Debbie

Aconite
02-26-2006, 06:40 PM
Assume that the question is being asked in e-mail, so no option for italics is possible. You don't default to quotation marks just because you can't have italics, though. Maybe something like _this_ would work for you?


The first looks incorrect to me, though it follows the rules we've been discussing.No, you're right--the first is incorrect (it doesn't follow the rules). The second is the correct one.

In your examples, the names are not questions, so the question marks would come after the quotation marks.

Maryn
02-26-2006, 07:28 PM
I'm with Aconite on this. (Hi!)

The question mark goes inside the quotes only if the name of the thing ends with a question mark.

Do you like Tiamat's "Do You Dream of Me?" The song title includes a question mark, so it's inside the quote, and not repeated even when it's the last element in a question.
I like "Do You Dream of Me?" The song title includes a question mark, so it's inside the quote.
Don't you like "A Deeper Kind of Slumber"? The song title doesn't include a question mark, so the question mark that ends this sentence goes outside the quote.

Maryn, making it all clear as mud

dancingandflying
02-26-2006, 10:47 PM
i believe that when the title or whatever does not have a question mark or exclamation mark in the name, it goes on the outside of the quotation mark:
i.e. the show began with a "sneak preview"!
i.e. have you read "sammy the salt shaker"?
but, if the title does have a question mark or exclamation mark in the name, it goes inside the quotation mark.
i.e. have you ever heard the song, "Do You Dream of Me?"

hope this helps!

reph
02-26-2006, 11:03 PM
Debbie, Maryn gave the right answers. I'll add that these decisions aren't made by following an arbitrary rule or a convention that writers must memorize (except for quote mark and comma or quote mark and period). They go by plain logic. Here's the sense they make.

When you enclose a speech in quotation marks, you enclose the whole speech, including its punctuation. So, if someone asks a question, the question mark goes inside the quotes.

If you're writing dialogue and your character asks a question, one line in the manuscript might look like this:

"Where did Lynn go last night?"
The question mark is part of the speech. It stays inside the quotes if you add some narrative and a speech tag:

Sylvia took a deep breath and said, "Where did Lynn go last night?"
The same procedure applies to a title within a speech. The opera title isn't

Faust?
It's

Faust
Accordingly, your line of dialogue will read

"Did he make his debut singing Faust?"

The question mark is italicized, by a convention that a punctuation mark immediately after an italic word is also italic. You can blame printers for that one.

Opera titles are italic, so let's look at song titles, which are in quotes.

Song title is a a question

He knows the lyrics to "Am I Blue?"
Does he know the lyrics to "Am I Blue?" (Logically, there'd be another question mark after the second quotation mark. Only the clunky appearance prevents writers from putting one there.)

Song title is not a question

He knows the lyrics to "Jingle Bells."
Does he know the lyrics to "Jingle Bells"?

DebbieOhi
02-27-2006, 12:05 AM
re: using logic...The problem is that sometimes the logic seems to differ slightly, depending on where you are. :-) It was this article (http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-pun1.htm) that inspired my first post, after all.

But it does seem that I've been using punctuation with quotes correctly (or at least interpreted as correct by some rules), so I'm not going to angst over it.

Thanks, everyone!

Ilovepensandpaper
02-27-2006, 10:56 AM
The quotation marks are a little hard for me too. I've also used the "" and the '' when something other than a title needs quotes, like a character name. What I am still confused on after reading the posts is (well, let me show you):

Have you ever heard of the song "Where is She Now?"? (Do you put that second '?' there?)

"I talked to Mitch and he said to me "You need to get out of my face."". (What about this?)

Book quotes are the same way. I get to the end of the quote, period quotation mark, but I am also at the end of my sentence. Do I put another period or whatever the punctuation would be....

Hmmmm...

reph
02-27-2006, 11:22 AM
Have you ever heard of the song "Where is She Now?"? (Do you put that second '?' there?)
No, you leave it out. Remember this explanation from a couple of posts back?

Does he know the lyrics to "Am I Blue?" (Logically, there'd be another question mark after the second quotation mark. Only the clunky appearance prevents writers from putting one there.)


"I talked to Mitch and he said to me "You need to get out of my face."".
Use single quotes around the inner quotation.

"I talked to Mitch, and he said to me, 'You need to get out of my face.'"


Book quotes are the same way.
Use single quotes around the inner quotation whether it's speech or writing.

Ilovepensandpaper
03-01-2006, 10:21 AM
No, you leave it out. Remember this explanation from a couple of posts back?

Does he know the lyrics to "Am I Blue?" (Logically, there'd be another question mark after the second quotation mark. Only the clunky appearance prevents writers from putting one there.)


Use single quotes around the inner quotation.

"I talked to Mitch, and he said to me, 'You need to get out of my face.'"


Use single quotes around the inner quotation whether it's speech or writing.
Thanks. I did see the other posts, but I guess I was still confused or something. Well, thanks for explaining it again, and sorry about that.