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  1. #1
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Default British Punctuation Is Growing in America

    (1) I have just read that many Americans are abandoning the practice

    of putting commas and periods inside of the quotation marks.

    (2) Because of the Web and email, more and more Americans are

    using the British practice (commas and periods outside of the

    quotation marks). Many people feel that it makes "more sense."

    (OR: "more sense".)

    (3) The experts say that the American practice will survive in formal

    writing (books, newspapers, etc.) but that the British system is becoming

    the norm in social media (Facebook, etc.). In fact, many American

    university instructors may have to eventually accept it in their students'

    research papers. (Many of their students know neither the American nor

    British "rules": they just see more of the British practice and imitate it.)

    (4) The article about this startling development is available on Google

    by typing in:

    The Rise of "Logical Punctuation" by Ben Yagoda, Slate magazine

    (I do not know how to link.)


    Respectfully yours,


    James

  2. #2
    freezeframe is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: British Punctuation Is Growing in America

    I just read that article and I got to ask -- is this really such an issue? Does it really matter where the period goes? If only I had his problems.

  3. #3
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: British Punctuation Is Growing in America

    I do think that the BrE approach is more logical and allows greater flexibility (on this issue).

  4. #4
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: British Punctuation Is Growing in America

    My Blackberry automatically adds a "." after a sentence when I type two spaces (another issue, I know). So if typing on it, I have to either live with the period outside of the quotation mark, or go through gyrations to make it stop!

    Otherwise, I use the "American" style. Sadly, I think most people are happy these days if people can even form a coherent sentence.

  5. #5
    freezeframe is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: British Punctuation Is Growing in America

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    I do think that the BrE approach is more logical and allows greater flexibility (on this issue).
    What's more logical about it?

    The article mentions many assumptions that are never explained. The "best" of which is

    That is, if you put a period or comma inside quotation marks, you are wrongly suggesting that the period or comma is part of the quoted material, and thus you have "changed" it.
    which is a clever argument but can be easily argued against.


    PS And what's wrong with punctuating according to aesthetics anyway?

  6. #6
    Route21's Avatar
    Route21 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: British Punctuation Is Growing in America

    The logic I tend to use, as a Brit, is that the full-stop (period) should come at the end of the sentence:

    1. If the quoted text ends a quoted sentence, then I would put a full-stop inside the quote marks, to indicate that ended the quoted sentence.

    2. If it doesn't (i.e. is just an extract) then I place the full-stop at the end of my sentence.

    I am a little reluctant to put a second full-stop at the end of my sentence in case 1, although my logic says I should.

    R21

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