1. jakeybum
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    jakeybum Member

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    Author gives no "wiggle room"

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by jakeybum, Aug 15, 2015.

    I'm proofreading a piece of nonfiction in which the author will not permit me to reword.

    The author insists that I use the possessive of a song title in quote marks—which, I guess, is the proper format for song titles (i.e., to be enclosed inside quote marks and not be italicized).

    Here is the example:

    "You Get What You Give" 's vibrant sound . . .

    I am just garnering opinions here. If forced with a gun to your head (ugh!), would you punctuate it as I did above, or would you omit that space? I will admit—both look horrendous! But without having any "wiggle room," I am helpless here.

    Second option:

    "You Get What You Give"'s vibrant sound . . .

    It was suggested that I do this (but it is so flagrantly wrong):

    "You Get What You Give's" vibrant sound . . .

    And would you opt for curly or straight quotes throughout?
     
  2. jorel
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    jorel Member

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    Woah, this is a toughie. They're all kinda bad.

    Maybe: ...the vibrant sound of "You Get What You Give"...
    Or does the author want you to use the 's ?

    In that case, I'd have to go with the version without the space.
    But you could try to change it up by putting: "You Get What You Give"´s vibrant sound... - where the apostrophe looks different from the lines of the quotation.

    I hope you find a way.
     
  3. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    You mean smart quotes (“ ” ‘ ’) vs plain quotes (" ')?

    I hate smart quotes. One of the first things I do whenever I start using an editor is to turn off automatic smart quotes. I hate them so much that if I have an editable document open and I see one, I usually do a search-and-replace of smart quotes with plain quotes.

    It is for the same reason why I prefer spaces over tabs for indenting code. Using tabs inevitably seems to lead to a mix of tabs and spaces. And unless you always edit a piece of text in the same editor and never copy or paste anything to or from it, using smart quotes inevitably leads to a mix of smart and plain quotes.

    Overall, smart quotes are bad for interoperability. Each individual problem caused by them is small, but they all add up to a form of information rot.
     
  4. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    And to answer the main question:

    You are right that

    "You Get What You Give's" vibrant sound

    is wrong. If I absolutely had to choose, then I would put the 's outside the quotation marks (after a space). But it would really be better to do what @jorel suggests: use "of" instead of 's to signify possession.

    Actually, come to think of it, I do not use quotation marks to signify a title. So these are the two ways I might use the phrase in a sentence:

    I like the vibrant sound of You Get What You Give. (good)
    I like You Get What You Give's vibrant sound. (bad, but better than putting the song's title in quotation marks)
     
  5. jakeybum
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    jakeybum Member

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    Thank you!
     
  6. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    If I had a gun to my head, I would probably just take the bullet. Seriously, sometimes rewording things makes life a lot easier.
     
    Aaron DC likes this.
  7. jakeybum
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    jakeybum Member

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    I'd take the bullet, too, thirdwind. Trust me.
     

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