1. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    Quotes within Quotes and Punctuation.

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by CharlieVer, Mar 6, 2009.

    A character is speaking (within double quotes) and refers to a title (in single quotes) at the end of the sentence.

    Does the punctuation go outside the single quotes, like this:

    “Did anyone here ever see the movie, ‘A Miracle on 34th Street’?”

    Or inside the single quotes, like this:

    “Did anyone here ever see the movie, ‘A Miracle on 34th Street?’”

    The former looks better, but I thought punctuation always goes inside all quotation marks.

    (I may have thought wrong, and I probably could look it up, but I thought I'd post the question as I don't have a grammar book handy.)
     
  2. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Your first example is the correct one. :)The punctuation e.g. question mark, only comes within the quotation marks if it is part of the quotation. In your example, it isn't.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    no, in american usage, that only applies to the comma and period... it's the reverse in british usage... ! and ? go outside the " " unless they're part of a quote or a line of dialog... so, in the us, it's like this [whether or not you like how it looks]:

    now, is everyone sufficiently confused? ;-)
     
  4. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks, Maia, I hadn't come across that British/American difference before. But I HAD noticed that Charlie used ' for quotes and " for speech i.e. British style--isn't it the other way round for US usage?
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    British publishers are increasingly adopting the US style, which I decribe in He said, she said - Mechanics of Dialogue. The British style(s) traditionally swap the roles of the single and double quote mark, and there are some other minor punctuation differences too.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    neither is correct in the us... " " are used for both quotes and dialog... the only time ' ' are used correctly in the us is for a quote within a quote...

    i don't know what the approved usage is in the uk re ' ' vs " " for quotes and dialog, or if there is a difference at all... i believe they simply do what we do, but in reverse...
     
  7. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    I just came across this interesting information:

    The American rule follows an older British standard. Before the advent of mechanical type, the order of quotation marks with periods and commas was not given much consideration. However with the printing press the easily damaged smallest pieces of type for the comma and period were protected behind the more robust quotation marks.

    As to the single/double quotation thing, I was taught:
    double = speech and single = quotations
    when I was working for a British newspaper, and I seem to remember the same rule at my (British) university. When I checked about 15 different submissions guidelines for magazines and publishers in the UK, they ALL had the same rule. I think perhaps globalisation is taking over here, and not a bad thing. (However, the 's' not 'z' spelling goes still in the UK, according to the same guidelines I looked at, if the word is commonly spelt with an 's' in the UK--another e.g. 'analyse'.)
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    may be so in the uk, but never so in the us, as far as i know... and i was taught back in the 40s, have been reading and writing ever since and have never come across such a rule, or even such usage in american publications/books...
     
  9. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    I think the only time to use singular quotations in when there is a quote within a quote. If you are in the UK, this is reversed.
     
  10. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    Thanks for all the great information, everybody!

    My original sentence:
    “Did anyone here ever see the movie, ‘A Miracle on 34th Street’?”

    A Miracle on 34th Street, of course, is neither a quote (though it is within a quote) nor a quotation. It's a movie title. We do put quotes around titles, correct?

    (I'm in New Jersey, USA.)

    Now to make the question more complicated, is italicizing titles also acceptable? (I seem to recall reading that it is sometimes done.) If italicized, should the quotes remain, assuming that titles should be in quotes?

    Charlie
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    in some instances, yes... in others, no... generally, book and magazine titles, movies, plays, works of art are shown in italics, while the titles of articles/items within a magazine or book are put in quotation marks... in this case, the movie title can be either in single quotes or italics, but italics would be simpler...

    it's not only acceptable, but standard practice... titles should not be in quotes, other than as noted above... if you italicize a title, you should not put it in " "...
     
  12. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    Thank you!

    Despite what I posted above, I had it in italics and single quotes.

    I actually had:
    “Did anyone here ever see the movie, ‘A Miracle on 34th Street’?”

    I will change to

    “Did anyone here ever see the movie, A Miracle on 34th Street?”

    Charlie
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    if it's a line of dialog, that's the proper way to do it... in the us, anyway...
     

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