Re: apostrophes

From: Guy Steele (Guy.Steele@Sun.COM)
Date: Wed May 24 2006 - 11:20:30 CDT

  • Next message: Keutgen, Walter: "RE: apostrophes"

    On May 23, 2006, at 6:17 PM, Jukka K. Korpela wrote:
    > ...
    > It would be better to call them "inner quotation marks". This would
    > not match the idea of _alternating_ quotation marks, i.e. the idea
    > that you have two pairs of quotation marks to be used alternatingly
    > in nested quotations. But this would be _good_, because such an
    > idea about alternation should be forgotten for now. It is very
    > rarely needed (people
    > simply don't use deep nesting of quotations delimited by quotation
    > marks, since such presentation would be very confusing). And in
    > those rare cases where it would apply, I don't think we can find
    > any reliable, consensus-based information about the usage in such
    > matters in different languages. I have never seen any norm or
    > recommendation on it for any language.

    The rules are well-established for English. In America,
    _The_Chicago_Manual_of_Style_ is a well-recognized
    authority on writing style and matters typographical,
    easily found in the reference section of any large bookstore.
    I quote the 14th edition, section 10.26:

         Quoted words, phrases, and sentences run into the text
         are enclosed on double quotation marks. ... Single quotation
         marks enclose quotations within quotations; double marks,
         quotations within these; and so on:

           “Don't be absurd!” said Henry. “To say that ‘I mean what I say’
           is the same as ‘I say what I mean’ is to be as confused as Alice
           at the Mad Hatter's tea party. You remember what the Hatter
           said to her: ‘Not the same thing a bit! Why, you might as well
           say that “I see what I eat” is the same thing as “I eat what I
    see”!’ ”

         British practice is often, though not always, the reverse: single
         marks are used first, then double, and so on.

    (The example, of course, alludes to a passage in _Alice_in_Wonderland_
    by Lewis Carroll.)

    I also checked _The_Associated_Press_Stylebook_and_Libel_Manual_
    (French, Powell, and Angione, eds., 1980). Under “quotation marks,”
    subhead “quotes within quotes,” it says:

       Alternate between double quotation
       marks (“ or ”) and single marks (‘ or ’):

       She said, “I quote from his letter,
       ‘I agree with Kipling that “the female
       of the species is more deadly than
       the male,” but the phenomenon is
       not an unchangeable law of nature,’
       a remark he did not explain.”

    It is true that shorter, less authoritative sources for punctuation
    (such as the summary you may find included with a dictionary) often
    do not address the general case, but it is not difficult to find
    discussion of the general nested case.

    --Guy Steele

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