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tashirosgt
2011-Oct-31, 11:09 PM
I gather that the American style of punctuation is to place punctuations at the end of quotations inside the final quotes and to use a comma in place of a period. An example would be: "I am going over there in order to kill him," said Leeland.

But is there a rule that a phrase like "said Leeland" can only occur at the beginning or end of a quoted sentence? Suppose I wanted to put "said Leeland" in the middle of the quoted sentence somewhere. How would that be punctuated? Do we put a comma inside the quotes even though it doesn't make sense as comma or period when the quoted sentence is written by itself?

"I am going over there," said Leeland "in order to kill him."

It might be un-American, but it looks more logical to me to write:

"I am going over there", said Leeland, "in order to kill him."

Noclevername
2011-Oct-31, 11:19 PM
"I am going over there", said Leeland, "in order to kill him."

This is the way I've always written it, and prior to the World Wide Web, the way I'd always seen it written. The comma goes right before the second half of the quote.

Jens
2011-Nov-01, 12:07 AM
"I am going over there," said Leeland "in order to kill him."


About the first question, of course there is no rule that you can't put the "said" part in the middle or the start of the sentence.

About the style, I'm not absolutely sure but I think we add another comma, so that I would write it:

"I am going over there," said Leeland, "in order to kill him."

The commas are not in the original sentence, but are used to basically as pauses. You'll notice that when you speak the sentence, you'll put pauses before the "said" and after the "Leeland."

And one last thing is that although the distinction between US and British punctuation does exist, my own impression is that it's only really at the very formal level, i.e. newspapers and publishers and the like, where it is strictly observed. I work with Americans who put punctuation outside of the quotation marks. My understanding is that the American style originated from a problem with typesetting (something about lead pieces breaking or something), and that it is unnecessary now with modern typography. Just like the rule about putting two spaces after a period. With a typewriter it made paragraphs more legible, but nowadays is unnecessary.

Gillianren
2011-Nov-01, 12:27 AM
Americans who put punctuation outside the quotation marks are incorrect by the standards of American grammar. (Except occasionally question marks and exclamation points. But that's a different discussion.) I don't know why it's the case; the typographical explanation doesn't make sense to me. Surely the problem would be the same regardless of which side of the Atlantic you were on.

In the questioned example, however, "said Leeland" is what is called a "parenthetical phrase." It's a part of the sentence which isn't necessary for the sentence to make sense. These are always set apart from the rest of the sentence by commas. It's just that, in this case, you also have the quotation marks to fiddle with.

Nowhere Man
2011-Nov-01, 12:45 AM
I usually put the punctuation outside of the quotes when it is not part of the literal thing I am quoting. For instance, the value of the variable strName is "Fred". This is to imply that the period is not part of the value of the variable. This comes from my computer-programming training. Otherwise, I follow Strunk & White (as far as I can remember them). He said, "My name is Fred."

I would write it as: "I am going over there," said Leeland, "in order to kill him." The commas separate the three distinct parts of the sentence.

Fred

tashirosgt
2011-Nov-01, 01:10 AM
It interesting that the current Wikipedia article on "Quotation Martk" contains the example:

"Good morning, Frank", greeted Hal.

rather than

"Good morning, Frank," greeted Hal.


Its interesting to me why the first comma is needed in a sentence like:

Hal said, "Good morning, Frank."

but (to my mind) the comma would not be used in a sentence like:

Hal is fond of saying "Good morning, Frank."

Gillianren
2011-Nov-01, 03:11 AM
The current Wikipedia article is wrong, and I'm pretty sure it's wrong no matter which English-speaking country you're in. And, yes, I'd use the comma in your final example.

HenrikOlsen
2011-Nov-01, 03:29 AM
Americans who put punctuation outside the quotation marks are incorrect by the standards of American grammar. (Except occasionally question marks and exclamation points. But that's a different discussion.) I don't know why it's the case; the typographical explanation doesn't make sense to me. Surely the problem would be the same regardless of which side of the Atlantic you were on.
It makes sense to me. It's a typographical trick that overrides logical sentence structure, and it makes a lot of sense that it was invented for a reason that has nothing to do with grammar. There's absolutely nothing in that rule that makes a sentence easier to parse.

That our side of the Atlantic didn't allow typographers to mess with our sentences isn't really an argument against your guys letting them. After all, lower class English being more prevalent was the reason for quite a lot of the shift making American a distinct language.

Jens
2011-Nov-01, 03:53 AM
After all, lower class English being more prevalent was the reason for quite a lot of the shift making American a distinct language.

Is it really a question of class so much or one of regional dialect? My understanding about the use of "ain't" for example is that it is now largely a lower class usage in British English but that in the 18th century, it wasn't, but was used in some regions more than others.

Jens
2011-Nov-01, 04:00 AM
Surely the problem would be the same regardless of which side of the Atlantic you were on.


Sure it would be the same. I suppose it's just a question that there was a trade-off between the logical positioning of punctuation marks and the typographical issue, and that it went different ways on the two sides of the Atlantic. Actually, according to this article (http://macheist.com/forums/viewtopic.php?id=12703), the use of "typesetters' quotes" was used in Britain earlier but that people in the 19th century began to argue in favor of more logical rules. So it may simply be that the British reverted to a more logical form as the situation allowed, whereas the Americans stayed with the tradition.

Ara Pacis
2011-Nov-01, 04:21 AM
I put the comma outside the quotes because it's not part of the original text. I know it's "wrong", but I do it anyway. However, when writing dialogue it might be better to keep the comma inside the quote if the speaker pauses, otherwise he may be breathless by the end of the sentence. I read an impassioned defense of keeping the comma out of a quote by a Scandinavian on the web somewhere because that's how they do it, but I can't find the page now.

HenrikOlsen
2011-Nov-01, 06:44 AM
I can write one if you need it. :)

Though I wouldn't argue it should be changed because we do it, but because it's just plain silly.

Ivan Viehoff
2011-Nov-01, 12:09 PM
The current Wikipedia article is wrong, and I'm pretty sure it's wrong no matter which English-speaking country you're in. And, yes, I'd use the comma in your final example.
I agree. That is precisely what I was taught to do as a child in Britain.

The rise of desk top publishing has resulted in long practice of typesetters being upset by people who think something else is somehow more "logical," and thuse are unaware of the aesthetic hierarchy of marks. What particularly annoys me is people putting the footnote mark before the full stop. They seem to feel that putting it after means that it is now somehow beyond the sentence, instead of being appended to it.

profloater
2011-Nov-01, 12:18 PM
I have not checked but I think Fowler's says you can use either ," or ", and of course since there is no equivalent to the acadamie française for english there is definitely no rule. the commentators rely on common usage by literary types such as novelists. Plain English only requires that there is no ambiguity unless of course ambiguity is exactly what you want to convey.

Strange
2011-Nov-01, 01:35 PM
I only seem to have heard that there is (supposedly) a US/British difference in this very recently - as in months, maybe even weeks.

I just went and checked a few books printed in England from the middle of last century to this year. I have also looked at some newspapers and magazines. In almost all of these the standard seems to be that punctuation (comma or period) goes inside the quote. (The newspaper, which is just a free local rag, has occasional uses of the comma outside the quote - I will try and check a more reputable journal later).


I have not checked but I think Fowler's says you can use either ," or ",

Indeed. He refers to the former as the "conventional" style and the other as "logical". He doesn't recommend one or the other but he seems to prefer the logical style, even though the book uses the conventional.

I found a copy of Partridge's Usage and Absuage as well. He defers to another book for this "very tricky" problem although the book, surprisingly, uses the logical style.


and of course since there is no equivalent to the acadamie française for english there is definitely no rule.

True. But there are publishers' style guides, which are usually quite rigidly enforced.

Paul Beardsley
2011-Nov-01, 02:13 PM
What particularly annoys me is people putting the footnote mark before the full stop. They seem to feel that putting it after means that it is now somehow beyond the sentence, instead of being appended to it.

It depends what the footnote refers to.


He was the best-known expert on omoplatoscopy*.

Here, I would expect the footnote to comment on the final word, e.g. explain what "omoplatoscopy" means.


He was the best-known expert on omoplatoscopy.*

Here, I would expect the footnote to comment on the whole sentence, e.g. inform the reader that although he was the best-known, there were several other less-well-known experts who are now regarded as superior.

I also draw a distinction between a quotation and a qualifier. In the latter case, I regard the quotation marks as part of the word.

So, for a quotation: "I went to see my friend," she said.

But if your friend has let you down and you're feeling bitter and sarcastic, you might write: My wife is now living with my "friend".

tashirosgt
2011-Nov-01, 03:31 PM
And, yes, I'd use the comma in your final example.

Do you mean the example:

Hal is fond of saying "Good morning, Frank."

So you would write it:

Hal is fond of saying, "Good morning Frank."

?


Or did you mean you would never omit the first comma from:

Hal said, "Good morning, Frank."

?

grapes
2011-Nov-01, 04:02 PM
I put the comma outside the quotes because it's not part of the original text. I know it's "wrong", but I do it anyway. However, when writing dialogue it might be better to keep the comma inside the quote if the speaker pauses, otherwise he may be breathless by the end of the sentence. I read an impassioned defense of keeping the comma out of a quote by a Scandinavian on the web somewhere because that's how they do it, but I can't find the page now.I remember that the BA defended the practice. Good enough for me. :)

Gillianren
2011-Nov-01, 05:58 PM
So you would write it:

Hal is fond of saying, "Good morning Frank."?

Actually, I would write it thus--Hal is fond of saying, "Good morning, Frank."

Ara Pacis
2011-Nov-01, 07:03 PM
Interesting thoughts. I admit, the legibility and aesthetics does seem to increase with the comma being before the quotation marks. Since we read right to left it seems to flow better. However, businesses and technical people tend to want logical rules in order to avoid ambiguity, especially if it could be legally actionable. I've seen and I've written myself about a business as Widgets Co., Inc., because that's the name of the company and there's always a comma between Company and Incorporated, and always a period after Incorporated. I didn't necessarily like that practice, but it was what was expected.

I also sometimes make inline quotes without any commas, if there is no pause necessary, although it often requires or at least benefits from introductory wording. However, that can be conflated with the Ironic Use of Quotation Marks, so one must be careful of the context.

Inline quote: It looks like the "partly sunny with a chance of rain" forecast was a little off-target for today.
Ironic quote: It looks like the partly sunny with a chance of rain "forecast" was a little off-target for today.

BTW, I should double check this with you guys. If we quote a passage that itself includes a quotation, do we use apostrophe's around the nested quotation? What about even more deeply nested quotations?

Strange
2011-Nov-01, 07:39 PM
BTW, I should double check this with you guys. If we quote a passage that itself includes a quotation, do we use apostrophe's around the nested quotation? What about even more deeply nested quotations?

Ah, now here there is a US/UK divide (I think). The standard in the UK is to use single quotes, reserving double quotes for nested quotations. The US is the reverse.

Paul Beardsley
2011-Nov-01, 08:05 PM
Since we read right to left

?


do we use apostrophe's around the nested quotation? What about even more deeply nested quotations?

We certainly don't use an apostrophe in "apostrophes" to indicate the plural of apostrophe!

Otherwise good points - I like the ironic "forecast" example.


Ah, now here there is a US/UK divide (I think). The standard in the UK is to use single quotes, reserving double quotes for nested quotations. The US is the reverse.

I think that's more house style than side of the Atlantic.

Fazor
2011-Nov-01, 08:26 PM
I always want to put the punctuation outside of the quotations (or, more commonly, the parenthesis.) Because, for worse or worse, I structure a lot of sentences like the former. It just seems like, since the punctuation is punctuating the entire line, it should go outside the quotes/parenthesis/whatever. Because inside, it feels like you're just punctuation the 'inside-bit' (which is the correct grammatical term, I believe!)

But, as you can see, I now use them inside because that's how I understand it 'should' be.

Paul Beardsley
2011-Nov-01, 08:59 PM
But, as you can see, I now use them inside because that's how I understand it 'should' be.

Not really. It depends on what you're doing.

If you're putting something in brackets, you put the full stop in brackets too if the thing is a whole sentence. If it's an aside, or more information, you put the brackets outside.

I got an email from Emma (my next door neighbour).
Emma sent me an email. (She is my next door neighbour.)

Gillianren
2011-Nov-01, 09:14 PM
I think that's more house style than side of the Atlantic.

Nope. It is correct in the US to use double first then single, and anyone using single then double in the US is incorrect. My understanding is that it is exactly the opposite in the UK. But the fun thing is where Canada, Australia, and New Zealand fall on the spectrum in any grammar issue. Canada tends to lean toward US usage, simply because they're right next door and exposed to our media all the time. Australia and New Zealand, so far as I can tell, tend to lean toward UK usage. But these are tendencies and not absolutes.

Paul Beardsley
2011-Nov-01, 09:31 PM
Nope. It is correct in the US to use double first then single, and anyone using single then double in the US is incorrect. My understanding is that it is exactly the opposite in the UK.

Well, whereas I have certainly seen many UK books begin with single quotes (then double quotes for nested quotes, then single again for nested-in-nested) I am pretty sure I have seen the opposite too. My understanding is that it simply has to be consistent, and alternating for each new level of nesting.

Also, when I was taught to use quotation marks at school, they were always double quotes. In fact some children called them sixty-sixes and ninety-nines..

I was aware that books usually followed the single quote convention, but, as I say, not always.

HenrikOlsen
2011-Nov-02, 04:17 AM
Grammar for some reason tends to be more restrictive in American, where something is strictly mandated one way in American, in English it can be used both ways, e.g the -ise/-ize ending, for cases where American mandates -ize, English allows both (unless you're using MS Words spell checker in which case -ize is forbidden).

I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to learn that in English, the rule is to switch between single and double quotes, and use the same type as the outermost consistently, but leaving it to house style which must be used as the outermost.

Ara Pacis
2011-Nov-02, 07:43 AM
?

We certainly don't use an apostrophe in "apostrophes" to indicate the plural of apostrophe!Sorry, I was tired and not feeling well last night and apparently disconnected my brain before my fingers.

Cougar
2011-Nov-02, 01:48 PM
Americans who put punctuation outside the quotation marks are incorrect by the standards of American grammar. (Except occasionally question marks and exclamation points. But that's a different discussion.)

It's always wise to agree with Gillian on questions of grammar. Punctuation almost always goes inside the quotation marks. I'm not sure how to simply identify the exceptions. Who coined the term "the Big Bang"? [Q-mark outside.] If the Q-mark is part of the quote, of course it goes inside. He asked, "Is there supposed to be a comma?"

Fazor
2011-Nov-02, 02:32 PM
Of course, empirical evidence suggests that the standard internet grammar rules are to use punctuation randomly and inconsistently, if at all.

Strange
2011-Nov-02, 02:43 PM
Of; course-empirical evidence. suggests that, the standard internet !grammar! rules Are To use punctuation: randomly and inconsistently' if at all:

There, fixed that for you.

Gillianren
2011-Nov-02, 05:08 PM
The technical term is "punctuation by shotgun."

Fazor
2011-Nov-02, 05:43 PM
The technical term is "punctuation by shotgun."
Funny. My grammar teachers used to threaten me with a shotgun if I didn't start using better punctuation, but I suppose that's an entirely different term!

Ara Pacis
2011-Nov-02, 06:07 PM
Not to be confused with an ellipsis, which is a three round burst from a fully auto.

Trebuchet
2011-Nov-02, 11:33 PM
Didn't we have this whole thread a couple of years ago?

I tend to ignore the rules and put the punctuation wherever it looks right to me. This seems to be mostly on whether it belongs to the original quote.

Ara Pacis
2011-Nov-03, 06:57 AM
Didn't we have this whole thread a couple of years ago?

I tend to ignore the rules and put the punctuation wherever it looks right to me. This seems to be mostly on whether it belongs to the original quote.We've reached the end of the internet. You can go home now.

Solfe
2011-Dec-10, 07:04 AM
We've reached the end of the internet. You can go home now.

"You have reached the end of the Internet, why didn't you spell check it?"

Yes, I am late to the party again, but I have an odd observation based on reading this thread.

I asked my Spanish teacher why she uses double quotation in some cases and single marks in others. She responded that she spent so much time overseas that she uses the UK style EXCEPT when writing on a chalkboard. In that case she uses double quotation marks so no one mistakes a dirty chalkboard for punctuation.

Funny, eh?

grapes
2011-Dec-10, 06:19 PM
Been using an iPhone for a month, iPad a little longer. An ellipsis is followed by auto capitalization. If I try to put a question mark inside the quote, it will add an extraneous period after the quote. Weird.

ETA: OK, just thought of something, it only tries to capitalize after the ellipsis if I add a space after the ellipsis first. Mea culpa.

Paul Beardsley
2011-Dec-10, 06:31 PM
It's always good to see people with the integrity to apologise to their phones.

Jeff Root
2011-Dec-10, 07:02 PM
How about if you also put a space ... before the ellipsis?

If I understood correctly, Gillian said, in a thread, a year
or so ago, to put spaces between the periods . . . which
seems crazy excessive to me. The exact opposite of the
newfangled character sets we got nowadays with computer
fonts.… Three dots squished into the space of a single
character!

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Gillianren
2011-Dec-10, 07:24 PM
That is what Gillian said, because it's correct. Only they're changing it these days, because apparently, we don't need no stinkin' spaces in typography anymore. I still double-space after periods, though.

Tobin Dax
2011-Dec-10, 09:17 PM
I asked my Spanish teacher why she uses double quotation in some cases and single marks in others. She responded that she spent so much time overseas that she uses the UK style EXCEPT when writing on a chalkboard. In that case she uses double quotation marks so no one mistakes a dirty chalkboard for punctuation.

Funny, eh?

Not really. That's essentially the same reason that I like to see zeroes written in front of the decimal point in numbers between zero and one. I can usually figure out that there is a decimal point in 0.232, but it can be harder to notice in .232, on the board or on paper.

GeorgeLeRoyTirebiter
2011-Dec-11, 07:41 AM
That is what Gillian said, because it's correct. Only they're changing it these days, because apparently, we don't need no stinkin' spaces in typography anymore. I still double-space after periods, though.

For proper historical spacing you should double-space between words (and the periods in an ellipsis) and quadruple-space after a full stop, since the modern interword space is about half that of a century ago.

I find most of the precomposed ellipsis characters to be too tight—some of them are even narrower than three unspaced periods! My personal preference is to use a space that's 1/6 to 1/8 of an em, depending on the typeface. Easy to do in TeX, tricky in a webpage, barely possible in a forum post.

DonM435
2011-Dec-12, 02:30 AM
I've read enough internet postings to convince me that all "browsers" should be programmed to require every 500th keystroke to be some kind of punctiation.

Gillianren
2011-Dec-12, 02:34 AM
Or at least one out of every five hundred. Though of course that would also mean you couldn't type in the works of William Faulkner, and wouldn't that be a pity . . . .

grapes
2011-Dec-12, 02:22 PM
It's always good to see people with the integrity to apologise to their phones.well, I'm taking it back. Why should the next letter after 0.999... Be capitalized?

Unless you just want to scream. :)

Jeff Root
2011-Dec-12, 08:45 PM
I presume it is capitalized if it is part of the title of a thread.
But I searched for the thread and couldn't find it. I'm not
very good at searching....

-- Jeff, in ... Minneapolis

HenrikOlsen
2011-Dec-12, 09:56 PM
well, I'm taking it back. Why should the next letter after 0.999... Be capitalized?

Unless you just want to scream. :)
It shouldn't. On the other hand, the next letter after "0.999...." should.

Solfe
2011-Dec-13, 04:54 AM
Ah... 0.9999999... What does it mean?

Oh, there I have done it. I have mix my memes.

Ara Pacis
2011-Dec-13, 06:24 AM
I think someone told me that you put a period after an ellipsis if you're ending a sentence.

Gillianren
2011-Dec-13, 07:11 AM
Quite right. You still have to end the sentence, and an ellipsis is not a sentence-ending punctuation marks any more than a comma is. You can, in theory, follow it with a question mark or even exclamation point, but those are extremely rare occasions.

Ara Pacis
2011-Dec-13, 07:32 AM
Oh, I use it with a question mark on occasion, when writing or simulating dialogue, but I agree that an exclamation point would seem strange.

DonM435
2011-Dec-13, 01:33 PM
National Review once had a whimsical style guide (no doubt composed by William F. Buckley, Jr.) that said the only acceptable use of the exclamation point was in a quotation, and only if the speaker had been recently disembowled.

Gillianren
2011-Dec-13, 08:02 PM
It wouldn't surprise me if it were Buckley, who is not the person of his ilk on whom I've relied for style advice. If I am going to take style advice from someone who is also a conservative political commentator, William Safire all the way. And he wasn't quite so staid about them. Sparingly, but not that sparingly.

SeanF
2011-Dec-15, 02:11 AM
It shouldn't. On the other hand, the next letter after "0.999...." should.
Don't you mean, "the next letter after '0.999....' Should"? :D

HenrikOlsen
2011-Dec-15, 03:58 AM
No, the full stop within the quotation marks do not stop the surrounding sentence, if it was intended to end the surrounding sentence it would have been outside the quotation marks. I'm well aware that this is probably wrong by American grammar, but it is one point where I won't budge. I use logical rather than grammatical punctuation of quotations. As a mathematically inclined programmer the interleaving of logical levels resulting from American punctuation hurts my mind every time I stop and think about it.

SeanF
2011-Dec-15, 05:03 PM
As Foghorn Leghorn was wont to say, "That was a joke, son." :)

HenrikOlsen
2011-Dec-15, 05:12 PM
The ":D" rather hinted at that, which didn't make it less of a trigger for a bit of ranting.

Solfe
2011-Dec-15, 07:56 PM
Quite right. You still have to end the sentence, and an ellipsis is not a sentence-ending punctuation marks any more than a comma is. You can, in theory, follow it with a question mark or even exclamation point, but those are extremely rare occasions.

I thought in the case of an ellipsis ending sentence, normal punctuation is used unless that punctuation was a period. In that case it is omitted.

Swinging back to the ACTUAL issue, my grammar or lack thereof, what is a good guide book on the subject?

Gillianren
2011-Dec-15, 08:09 PM
Strunk & White is the classic, of course. It isn't perfect, but it's certainly a good grounding. There are also various style books, but the problem with pretty much all of them is that they're for some organization or another which has its own take on certain rules. For a fun overview, Eats Shoots and Leaves, by Lynne Truss, is one I'd suggest.

And, no, the period is not omitted when ending the sentence with an ellipsis. You cannot just end a sentence with an ellipsis if you want it to be grammatically correct. As I said, it's just the same as a comma that way; you wouldn't end a sentence with a comma, would you?

Jeff Root
2011-Dec-15, 09:17 PM
Only a certified grammarian can tell whether a given ellipsis
contains a period. To the rest of us, they all contain periods,
and the number of periods suggests the length of the......
delay.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Strange
2011-Dec-15, 10:38 PM
I haven't read it all yet, but this series of articles might be relevant: http://chronicle.com/blogs/linguafranca/2011/12/13/quoting-well-part-3-dot-dot-dot/

Paul Beardsley
2011-Dec-15, 11:02 PM
Strunk & White is great for style (which is basically what it says on the tin) as a guide to writing prose that doesn't read in the way that fingernails on a blackboard sound.

To actually learn grammar (as in, "I speak English as my native language but I don't know what the present perfect is or when to use it,") I recommend the Murphy books.

Strange
2011-Dec-15, 11:28 PM
Strunk & White is great for style (which is basically what it says on the tin) as a guide to writing prose that doesn't read in the way that fingernails on a blackboard sound.

Again, xkcd had something to say about this: http://xkcd.com/923/

I have never read Strunk & White, but judging by some of the comments here (http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=3260) not everyone is a fan.

Gillianren
2011-Dec-16, 02:42 AM
One of my best friends giggled herself sick about that one. She doesn't often care for XKCD, but that happened to lie at the intersection of two of her obsessions.

The thing is, I don't usually bother with grammar books--there's very little they can teach me that I don't already know--so I don't really have a go-to list. Except the one I'm writing myself, obviously. I read a lot of books about the English language--On Language, by William Safire, and On Writing, by Stephen King, for example--but grammar texts? Not since elementary school.

Solfe
2011-Dec-16, 02:47 AM
Hum. I will give them both a try, starting with Murphy's. I figure it will help me with both Spanish and English classes. Style can wait. :)