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    • Join Date: May 2010
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    British Quotes

    Which one--1 or 2? The British, I see, do it both ways. Notice the placement of the comma in both (the first part of the sentence). One way says to place the comma outside the quotes; the other says inside the quotes. Which way is it? I'm confused?

    1. 'Have you any idea', he said, 'what "dillygrout" is?'
    2. "Have you any idea," he said, "what 'dillygrout' is?"

    Oxford says: (I don't understand what they mean.

    NOTE the position of the punctuation in the following:
    ‘This is’, he said, ‘a very interesting book, which you should read.’ ‘This is a very interesting book,’ he said, ‘which you should read.’

    *What's the difference between the 2 above sentences?
    The comma is outside the quote mark, before ‘he said’, in the first case because it does not form part of the quoted sentence; it is inside the quote mark in the second case because it does form part of the quoted sentence.

    Thank you so much!

  1. konungursvia's Avatar
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    Re: British Quotes

    1. is British, as in the UK the so-called "inverted commas" come first, then the quotation marks proper. In America and Canada, and perhaps other places, I'm not sure about the Aussies, it's the other way around.

    Also, we call them single and double quotes, but don't use the phrase "inverted commas" in North America. Not much anyhow.

    Edit: I didn't notice you were American when I first answered. You know what we do here.

    Regarding the other point, the issue is whether the actual speaker sounded like he was doing a pause for a comma's length of time, or whether the comma was "inserted" by the writer reporting the speech.

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