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    • Join Date: Sep 2006
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    #1

    " " or ' '

    rules disinguishing the two in writing

  1. #2

    Re: " " or ' '

    We use single quotation marks when there is a quote within a quote, such as in this (imagination-lacking) example:

    John said: "Mary said 'I am tired', or something like that".

  2. rewboss's Avatar

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    #3

    Re: " " or ' '

    In the USA, it is normal to use double quotation marks, with single quotation marks denoting quotes within quotes, as Mariner states.

    In Britain, however, it has traditionally been the other way around: single quotation marks are the norm, double quotation marks for embedded quotes. Britain is now switching to the American style -- as far as I know, most newspapers and nearly all websites use the American style. But you'll still find the British style in books published in Britain.

    US style:

    "I didn't hear very clearly," said Pete, "but what she said sounded like, 'What's that monster doing under my bed?'"

    British literary style:

    'I didn't hear very clearly,' said Pete, 'but what she said sounded like, "What's that monster doing under my bed?"'


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    #4

    Re: " " or ' '

    Thanks, that helps

    David

  3. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: " " or ' '

    Quote Originally Posted by TheFinalRevolution View Post
    Thanks, that helps

    David
    A more common example involves the use of "scare quotes", which are quotation marks used to call something out, such as a word we are discussing on a forum.

    John said, "I never use 'had had' in a sentence." (AE)
    John said, 'I never use "had had" in a sentence.' (BE)

  4. rewboss's Avatar

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    #6

    Re: " " or ' '

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    A more common example involves the use of "scare quotes", which are quotation marks used to call something out, such as a word we are discussing on a forum.

    John said, "I never use 'had had' in a sentence." (AE)
    John said, 'I never use "had had" in a sentence.' (BE)
    Those aren't scare quotes; scare quotes are used for the purposes of irony, or otherwise to distance oneself from somebody else's words:

    The Prime Minister called this "the greatest thing since sliced bread". [Those are the PM's words; I do not necessarily agree with him.]

    They found Jack "working" on the computer. [He wasn't really working, though: he was actually looking at pictures of women without their clothes on.]

    Sometimes, scare quotes can be used confusingly, as in this prime example from the BBC (of all sources):

    Police officer died in 'accident'

    The scare quotes here are intended to convey the meaning that the word "accident" was used by the police, and the BBC are merely reporting what was said. However, scare quotes around single words (instead of phrases) often indicates irony or disagreement: the impression is (unintentionally) given that the BBC believe it wasn't an accident at all, and either the police are lying, or the word is a euphemism for something else.

    What you are referring to, Mike, are called "distance quotes", and you are using them for the purposes of "use-mention distinction". Distance quotes mean: "I am talking about the word itself, not the thing it refers to." For example:

    Schadenfreude is taking pleasure in another person's misfortune.
    "Schadenfreude" is borrowed from the German language.

    In the second sentence, I use distance quotes to indicate that I am not talking about taking pleasure in another person's misfortune; I am talking about the word that begins with S and ends in E.

  5. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: " " or ' '

    Quote Originally Posted by rewboss View Post
    Those aren't scare quotes; scare quotes are used for the purposes of irony, or otherwise to distance oneself from somebody else's words:

    The Prime Minister called this "the greatest thing since sliced bread". [Those are the PM's words; I do not necessarily agree with him.]

    They found Jack "working" on the computer. [He wasn't really working, though: he was actually looking at pictures of women without their clothes on.]

    Sometimes, scare quotes can be used confusingly, as in this prime example from the BBC (of all sources):

    Police officer died in 'accident'

    The scare quotes here are intended to convey the meaning that the word "accident" was used by the police, and the BBC are merely reporting what was said. However, scare quotes around single words (instead of phrases) often indicates irony or disagreement: the impression is (unintentionally) given that the BBC believe it wasn't an accident at all, and either the police are lying, or the word is a euphemism for something else.

    What you are referring to, Mike, are called "distance quotes", and you are using them for the purposes of "use-mention distinction". Distance quotes mean: "I am talking about the word itself, not the thing it refers to." For example:

    Schadenfreude is taking pleasure in another person's misfortune.
    "Schadenfreude" is borrowed from the German language.

    In the second sentence, I use distance quotes to indicate that I am not talking about taking pleasure in another person's misfortune; I am talking about the word that begins with S and ends in E.
    I have seen "scare quotes" defined as the use of quotation marks for any purpose other than to indicate a direct quotation. This includes: irony, emphasis, use-mention, and distancing oneself from a word or phrase. It does not surprise me that there are differences in definition here.


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    #8

    Re: " " or ' '

    "In Britain, however, it has traditionally been the other way around: single quotation marks are the norm, double quotation marks for embedded quotes. Britain is now switching to the American style -- as far as I know, most newspapers and nearly all websites use the American style. But you'll still find the British style in books published in Britain."



    When I was training in book production and typesetting in the 1960s, double quotes was the norm for British typesetting. The change to single quote came in during the 1970s.

  6. rewboss's Avatar

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    #9

    Re: " " or ' '

    Quote Originally Posted by Anglika View Post
    When I was training in book production and typesetting in the 1960s, double quotes was the norm for British typesetting. The change to single quote came in during the 1970s.
    Which made me leap up, pull out a book I know was published in England in the 1930s, and check; and sure enough: double quotes all the way.

    You learn a new thing every day...

  7. BobK's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: " " or ' '

    I think in much UK handwriting you'll still see the " ' ' " convention used, because schoolteachers are involved. But a lot of UK publishers are going the US way. Personally I don't get too exercised about it, as long as it's consistent.

    b

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