Posted by: Jack Henry | May 6, 2014

Editor’s Corner: The Last Hurrah – Quotation Marks

Today I have the last of the quotation marks for you. Well, the truth is, there are more rules and regulations, but I am giving you the basics and that still seems like more than plenty! These are some of the odds and ends that you might come across while reading and writing. These rules, except the last one, are compiled from the Chicago Manual of Style.

· Quotations and “quotes within quotes”

Quoted words, phrases, and sentences run into the text are enclosed in double quotation marks. Single quotation marks enclose quotations within quotations.

“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 just as well say that “I see what I eat” is the same thing as “I eat what I see”!’ ”

Note carefully not only the placement of the single and double closing quotation marks but also that of the exclamation points in relation to those marks in the example above. Question marks and exclamation points are placed just within the set of quotation marks ending the element to which such terminal punctuation belongs.

· Single quotation marks next to double quotation marks

When single quotation marks nested within double quotation marks appear next to each other, no space need be added between the two except as a typographical nicety subject to the publisher’s requirements. For example, most typesetters will use a thin space between the two marks to enhance readability.

“Admit it,” she said. “You haven’t read ‘The Simple Art of Murder.’ ”

· Quotation marks can be used to indicate a translation of a foreign word or phrase

The Prakrit word majjao, “the tomcat,” may be a dialect version of either of two Sanskrit words: madjaro, “my lover,” or marjaro, “the cat” (from the verb mrij, “to wash,” because the cat constantly washes itself).

· Single quotation marks in horticulture

In some horticultural publications, such names are enclosed in single quotation marks; any following punctuation is placed after the closing quotation mark. If the English name follows the Latin name, there is no intervening punctuation.

The hybrid Agastache ‘Apricot Sunrise’, best grown in zone 6, mingles with sheaves of cape fuchsia (Phygelius ‘Salmon Leap’).

And this tidbit is from the Microsoft Manual of Style:

“…placement of the closing quotation mark depends on whether the punctuation is part of the material being quoted. Quotation marks have specialized uses in many computer languages. Follow the conventions of the language in code samples.”

In the following example, the period goes outside of the quotation marks because it is not part of the value:

/*Declare the string to have length of “constant+1”.*/

More from the pages of

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

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