Re: apostrophes

From: philip chastney (
Date: Thu Jun 01 2006 - 11:16:08 CDT

  • Next message: Michael Everson: "Re: apostrophes"

    --- "Jukka K. Korpela" <> wrote:

    > I have never seen any norm or recommendation
    > on it for any language. Even for _simple_ nesting,
    > i.e. for a quotation inside a quotation, reliable
    > information is hard to find.

    the rules for English are simply a matter of practice,
    following "rules" established by Victorian grammarians

    a friend of mine (a student of the language, as opposed to
    the literature) would occasionally rant about the "damage"
    (her term) done to the language by these narrow-minded,
    misguided rule makers

    in particular, she would cite --
    (i) the use of quotation marks for reported speeach
    (ii) the use of the apostrophe for the genitive (e.g,
    "Jucca's", but "James'" not "James's", and not "hi's" or
    (iii) the suggestion that "it is I" is somehow more correct
    than "it is me"

    there are no absolute rules, only established practice --
    you are free to invent your own rules (as with the Chicago
    Manual of Style, for instance), and the rest of us are free
    to adopt, adapt or ignore them -- these things only become
    important when a sentence is ambiguous, or it conveys an
    unintended meaning (as in "this plane will be airborne

    the rule I was taught at school was something like "it
    helps if you use different quoatation marks when quoting
    within quotes" but no definition of primary or secondary
    marks was mandated

    I was also told that the quotation marks should enclose
    _both_ the initial capital letter and the final full stop,
    or _neither_, which is, I believe, at variance with the
    Chicago Manual of Style

    all in all, I doubt whether the way a writer (of English)
    uses quotation marks is any sort of indicator of anything

    Jane Austen never used a quotation mark in her life, and
    I've never known anyone criticize her for it

    regards . . . /phil


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