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Thread: Box brackets

  1. #1
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    Default Box brackets

    I was never good at English and am a terrible speller but I have improved over the years and keep trying to improve even more.

    What is driving my mad at the moment is that I have been looking at Nick Robinson's blog and he quotes Gordon Brown thus:

    Gordon Brown backed AV at Prime Minister's Questions recently, claiming that "[g]iven the issues that have arisen about trust in politics, there is a case for every member of this House coming here with the support of more than 50% of the electors," but has met etc.

    Why has the g in given been put in box brackets?
    Does it mean that Hansard recorded it as 'iven' and NR has put the 'g' back in and marked it, or is there something else going on?

    Thanks, Tony

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Box brackets

    I seems I am not the only one who doesn't understand the box brackets in the quoted blog.
    I have posted the same question to Nick Robinson but don't expect a reply as it is 'off subject'.
    This is like a tune going round and round in my head. I don't want it but I can't stop it. I need to know.

    Tony

  3. #3
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: Box brackets

    It implies that with the "g" was omitted in some report, or that an incorrect letter was used. The square brackets are used to indicate insertion of the correct letter.

  4. #4
    Barb_D's Avatar
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    Default Re: Box brackets

    The use of these square brackets is to insert what was meant in a quote, even if it was not what was actually said.

    For example, the person is speaking or writing about someone named John Smith but in the part you want to quote, he just says "he." When you quote, you insert "[Smith]" instead of "he" so the reader knows who is being referred to.

    You can also do it to correct a mistake.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Box brackets

    Quote Originally Posted by secondarymodern View Post

    Gordon Brown backed AV at Prime Minister's Questions recently, claiming that "[g]iven the issues that have arisen about trust in politics, there is a case for every member of this House coming here with the support of more than 50% of the electors," but has met etc.

    Why has the g in given been put in box brackets?
    Does it mean that Hansard recorded it as 'iven' and NR has put the 'g' back in and marked it, or is there something else going on?

    Thanks, Tony
    In Hansard, you willl probably find it's at the start of a sentence and a capital letter, so he is using the square brackets to show a change he has made to fit the requirements of his text.

    Given -> given

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    Default Re: Box brackets

    Thanks again Tdol.
    That make perfect sense. NR changed a capital letter into lower case.
    A bit pedantic to mark it though.

    It's a great site this one. I will be reading it a lot.
    Tony

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    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Box brackets

    It's probably a requirement of the BBC, as a legal safeguard, to show any changes made at all to a quote- we live in very litigious times.

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