1. Victorian girl
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    Victorian girl Member

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    Speech marks

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Victorian girl, Aug 19, 2010.

    Hi.

    While reading a novel I always wonder about speech/quotation marks.

    For example when I write a sentence when someone says something I would do " Yes sir." But in a published novel it would be `Yes Sir`. Why is this and which is the correct way when sending to a publisher? The latter I presume.

    Thanks.
     
  2. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    In the UK and other countries that use British standards, yes. Most novels will use single quotation marks for dialogue. This is because single marks are seen as less intrusive. They certainly are if that is what you are used to.

    Very occasionally you will come across US style in the UK, which is double 'speech marks'. It's very annoying that nowadays computers are configurated to make using double quotation marks the easier-to-use option, or at least the European keyboards I use are, but there you go. Always use single quotation marks for submitting in the UK unless otherwise specified.

    I think you can find earlier threads about this issue on the forum.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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  4. zaffy
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    zaffy Contributing Member

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    I think your second example should be 'Yes Sir.'
     
  5. Victorian girl
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    Victorian girl Member

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    Thanks very much. Again a great help.

    Now I shall have to try and automatically change my double speech marks in my manuscript into single speech marks automatically through the computer. I hope I can do it alright :rolleyes:
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Save a copy of your manuscript before you do.

    Two reasons:
    1. You might make a mistake that requires you to go back and do it over.
    2. You might submit to a publisher who prefers the double quote mark.
     
  7. Gannon
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    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Simple Find and Replace should resolve this, no?
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Not necessarily. If there are any embedded quotes, they would need to be inverted (single quotes changed to double quotes).

    Changing them back to the International standard (outer level quotes being double quotes) is even more problematic, because you will need to distinguish between single quotes and apostophes.
     
  9. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you swap them, will it replace apostophes as well? *thinks* I"m worried...I"ll have to get my daughter"s opinion on this...
     
  10. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    What do you mean by 'International standard', Cog?
     
  11. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The standard in all English-speaking countries other than the UK. Please don't try to make this into a "who's right" argument, or the thread will be shut down.

    The majority of modern fiction worldwide, in terms of volume, follows the double-quote convention.

    It is impoortant to be aware of both.
     
  12. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    No, I really was getting confused with my doubles and singles!
    However, you will find that usually countries who speak English as a formal language other than the UK are actually former British colonies, so therefore 'International English/Usage' is not US usage. 'International English' in the English teaching world usually means British. But I am just pointing this out, and as I said, I genuinely couldn't understand you--I don't want to stant a fight.
     

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