1. john murphy

    john murphy New Member

    Sep 27, 2011
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    using singe quotes for 'in other words'

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by john murphy, Apr 22, 2013.

    Both in dialogue and in descriptive passages, there are times when I feel it appropriate to use single quotes to denote 'in other words' or 'so called'.


    "I hear there are some parents who give 'donations' to certain senators to get their kids lighter duty out of harm's way."

    It's been suggested that I use italics as a form of emphasis on the word, as that's how it would sound in speech, the emphasized word indicating the obvious euphemism. However, I'd like to keep italics use limited to identify emotionally charged words n dialogue.

    In a descriptive passage...

    There were several recruits who became 'the leaders' simply because of their exuberant cheering and shouting. However, he knew leadership was about much more than that.

    In this case, 'the leaders' suggesting that these recruits were not officially named as leaders, but others came to regard them as such.

    please forgive strange repetition of phrases here as I edited the proof copy and it mysteriously double up some words and my attempt to correct made it even more weird.
  2. EdFromNY

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Jun 13, 2010
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    Queens, NY
    Anything for which you would use quotation marks were it not already within a quote you should use single quote marks.

    Michener used to drive me crazy, because it did it the other way around - single quote marks for primary quotations, double quote marks for secondary. I admit that there was logic to it, but it always struck me as odd because he's the only writer I ever saw use them that way.
  3. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Nov 21, 2006
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    Coquille, Oregon
    it's simply incorrect to use singles for anything other than a quote within a quote... agents and publishers will figure you don't know any better and editors will correct it...

    if you ever acquire the literary status michener enjoyed, then you may be able to do whatever you want... till then, you'd best stick to the accepted standards... and the rule for stressed words is to underline them so they'll be put in italics when printed...

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