1. Howard_B
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    Howard_B Active Member

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    Punctuation Punctuation question, quote within a quote ?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Howard_B, Aug 17, 2014.

    I have a character who is relaying what transpired when she was spying on a conversation the previous day and wants to quote the person.

    This is how I wrote it ... but I am not sure it entirely, or even partly, correct. Anyone ?

    "And Gura at one point assured Afzal that, quote, I will bring him here for you to deliver his fate, unquote."

    Or is there a better/correct way ?
     
  2. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    If you want to show that the character said "quote" and "unquote" that is correct. If you want the character to say those words with weak voice, indicating that they are quoting something use the "single" quotes.
    "And Gura at one point assured Afzal that, 'I will bring him here for you to deliver his fate.' "

    You'll notice that the period is inside both quotes, and that there is a space between the closed single quote and the double quote. Both of these are correct.
     
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  3. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Holy shitsticks, you're supposed to put a space there? Great, if that's the case, I've been doing it wrong.
     
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  4. Howard_B
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    Howard_B Active Member

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    Thanks Jack. I see what you mean. I apologise in advance but is 'weak voice' a technical term in grammar ? I have pretty good grammar but don't know the terms that may apply.

    When I think about it I think that I do want the character to actually say the worlds 'quote and unquote'. When someone is reporting a criminal-type conversation and they want to convey in the middle of a summery, what the character actually said ... I think they would do that. Hmmmm.... now I am a bit uncertain :crazy:
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The correct way (using US punctuation rules):

    See the He Said, She Said link in my signature.

    Note that I removed the word "that", which is typically used when paraphrasing, not for quoting verbatim.
     
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  6. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    According to the MLA. APA might be different.

    Although that begs the question, "Why would you be using APA?"
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2014
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  7. Howard_B
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    Howard_B Active Member

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    Thanks for your input Cogito. By saying so (and I agree the that was incorrect and superfluous) are you stating that you think the inclusion of the actual words 'quote' and 'unquote' would not be a good idea ?

    [Nb: British English.]
     
  8. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I second Cogito's suggestion.

    Most publishers use Chicago style, which is what I would recommend.
     
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  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    You would only use the words quote and unquote if the primary speaker literally said those words. Even then, you would use the quote marks to enclose the actual quoted words.

    In UK English, the traditional style is to use single quotes for the outer quotation and double quote for the inner. Other punctuation may shift relative to the quotes as well. However, UK English seems to be increasingly using the US form, which is also dominant in English speaking countries other than the UK.
     
  10. Howard_B
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    Howard_B Active Member

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    Ok. So you would say that if I wanted the character to actually use those 'quote words' in her speech, I would then write it as:

    "And Gura at one point assured Afzal, quote 'I will bring him here for you to deliver his fate' unquote."
     
  11. outsider
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    outsider Contributing Member Contributor

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    I was going to say this but you beat me to it.:) To the OP, I would suggest that consistency is key here. Either form is acceptable but choose one and stick to it.
     
  12. Howard_B
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    Howard_B Active Member

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    I agree, and try to stick to that in a lot of what I am writing. There is so much nonsense written about grammar and punctuation. I don't mean the basics of decent punctuation, but I have characters for example who use bad grammar. That's how the character is, yet I have been chastised for this. Several years ago I read three books by Tom Clancy. I didn't finish the third because I had had enough of consistent awful sentence structure and basic grammar problem that went far beyond me being picky.
     

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