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Quotation Marks

oldegrump

Good Morning;

As an (American) English and History Major in college (40+ years ago) I have a serious question about a few different problems that I see. 1. Why are end quotes not used at the end of paragraphs when the person talking continues in the next paragraph? (But quotes are used at the start of that paragraph). 2. After reading a lot of British writers, is
it OK to start a sentence with And, instead of a semicolon then and?

I know that these things are minor, but they bug the daylights out of me and I end up correcting what I see as errors. It sort of disrupts the flow for me.

I will look closely at any response, but my stories will not have those (to my mind) errors in them.

awnlee jawking

@oldegrump

1. Why are end quotes not used at the end of paragraphs when the person talking continues in the next paragraph? (But quotes are used at the start of that paragraph). 2. After reading a lot of British writers, is
it OK to start a sentence with And, instead of a semicolon then and?


Dropping the end quotes is a standard way of telling the reader than the same speaker is continuing to speak. It's what I was taught at school. A few readers here are unaware of the convention but they're going to get very confused when they read stories in which the author has used the device.

There is no reason not to start a sentence with 'And' or 'But' etc provided it makes sense in context. The practice had been deprecated by a few grammarians but is nowadays considered quite acceptable, just like ending a sentence with a preposition.

AJ

Ross at Play

1. There is no answer to why for that one. That is what the convention requires. Many authors go to great lengths avoid situations that would require it to be used - because it is so easy for readers to miss. We have discussed how to do that at great length in other threads here.
2. Not starting sentences with conjunctions is complete rubbish. It's as invalid as not splitting infinitives and not ending sentences with prepositions, as was probably invented by the same bunch of dictatorial morons who came up with those "bright" ideas.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Joe Long

As Ross says, when writing it's easy to avoid multiple paragraph quotes. I didn't recall seeing it until a few times recently, but I quickly figured out by the context what it was about.

I personally wouldn't want to start a paragraph of narration with a conjunction, but dialogue is supposed to be natural while still readable.

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@oldegrump


1. Why are end quotes not used at the end of paragraphs when the person talking continues in the next paragraph? (But quotes are used at the start of that paragraph). 2. After reading a lot of British writers, is

it OK to start a sentence with And, instead of a semicolon then and?


With question number 1 get ready for the Great Debate. This has been hashed over so many times it's not funny.

The Chicago Manual of Style states that when writing a multi-paragraph quotation you put a starting set of quotation marks at the start of each paragraph, and only at the end of the last paragraph. Every US style manual I've seen copies that advice. Quote three consecutive paragraphs from the same text in an essay, and that how you do it. Quote three paragraphs of the speech by someone in a newspaper or an essay and that's how you do it.

The issue that gets debated is the use of the apostrophe's (the technical term for what most people quotation marks) for dialogue in stories as against quotations of real life speakers. Many US authors state they are quoting a character and not writing some new text of their own. This isn't accepted by all.

There's an issue because the basic rule of writing fiction is:

A new speaker a new paragraph - and that has a matching requirement of a new paragraph of dialogue is a new speaker.

This is because the missing apostrophe is way too easy to not notice and readers get confused as to who is actually speaking due to the expectation of a change of speaker with the new paragraph. This is especially so with short paragraphs of dialogue treated as multi-paragraph quotes. This is why I advocate noting the speaker for each paragraph you do this with.

Mind you, there are those who totally disagree with me on this.

Question 2 is odd to me, because the placement of a semicolon is dictated by the context of the text in the two sentence parts being joined by the semicolon, not the word immediately after it. If you use the serial comma then most time you use the word 'and' there will be a comma before, but that's about it.

In general, words like and are used to join two phrases together into one sentence, the word but has a similar type usage. However, there are times when you can start a new sentence with either of those words, but it's usually done to provide an emphasis of some sort. Most times you will find such usage in dialogue and not narrative. An example would be:

John turned to Fred, and said, "Clean up the mess in garage, today. And I mean today, not tonight."

edit to add emphasis

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Ernest Bywater

Mind you, there are those who totally disagree with me on this.

I do not recall anyone here disagreeing with the comments you just made. We all agree the convention exists - but we hate using it.
The only disagreements I recall are the lengths different authors are prepared to go to avoid writing in a way which would require its use.

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Ross at Play


I do not recall anyone here disagreeing with the comments you just made.


I'm not sure if you were active on the boards here when the major debates were going on about this. The major disagreement wasn't around the CMoS being an academic style manual giving information on how to present a quotation in texts and essays etc. However, the disagreement was over the use of quotation rules on fiction dialogue - with some people claiming the brand new text they just thought up was a quotation of their character. A few argued the dialogue must be a quotation because you use quotation marks and some got angry when they were called apostrophes.

edit to add: the discussion did move on to how to best avoid the issue, and some people absolutely refused to do anything to avoid the issue while some got angry at the idea readers wouldn't always immediately pick up on the missing apostrophe.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Ernest Bywater

However, the disagreement was over the use of quotation rules on fiction dialogue

I won't say any more after this.

But as I recall there never was any disagreement ...
- You kept insisting dialogue and quotations were different things.
- Everybody else kept on saying they know that, but the rules of punctuation are the same for both.

Notes.
1. The basic rules allow various styles for when single or double marks are used.
2. Block quotes are only used for quotations, not dialogue.


I did exaggerate a bit above when I just said everyone agreed the multi-paragraph convention should not be used.
A better description would be strong consensus, then there was some variation in how far those who disliked it were prepared to go to avoid its use.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
richardshagrin

@awnlee jawking

just like ending a sentence with a preposition

When talking with an attractive woman, lots of men end their sentence with a proposition.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Ross at Play


You kept insisting dialogue and quotations were different things.

- Everybody else kept on saying they know that, but the rules of punctuation are the same for both.


If the rules for both are exactly the same (as some claim), then all the rules for quotations would apply to dialogue and the use of the blockquote quotation style would be appropriate to use for multi-paragraph dialogue, yet no one even suggested using such a thing because it's so totally wrong.

Anyway, anyone who wants to go over the full discussion can dig it out of the archives. I've answered the question asked in my first response.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ross at Play

I ask others to judge for themselves if the last post by EB was a deliberate falsification of what I said two posts before that.

Dominions Son

@Ross at Play

We all agree the convention exists - but we hate using it.


Even I agree that the convention exists.

I'm skeptical that the convention is necessary or effective, but that's not a conversation to rehash here.

awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

Many authors go to great lengths avoid situations that would require it to be used - because it is so easy for readers to miss.


I've avoided using the convention on SOL for that very reason, plus some readers are unfamiliar with it. But there's a third reason too - monologues are B O R I N G!

AJ

robberhands

@Ross at Play

We all agree the convention exists - but we hate using it.

A convention and no one asked for my consent? Brummagem!

I'll continue to start a dialogue with quotation marks and end with them when the speaker stopped talking, no matter how many paragraphs it took for him to finally shut up.

Crumbly Writer

Okay, a little history here (based on our previous discussions). While the dropped quote method has been used in traditionally published books for a long, long time across the world, it seems the only authors/readers familiar with the rule are Americans (probably because it's actively taught in English courses). While Europeans aren't quite as judgmental, agreeing that it's widely used, our Australian contingent—for whatever reason—is adamant in their opposition to the practice, even after conceding it's been used in many of their older classics. Again, it's mostly a matter of what authors and readers remember being taught in school, rather than what they've been exposed to for the past two hundred years.

Ernest has a lot to say on the subject, as he not only refuses to use it, but goes to great lengths to avoid the situation entirely. Whenever a speech by a single speaker spans multiple chapters, he inserts a new action attribution (ex: "Tom stood, confronting the others." instead of "Tom said,").

While that's perfectly valid, it IS an incredible amount of extra work for a lengthy story.

In my own case, since I rely heavily on dialogue, I have MANY long monalogues. In the latest chapter in a story I'm still working on (just wrote it last night), the MC goes on a rant, and the non-breaking lecture emphasizes just how angry he is, not allowing anyone to contradict or even react to what he's saying until he runs out of steam. His tirade spans seven paragraphs, chewing up 677 (pre-edited) words, but it gets the point across that the man who's been holding everything in for his entire life has finally reached the end of his rope (i.e. I have no intention to break his monologue up with minor action breaks).

You can either use it, ignore it completely or try Ernest's technique, as it really doesn't matter, but trust me, there's a LONG historical tradition behind this technique, even if few non-Americans recall seeing it.

As for starting a sentence with "And" or "But", the traditional guidelines (mainly written for scholarly non-fiction), mainly focused on those two words. If you follow that advice, "But" is easily replaced with either "Yet" or "However,". Technically "And" should always be appended to the previous sentence, but for fictional dialogue, since it's how most people speak in their daily lives, it's fine (though I'd be cautious about using it in the narrative).

As others have noticed, I'd also avoid starting a paragraph with either word. Normally, when you do use them, it's a continuation of the previous thought/sentence. However, when starting from scratch, it sounds especially jarring to most readers.

I've avoided using the convention on SOL for that very reason, plus some readers are unfamiliar with it. But there's a third reason too - monologues are B O R I N G!

Sorry, Awnlee, but for me, my dialogues are my main strength (especially since I'm SO bad at SHOWing without it). In fact, many of my readers' most favorite chapters are the long and involved discussions by the various characters that typically follow a big fight, as they debate what actually happened and ends with the main character providing his interpretation of events.

It isn't the monologue that's entertaining, but the verbal dynamics between the characters, which make the otherwise boring data dump of information entertaining while revealing many of the key elements driving the story. (And since there are many competing ideas being tossed around, it's easy to throw in multiple foreshadows and red herrings to keep them guessing about just where the story is heading.)

Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

When talking with an attractive woman, lots of men end their sentence with a proposition.

"Hey, babe, wanna go to lunch—on my Dick?" (Leer, leer).

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

If the rules for both are exactly the same (as some claim), then all the rules for quotations would apply to dialogue and the use of the blockquote quotation style would be appropriate to use for multi-paragraph dialogue, yet no one even suggested using such a thing because it's so totally wrong.

Again, while you were active in the original discussions, you seem to have missed most of what was said by everyone else. Their point (and mine, too, by the way) was that the dropped quote and the blockquote quotation style (with indent text without ANY quotes) are two distinctly different things.

Most of us use the block quote method for something external to the main character interactions, either a handwritten note or newspaper read aloud, a speech or radio broadcast. In that case, to show that it's NOT dialogue, you indent it and drop the quotes, so that it's clear it's from an external source. Since I use this via styles in my ebooks, I also provide an extra blank line both before and after it (something that SOL does automatically, as well as their putting the entire thing in italics).

The 'dropped quote' technique is left over from the days of 19th Century literature, and has been used ever since, though it's been taught intermittently in different countries, and specially notes when a single speaker among a group of story character's goes off on a monologue. Again, it's use helps to highlight just how odd the behavior is, lecturing those you're involved in a friendly dialogue with, but it's that tension that helps to drive the story forward—so they're designed to cause you to notice them as 'odd'.

robberhands

@Crumbly Writer

As for starting a sentence with "And" or "But", the traditional guidelines...

Starting a sentence with a conjunction, fractured sentences, one word sentences - I don't care; if it sounds good to me to convey a message, I do it. A grammatical rule is a rule, not a law of nature. You can bend or break it and the world will keep on turning without so much as a hiccup.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@robberhands

Starting a sentence with a conjunction, fractured sentences, one word sentences - I don't care; if it sounds good to me to convey a message, I do it. A grammatical rule is a rule, not a law of nature. You can bend or break it and the world will keep on turning without so much as a hiccup.

That's why we've (many of the more obnoxious posters here on the forum) have given up on using the term "Rule", choosing "guidelines" instead, as it more accurately reflects their role in fiction (since they were primarily designed for academic or business writing).

Still, while not an absolute rule, I tend to minimize their use in the narrative, unless I'm employing the traditional 'campfire storyteller' motif. After all, I can't see God from on high (in 3rd person omni) screwing up his English propositions. 'D

As you say, most of us break these guidelines all the time, and mostly because they engender such strong reactions when read.

Replies:   Ross at Play
REP
Updated:

@oldegrump

The obvious answer is the grammar rules tell you to do it that way, but that doesn't tell you why they say to do it that way.

In my opinion, the reason behind the "Dropped Quotation Mark" convention is it makes a series of dialog paragraphs flow smoother. For the following, think of a long dialog passage of say 20+ paragraphs.

In a 'ping-pong' discussion between 2 people, where the 2 speakers alternate paragraphs, the content often defines the speaker and it is not necessary to define who is speaking. In this case, adding a narrative intro such as "John said," for each speaker's paragraph might be distracting and interrupt the flow of the passage. Although, periodic identification of the speaker is advisable and useful to the reader; especially when there may be a question as to who is speaking.

When a speaker delivers multiple consecutive paragraphs in a passage that has 2 speakers, the closing quotation mark, which signifies the speaker is finished, is dropped. By not including a closing quotation mark, the author is indicating the next speaker is the same person. The use of the opening quotation mark with the next paragraph signifies the paragraph is dialog and not narrative.

When a multiple consecutive paragraph passage is to have only 1 speaker, for example a speech or lecture, the convention is useful because the reader won't have to read multiple paragraphs with an introductory narrative identifying the same speaker is speaking. Can you picture the effect 20 sequential paragraphs all starting with "John said," would have on the reader. (edited to add) The same is true in a 2 speaker conversation where 1 speaker is delivering a consecutive series of paragraphs.

I don't see any problem with starting a paragraph with a conjunction. It is often useful in dialog when the next speaker is disagreeing with the prior speaker.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@REP

I don't see any problem with starting a paragraph with a conjunction. It is often useful in dialog when the next speaker is disagreeing with the prior speaker.

I hate conceding credit, but your entire post is eloquently delivered and dives right into the most important points.

Essentially, for those like Ernest who only rarely encounters two or three at the most consecutive paragraphs by the same speaker, it makes sense to disguise them with action attributions. But for those like me, who's characters often go off into lecture or rant mode, it's more distracting continually reminding readers who's speaking (for the reader, NOT the authors).

Quick take away, Ernest's characters seem to be the model of dispassionate observers (think Spock) whereas mine are more likely to be foaming at the mouth in front of large crowds! 'D

Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

our Australian contingent—for whatever reason—is adamant in their opposition to the practice, even after conceding it's been used in many of their older classics.

NO!
I have said I would go to some lengths to avoid the need to use it.
I reached almost sixty without ever hearing of, or noticing, its existence.
I conclude it's not something authors can rely on to alert readers a speaker is continuing a speech.
I might use the convention for a long monologue - but I would want something more so readers know the same person is speaking. It may be in the context of the speech, or at least starting the second paragraph with, 'He continued, ...'

Dominions Son

@Ross at Play

I reached almost sixty without ever hearing of, or noticing, its existence.


I'm American and I had never heard of or noticed the dropped end quote convention until the issue was raised in this forum within the last year. I'll be 48 in September.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

CW,

I don't want to rehash this whole issue here again, however I do take exception to some of the comments you made above that were directed at me about this. I'll address these points, and then I'm leaving this discussion alone.

1. I own many thousands of fiction books, and read many thousands of others I don't own copies of. I've only come across the use of the dropped apostrophe being used in fiction by a couple of US trained authors, and then rarely, and those examples are from the late 20th century. I've seen it used more on SoL than anywhere else.

2. I have seen the dropped apostrophe used frequently in text books and academic works where they quote mutli-paragraphs sections from other works.

3. The earliest reference I can find for the use and application for the rule in question is in the CMoS and was original written for use in preparing academic works for publication when quoting another text.

4. The rule gives two basic ways of presenting the quotations, one of which is the dropped apostrophe and the other is the block style. It also says both are equally valid methods and may be used for lengthy quotes. That being the case, if one is applicable for use with dialogue in fiction, then the other is as well.

5. The absence of the missing apostrophe is extremely easy for a reader to miss, and thus cause confusion as to what is happening. Using the quotation method also defies the number one cardinal rule of fiction dialogue of 'new speaker = new paragraph' and the reader's expectation of that.

6. There are many ways to address the monologue issue without using the dropped apostrophe. So why take the risk of confusing the reader.

7. I find it interesting the original poster, a person from the US, is asking about this because they hadn't seen it used before seeing it here at SoL, despite their previous US schooling in English.

This is not a specific point, but what is most confusing, and annoying about when some SoL authors use the dropped apostrophe is when they use it with short paragraphs and not lengthy monologue style ones.

typo edit - as usual

Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

7. I find it interesting the original poster, a person from the US, is asking about this because they hadn't seen it used before seeing it here at SoL, despite their previous US schooling in English.


In my experience (I'll be 48 next month) this convention is not taught in the US below the college level. Where I did have to write term papers, in high school and even at the undergraduate level in college, multi-paragraph quotes from source material were actively discouraged.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde

@oldegrump

As everyone before me said, the leaving-off-the-ending-quotation-mark except for the last paragraph is a rule of punctuation (I don't believe the Chicago Manual of Style came up with it).

And, as to starting a sentence with, well look at the first word in this sentence, it's fine. There's even a funny exchange in the movie "Finding Forrester" about it.

But (oops, there I go again) I don't understand the other part of Question 2. How can you start a sentence with a semicolon?

awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

How can you start a sentence with a semicolon?


I believe that what the OP is saying is that instead of:

Sentence-1-text. And sentence-2-text.

some authorities consider it correct to write:

Sentence-1-text; and sentence-2-text.

The two sentences are joined by a semicolon so that there isn't a separate second sentence starting with 'And'.

(And that's why I'm not a teacher!)

AJ

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

NO!
I have said I would go to some lengths to avoid the need to use it.
I reached almost sixty without ever hearing of, or noticing, its existence.
I conclude it's not something authors can rely on to alert readers a speaker is continuing a speech.
I might use the convention for a long monologue - but I would want something more so readers know the same person is speaking. It may be in the context of the speech, or at least starting the second paragraph with, 'He continued, ...'

I view it more as world building. It's accepted in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre, that authors only have several chapters to lay out the groundrules for their universe. After that, if you pull out a miracle transporter, readers simply won't buy it.

I've found that they take a similar tack in regards to an author's writing style. When I started writing, I had an odd habit of mixing American and British spellings, using the Brit double consonants spellings for complex words, but American spelling for everything else. (I blame my extensive reading of Brit mysteries and comedies for how I learned all those words at a tender age).

However, as long as they had a couple chapters to adapt to my odd-spelling, no one ever corrected me, but if I didn't establish the pattern within the first couple chapters, many would criticize my inconsistent spelling. In short, you establish the rules of your personal style early, and readers accept it, adjust, and move on. If you change those rules, they rebel.

Applying that to dropped quote, once again, a style guideline with a rich and well-documented history, my readers adapt to it quickly because the see it in use. I suspect yours don't, because you don't apply it consistently or early enough (or at all!).

Of course, that's not a proven theory, so Awnlee will flatly reject it, but it's how I rationalize their non-objections. And if no one complains about something everyone seems to be teed-off at, then I MUST be doing something correctly!

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

I'm American and I had never heard of or noticed the dropped end quote convention until the issue was raised in this forum within the last year. I'll be 48 in September.

The argument is that it should Never be noticed. If it is, you're Not doing it correctly. Instead, it should be virtually invisible to readers. The assumption is (argued by the contingent who never accepted it, but verified by the fact you never noticed the practice until it was brought up as an issue in the Forum postings), that readers pick up the subtle clues without ever thinking about it. Again, it seems important that you establish the practice early in a book, so readers accept it as a personal style, otherwise they'll attack you for inconsistency, but as long as you're consistent in your approach, readers really don't give a shit whether you use a serial comma or not. They simply adapt to your writing.

Now, for all those who disagree with the premise, let the arguments proceed!

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

3. The earliest reference I can find for the use and application for the rule in question is in the CMoS and was original written for use in preparing academic works for publication when quoting another text.

Sorry, but it was already a widely used literary device back in the mid to late 1800s, by both American and British authors (Mark Twain, Jane Austin and many authors). CMoS and the other Style Guides only formalized the conventions already adopted when they produced their first guide. The practice never stopped, but like DS mentioned, most simply 'never notice it in use', meaning that it works as intended (i.e. they recognize the context, even if they don't notice the practice at all).

However, I'll concede, it's less used by British publishers, not by ALL American ones, but probably never by Aussie authors. SO you've got a valid point in that regard.

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

In my experience (I'll be 48 next month) this convention is not taught in the US below the college level. Where I did have to write term papers, in high school and even at the undergraduate level in college, multi-paragraph quotes from source material were actively discouraged.

Once again, the 'accepted' fiction uses of the practice were largely cobbled together from the various non-fiction uses. Non-fiction traditionally uses in 'indented' or 'blockquote' method, where an external quote is reported as a separate, external input to the document, and it is 'set aside' to demonstrate that (the same way that fiction handles newspaper reports, notes or broadcasts).

Fiction rarely had actual prolonged dialogue, so they never had a need to develop a technique for protracted discussions.

By the way, I NEVER studies English or grammar in college, figuring I never wanted to be an author and already knew enough to express myself well. Thus I learned that, and many other techniques, in my various high-schools (I went to three separate one, across a variety of American states, but have no clue how one state's education varied from the others).

Replies:   Dominions Son
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

But (oops, there I go again) I don't understand the other part of Question 2. How can you start a sentence with a semicolon?

Semicolon, Semicolon, wherefore art thou, Semicolon? 'D

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

The argument is that it should Never be noticed.


If it's never noticed, it can not inform the reader that the same speaker is speaking.

Either it's effective for it's stated purpose, or it's never noticed. Both is impossible.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

However, I'll concede, it's less used by British publishers


I don't understand why you make that assertion.

In the UK, the dropped quote is taught at school. In the US, posters claim it isn't taught at all, or not until college level.

I would expect British publishers to use it more than American publishers.

AJ

Replies:   REP
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Once again, the 'accepted' fiction uses of the practice were largely cobbled together from the various non-fiction uses.


You miss my point. I was never taught the dropped close quote for multi-paragraph quotes even for formal non-fiction writing. Both in my high school and in my undergraduate college writing for term papers, multi-paragraph quotes from source material were strongly disapproved of by the teaches/professors I had.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

The argument is that it should Never be noticed. If it is, you're Not doing it correctly. Instead, it should be virtually invisible to readers.


It should be noticed. It has to be noticed. If not, the reader will assume the next dialogue is another's person. They have to notice the missing quotation mark.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde

@Dominions Son

If it's never noticed, it can not inform the reader that the same speaker is speaking.


We finally agree.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

We finally agree.


:)

Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

As everyone before me said, the leaving-off-the-ending-quotation-mark except for the last paragraph is a rule of punctuation (I don't believe the Chicago Manual of Style came up with it).


Switch, when we hashed this out before I did a lot of research on it, and the first reference I could find to set it out as a requirement was CMoS. It was not taught in any of the schools I attended at any level. I was taught if quoting more than one paragraph to attribute in the paragraph before and then block quote it.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

I don't understand the other part of Question 2. How can you start a sentence with a semicolon?


I was taught you can join two closely related sentence with a semicolon; and sometimes people will do this while starting the second sentence with and.

Switch Blayde

@Ernest Bywater

I was taught you can join two closely related sentence with a semicolon; and sometimes people will do this while starting the second sentence with and.


Oh. Nothing wrong with doing that.

Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


Switch, when we hashed this out before I did a lot of research on it, and the first reference I could find to set it out as a requirement was CMoS. It was not taught in any of the schools I attended at any level. I was taught if quoting more than one paragraph to attribute in the paragraph before and then block quote it.


Except block quotes aren't used in fiction dialogue.

CMoS does two things. 1) it gives punctuation rules and 2) when something is not a punctuation rule it gives its style.

So the punctuation rule of capitalizing the first word of a sentence is stated in CMoS when talking about the rules of capitalization. But CMoS didn't come up with that rule. Now CMoS states what to do with a word that begins with a lower case, like "iPad" because when people invented these rules years ago, that didn't exist and needed to be addressed.

So when CMoS says to leave off the ending quotation mark until the last one, I don't believe it's a style thing they came up with. I believe they're stating the punctuation rule that's been around longer than them.

btw, an apostrophe is that single floating thing used for possessives and such. It's not a quotation mark — "

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ernest Bywater

Switch,

Apostrophes come in the single form and the double form - depending on if you're using the UK system or the US system you will use a single apostrophe or a double apostrophe as your quotation marks.

I've seen 3 different editions of the CMoS which state when writing a multi-paragraph quotation there are two equally valid ways to do it, and both include the attribution separate to the quotation. Either directly before or after the attribution you can provide the quotation using the quotation marks (apostrophes) with the drop option, or you can use the block quote option.

Now, I have no wish to get into a discussion as to this being a punctuation rule or a style, but whichever it is if one version is valid to use in a situation the other is just as valid to use in the same situation. However, some people are saying only one version is valid to use - and that doesn't make any sense at all.

I think we've flogged this to death enough, and should agree to disagree.

BlacKnight
Updated:

As a reader, I find that I frequently miss the lack of closing quote (and authors occasionally omit it accidentally, which doesn't help), and have to mentally rewind when I realize that the next paragraph doesn't make sense as a different character's dialogue.

As a writer, I avoid using it for that reason. If I really need to drop in a huge monologue, I'll typically break it up with narration or interjections from other characters.

But more generally, I figure that, rather than coming up with a way to make huge monologues less confusing, one should just avoid using them in the first place. When one character talks and talks and talks without anything else happening or any other character taking part to make it an actual conversation, it's often a sign of the author departing from storytelling in order to deliver a clumsy infodump, lecture the reader about their bullshit philosophy or stupid-ass political views, or to, basically, brag about how wise and smart and awesome the monologuing character is, through the implication that he's the only one with anything worthwhile to say. All of these ought to be avoided.

My exception is when a character tells other characters within the story a story, but I don't want to go full flashback (which is itself something I avoid), and then I'll have established for the reader that this is about to happen, so they're cued to expect the next n paragraphs to be the story-telling character speaking. In that case, I'll make sure to clearly tag any other characters' interjections as not the storyteller's dialogue.

And starting sentences (or even paragraphs) with conjunctions is fine and I'll fight anyone who says otherwise.

It's not always appropriate, though. My basic guideline is, if I wouldn't pause there while speaking, I don't put a sentence break there.

I used two leading conjunctions in this post. The first is where I had presented two linked takes on something, then used the leading "But" to introduce another idea still related but kind of orthogonal to the first ones. I wanted it linked, but not too closely linked, so, conjunction, but a separate paragraph. The second leads off a paragraph that's not at all related to the preceding one; the previous idea the "And" links to is not the preceding clause or sentence or even paragraph, but something way back in the initial post.

I do tend to overuse leading conjunctions (and "though", which I just deleted one of here); I actively hunt extraneous ones in the editing pass because I'm aware of that.

Ross at Play

@oldegrump

After reading a lot of British writers, is it OK to start a sentence with And, instead of a semicolon then and?

That is not how semi-colons are used.
Semi-colons are used in places where what could be two complete sentences are joined without a conjunction.
For example, these are all valid:
This is one sentence. This could be another.
This is one sentence; this could be another.
This is one sentence and this could be another.

In very complex sentences you can also use semi-colons for higher level separators, and commas for lower level separators. For example:
This sentence has a list of baubles, bangles, and beads; and another of the colours red, while, and blue.

There are some problems with your use of separators in your first story.
If you have not done so already, you need to make a decision about whether or not you will use Serial Commas. For someone just starting out, I recommend you adopt them.
Then look up the expression BOYFANS. That is a mnemonic to remember the list of conjunctions other than 'and'.
If you contact me privately after that, I'll be willing to explain my reasons for any remaining problems I find in the story.

Replies:   oldegrump
oldegrump

Thanks You'al

Us US hicks over 60 sometimes have brain fade.

You have all let me know that this pet peeve of mine is only that.

I do have many more, such as not 'you and me' it's 'you and I' and not a assumption it's an assumption or a error it's an error

Again, thanks again. To Posts and over 100 combined replies. I must be an antaganist.

oldegrump

@Ross at Play

Your right about ;and, I just forgot about that.

Ross at Play

@Ernest Bywater

I was taught you can join two closely related sentence with a semicolon; and sometimes people will do this while starting the second sentence with and.

It is unnecessary to use any punctuation mark in that sentence; it has just two clauses joined by a conjunction.
A comma instead of the semi-colon is allowed. The two clauses are both long enough I would choose one. Using an unnecessary comma has the effect of emphasising the sentence consists of two ideas.
Ii is allowable to use a semi-colon in situations like that, but putting one before 'and' may make me feel as if the author has bashed me over the head with a sledgehammer just to emphasise the two ideas are closely related: they would be using an unnecessary punctuation mark followed by an unnecessary 'and'.

Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

but probably never by Aussie authors.

Please stop saying 'Aussie authors' or 'Australian contingent'.
I agree with EB that it is important to avoid using the convention, but I would not go to the same extremes he does to never use it.
If a speech was only a few paragraphs I would employ some sort of ping-pong so the convention was not required. But when you :) start frothing at the mouth, I'm content for it to be used provided the words said and context make it absolutely clear a long speech is continuing.
I suspect the reason I got through to the age of 60 without noticing the convention was that professional editors of mainstream fiction ensured reader's understanding of who was speaking was not reliant on them noticing end quotation were missing, and knowing what that meant.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
REP

@awnlee jawking

posters claim it isn't taught at all, or not until college level.


Probably true. Our pre-college educational system focus more on writing essays and reports, and doesn't teach how to write dialog or stories.

Replies:   BlacKnight
BlacKnight

@REP

Probably true. Our pre-college educational system focus more on writing essays and reports, and doesn't teach how to write dialog or stories.

I don't remember where I learned about it, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't in school.

Geek of Ages

@oldegrump

not 'you and me' it's 'you and I'


It depends on whether it's the subject or object. E.g. "You and I went to the store" vs "He shot you and me" or "just between you and me".

In short, if you would say "we", you say "I", but if you would say "us", you say "me". To do otherwise is hypercorrection, and incorrect.

Also, BlacKnight is 100% correct.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

That's why (many here) have given up on using the term "Rule", choosing "guidelines" instead, as it more accurately reflects their role in fiction

I think I'm going to start using the term "starting point" instead. I think that even more accurately reflects how most here, at least those who care about the quality of their work, actually view them. Perhaps then the Artistic Freedom Nazis will stop objecting every time we explain how we would usually do something but omit the qualification authors are always entitled to break all rules - every second effing sentence.

Replies:   robberhands
Switch Blayde

@oldegrump

such as not 'you and me' it's 'you and I'


Depends on the sentence.

You and I are going to the store.

He told you and me about the error.

In the second one, remove the "you" and change "me" to "I" and it won't make sense.

He told I about the error.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Ross at Play

@Geek of Ages

('I' or 'me') depends on whether it's the subject or object.

That is the rule which applies for formal writing, but IMHO, that should only be a starting point for fiction.
The reality is many people do not obey the rule in various types of situations, especially later on in sentences.
Even CMOS, the Fuhrer of the Grammar Nazis, at 5.43 suggests applying the rule in some sentences ...

sounds pedantic or eccentric to the modern ear [Was that he on the phone?].

We recently discussed this here, at length, and identified some types of situations where many speakers tend not to obey that rule.
The consensus was for fiction many choices should be based more on (the educational standards of) our characters than what is strictly correct.

Replies:   Geek of Ages
Ross at Play

@oldegrump

After reading a lot of British writers, is
it OK to start a sentence with And, instead of a semicolon then and?

I strongly suggest you turn on the option to receive emails in your profile. Readers will help pick up various technical errors you may make.
You do have a problem with semi-colons. I just had a quick look at the sixteen semi-colons in your story. My first inclination would be to keep the first, change the third to a colon, and change all the others to commas.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
robberhands
Updated:

@Ross at Play


...the Artistic Freedom Nazis will stop objecting...


You have to be one yourself to use terms like 'Freedom' and 'Nazis' accommodating.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@robberhands

You have to be one yourself to use terms like 'Freedom' and 'Nazis' accommodating.

I coined the term to suggest it was as valid a description of some people here for how behave as their description of me as a 'Grammar Nazi'.
I have never suggested authors should obey "rules of grammar"; I have suggested they should know them if they care about the quality of their writing.

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Ross at Play

I coined the term to suggest it was as valid a description of some people here for how behave as their description of me as a 'Grammar Nazi'.

You didn't object my assumption; so are you a 'Grammar Nazi' as well as a 'Artistic Freedom Nazi'? That gotta be confusing at times.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play
Updated:

@robberhands

You didn't object my assumption; so are you a 'Grammar Nazi' as well as a 'Artistic Freedom Nazi'? That gotta be confusing at times.

REPLACEMENT of my original response

I would say I've taken the SAME STANDARDS others have used when calling me a Grammar Nazi and applying those to their behaviour to describe them as Artistic Freedom Nazis.

I don't suggest either are really valid.

awnlee jawking

@BlacKnight

My basic guideline is, if I wouldn't pause there while speaking, I don't put a sentence break there.


One thing that grammar nazis frequently overlook is that punctuation serves as a guide on how to read a passage of text aloud. It could even be argued that was the original purpose of punctuation - at a time when most people couldn't read, reading to an audience was the prime method of communicating information.

Most of the punctuation books I've read seem to fudge the issue, saying that eg a certain circumstance might require a comma but in a short sentence it's usual to omit it.

So, finally getting to the point, I agree with you. If grammar nazis are a hindrance to good communication, ignore them.

AJ

awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

Thinking about it, there's a circumstance where 'you and me' can correctly be used as the subject - when you're showing rather than telling.

"You and me against the rest," I said to Delsey, since no-one had come up with a viable alternative.

AJ

Replies:   robberhands  Geek of Ages  REP
robberhands

@awnlee jawking

Thinking about it, there's a circumstance where 'you and me' can correctly be used as the subject - when you're showing rather than telling.

"You and me against the rest," I said to Delsey,...

You lost me. It still should have been "You and I gainst the rest", but since it's dialogue, of course you can write pretty much whatever you like, warts and all.

Replies:   Joe Long  awnlee jawking
Joe Long

@robberhands

"You and me against the rest," I said to Delsey,..


People will say that, but it's missing the verb.

You are against the rest
I am against the rest

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands
Updated:

@Joe Long

Granted; but the conclusion still should be 'You and I [are] against the rest'.

Replies:   Joe Long
awnlee jawking

@robberhands

I think I was right in principle but poor in execution.

A group of kids are picking teams for some sort of competitive activity. The protagonist wouldn't point to himself and say, "I against the rest." He'd say, "Me against the rest."

You could argue that it's colloquial, but my argument is that it's showing - when referring to yourself in a showing context, use the self-deprecating 'me' rather than the self-important 'I'.

AJ

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@awnlee jawking

The protagonist wouldn't point to himself and say, "I against the rest." He'd say, "Me against the rest."

Oh, an intended grammatical mistake to catch some sympathy. How utterly devious of your boy.

Geek of Ages

@Ross at Play

for fiction many choices should be based more on (the educational standards of) our characters than what is strictly correct.


Yes, obviously. I didn't say anything that contradicted that. I was pointing out the error in someone else complaining that people are wrong.

Geek of Ages

@awnlee jawking

"You and me against the rest,"


That phrase is the object of the sentence, not the subject. Using the object form is correct. The speaker is sliding the subject (a fight, for instance) and the verb (to be, conjugated)

Compare: "The next match is me against him"

robberhands
Updated:

@Geek of Ages


Compare: "The next match is me against him"


I compare and come to: "The next match is I against him," or maybe "The next match is I against you."

I still can't find a 'me' anywhere.

Replies:   Geek of Ages
robberhands

A totally unrelated question. I just noticed by accident that some poster's names are linked to their SoL sites, and some are not. How come? Is it something like a reward you receive when you submitted a thousand posts?

Ernest Bywater

@robberhands

some poster's names are linked to their SoL sites


how do you mean linked?

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Ernest Bywater

how do you mean linked?

If I klick on your name at the top of your post I'm send to your story site on SoL.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Joe Long

@robberhands

Granted; but the conclusion still should be 'You and I [are] against the rest'.


Yes, that was unstated but implied.

Ernest Bywater

@robberhands

If I klick on your name at the top of your post I'm send to your story site on SoL.


The site has an internal mail system for all feedback and messages now, previously such messages used to go to the author's emails account, now they go to the SoL message board. there are two threads on it:

http://storiesonline.net/d/s1/t2439/on-site-messaging-system-to-land-saturday-finally

http://storiesonline.net/d/s1/t2473/messaging-system-update

This was done more a number of reason, mostly related to privacy.

I wasn't sure if that's what you were asking about, which is why I asked.

Replies:   robberhands
Ross at Play

@Geek of Ages

Compare: "The next match is me against him"

I think 'You and me against the rest' sounds natural, but the verb is missing, which is obviously the be-verb.
It has been suggested the missing be-verb belongs before the 'against'.
I think the omitted words here are 'It is' at the start of the sentence, resulting in this, which does sound natural:
'It is you and me against the rest.'

robberhands

@Ernest Bywater

Well, it wasn't. The internal mail system has nothing to do with a link to your name on this forum sending me to your story site.

Replies:   The Scot
Geek of Ages

@robberhands

That's because your two sentences are incorrect English.

Replies:   robberhands
Ross at Play

@robberhands

A totally unrelated question. I just noticed by accident that some poster's names are linked to their SoL sites, and some are not. How come? Is it something like a reward you receive when you submitted a thousand posts?

It's not a reward.
I think the system has not linked your nickname here, robberhands, with your author pen name, Robberhands.
If you can't figure it out looking at your profile, then just send the webmaster a Help Request.

robberhands

@Geek of Ages

That's because your two sentences are incorrect English.

Are you certain about that?

Replies:   Geek of Ages
The Scot
Updated:

@robberhands


Well, it wasn't. The internal mail system has nothing to do with a link to your name on this forum sending me to your story site.


I couldn't see what the heck you were getting at for a while, because the majority of the posts do not have the name as a hotlink. But digging around I found a couple that do. I suspect what you may be looking at is the difference between an official SoL Nick Name and a SoL Pen Name.

If you go to the SoL Home Page, near the top right corner is the My Account link to take you to your account settings. Third line down with the Change link beside it is Nick Name. You can click on that and use the next page to enter and set your official SoL Nick Name.

Now once you have that set you can use it in the messaging system.

When you open a message box, such as I'm typing this in, the top line is Post As followed by a drop down box where you can select your set Nick Name or a Pen Name. Mine is usually set to my official Nick Name. For this reply I'm changing that to the Pen name of The Scot to see what happens.

edit to add: I can use The Scot's account because he has me linked into his account to manage his stories for him, now he's no longer active on the site.

further edit to add - did you set an official Nick name yet?

Replies:   richardshagrin
Geek of Ages

@robberhands

Quite.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Geek of Ages

I assume you're talking about these two sentences.

"The next match is I against him," or maybe "The next match is I against you."

Let's change them slightly to:
"Next up is I against him," or maybe "Next up is I against you."
They certainly need 'me' instead of 'i'.
The subject of the sentence is 'Next up'.
The verb is 'is'.
The object is the phrase 'I against him/you'.
The 'against' is functioning as a conjunction. You should be able to drop the 'against him/you' and the result should still make sense.
Which one sounds correct?
Next up is I.
Next up is me.

Replies:   Geek of Ages
Ross at Play

@BlacKnight

It's not always appropriate, though. My basic guideline is, if I wouldn't pause there while speaking, I don't put a sentence break there.

You could do very much worse for a basic guideline than that.
My basic guideline is more starting with what would be required for formal writing then looking for sentence breaks which may reasonably be deleted on the grounds they could be spoken without a pause.
One problem I often see among new writers, including myself not long ago, is attempting to go the other way - inserting sentence breaks where there would be a natural pause during speech.
Readers are good at figuring out those for themselves. They do not need to be told when to pause.
What readers do need however, are warnings when the text is about to change into something that requires a different type of interpretation. I cannot describe that process but I'm sure it, and lists, are the real functions of sentence breaks.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
richardshagrin

@The Scot

did you set an official Nick name yet?

Old Nick is a name for the devil. Nick could be short for a Nicholas. A minor injury is a nick, see definition below.

nick
(nĭk)
n.
1. A shallow notch, cut, or indentation on an edge or a surface: nicks in the table; razor nicks on his chin.

2. Chiefly British Slang A prison or police station.

3. Printing A groove down the side of a piece of type used to ensure that it is correctly placed.

tr.v. nicked, nick·ing, nicks
1.
a. To cut a nick or notch in.

b. To cut into and wound slightly: A sliver of glass nicked my hand.

2. To cut short; check: nicked an impulse to flee.

3. Slang To cheat, especially by overcharging.

4. Chiefly British Slang
a. To steal.

b. To arrest.
Idiom:
in the nick of time
Just at the critical moment; just in time.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Geek of Ages

@Ross at Play

The 'against' is functioning as a conjunction.


If that were the case, the it would be "I against he", not "against him". Conjunctions don't change the case of the noun; prepositions do.

Either way, "Next up is us" is correct, and "Next up is me" is correct. In both cases, the pronoun is the object of the sentence.

Replies:   Ross at Play
awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

One problem I often see among new writers, including myself not long ago, is attempting to go the other way - inserting sentence breaks where there would be a natural pause during speech.
Readers are good at figuring out those for themselves.


A few weeks back, my writers' group indulged in a 'guess the author' experiment. First the attendees each wrote a very short story using a common starter. The stories were randomised and each attendee had to read someone else's story.

It's extremely difficult to read an unfamiliar story aloud if the punctuation is inadequate. It's still difficult even after a couple of rehearsals.

Although reading aloud is a dying practice, I think it still merits proper consideration by authors.

AJ

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

You miss my point. I was never taught the dropped close quote for multi-paragraph quotes even for formal non-fiction writing. Both in my high school and in my undergraduate college writing for term papers, multi-paragraph quotes from source material were strongly disapproved of by the teaches/professors I had.

Sorry to say, but you were taught wrong. I was taught to always credit my sources in well-documented reports. However, you Never use an unaccredited quote in any form.

Telling authors never to use external sources leaves them unqualified to handle most professional responsibilities.

However, in both fiction and non-fiction, there's a difference between long section (multiple paragraph) quotes and simple quotes. The longer quotes use the inset method, where you typically don't use quotation marks at all. In fiction, this isn't use for dialogue, but for external quotes (as I've said, things like newsclips or notes the characters read).

Replies:   Dominions Son
awnlee jawking

@richardshagrin

Are you nick pitting again? ;)

AJ

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

It should be noticed. It has to be noticed. If not, the reader will assume the next dialogue is another's person. They have to notice the missing quotation mark.

It's like "he said", the theory is that, while readers 'see' it, they aren't as conscious about processing it, doing it mostly on a subconscious level (i.e. readers note the "he said", but it's so common they hardly hesitate in processing it, while "he chortled" will often stop a reader dead in their tracks).

The same is true with the dropped quote. As was mentioned early, many readers were never taught the technique, but never had any problems with writing using it, and only realized it was used when they read about it in the forum.

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

I was taught you can join two closely related sentence with a semicolon; and sometimes people will do this while starting the second sentence with and.

That's a valid technique. In fact, that's exactly what most spell-checkers suggest when they encounter a sentence starting with either "and" or "but". However, for fiction, you're 'recording' what characters say, rather than what's 'proper' formal English like you'd see printed in a Newspaper (just without all the "um"s and "ah"s).

Ross at Play

@Geek of Ages

@Ross at Play
The 'against' is functioning as a conjunction.

You:
If that were the case, the it would be "I against he", not "against him". Conjunctions don't change the case of the noun; prepositions do.
Either way, "Next up is us" is correct, and "Next up is me" is correct. In both cases, the pronoun is the object of the sentence.

I did not express myself well there.
What I meant was test the sentence in the same way you do when there was is 'and' instead of 'against' - just look at them one at a time. Once you do that it becomes obvious you need the objective case for both pronouns joined by 'against'.

Replies:   Geek of Ages
Geek of Ages
Updated:

@Ross at Play

Keep in mind that I am the one saying that both pronouns should be in the objective case. If you say so as well, then you were agreeing with me that it is "Me against him"; the way you phrased it made it sound like you were disagreeing.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Dominions Son
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


Sorry to say, but you were taught wrong. I was taught to always credit my sources in well-documented reports. However, you Never use an unaccredited quote in any form.


Again, you completely miss the point.

1. I was taught to credit sources.

2. I was not taught to never use external sources.

What I was taught is that long continuous quotes from a single source is improper. That is not that quotes are bad, but that multi-paragraph quotes are bad.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ross at Play

@Geek of Ages

the way you phrased it made it sound like you were disagreeing.

Okay and sorry. I agree with you.
I tried to go back through previous posts to see the history and started my post with 'I assume ...'

Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

That is not that quotes are bad, but that multi-paragraph quotes are bad.


many places teach not to use over long quotes in assignments and essays because a lot of students used such things to pad the numbers on the work they handed in. I know of one Aust university professor who said you can put as many references and quotes in the work as you like, but they will not be used in the target word count calculations. He got some of the shortest quotation ever seen in that university.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


I know of one Aust university professor who said you can put as many references and quotes in the work as you like, but they will not be used in the target word count calculations. He got some of the shortest quotation ever seen in that university.


I had professors who would lower the grad on the paper for each over-long quote, including one whose cut-off for what was over long was less than a paragraph.

REP

@awnlee jawking

where 'you and me' can correctly be used as the subject - when you're showing rather than telling.

"You and me against the rest," I said to Delsey, since no-one had come up with a viable alternative.


The sentence is normally stated as "It is you and me against the rest," that is why 'me' sounds okay.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@REP

The sentence is normally stated as "It is you and me against the rest," that is why 'me' sounds okay.


"Me" sounds correct because it is. "Me" is not the subject. "It" is the subject.

Replies:   REP
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

btw, an apostrophe is that single floating thing used for possessives and such. It's not a quotation mark — "

In many British English books, but by no means all, the quote symbols are reversed, with single quotes marking the main quotes, and double quotes are nestled within the single quotes (when quoting someone else within a quote). So Ernest is actually referring to the single quote (the poor man's apostrophe) when he means 'the primary quotation mark'.

Ross at Play

I think the omitted words here are 'It is' at the start of the sentence, resulting in this, which does sound natural:
'It is you and me against the rest.'

I thought that sounded familiar.
It really was me who said exactly what REP and SB just explained, a long time ago.
Talk about déjà vu all over again.

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

Please stop saying 'Aussie authors' or 'Australian contingent'.

Sorry, didn't mean to offend. I was just highlighting that, for whatever reason, our Australian members seem to have a particular issue with the drop quote that members from other countries/continents don't.

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

You do have a problem with semi-colons. I just had a quick look at the sixteen semi-colons in your story. My first inclination would be to keep the first, change the third to a colon, and change all the others to commas.

Always a day and 126 comments short, but ...

Semicolons went out of favor back around the mid 20th century, and are only now gaining ground (i.e. used at all). As such, their use is still frowned on and only used in particular circumstances.

Most modern authors prefer to use simple commas instead, as it's seen as less jarring, since the ampersand really doesn't serve much of a separate function (other than combing sentences or separating lists).

Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

In many British English books, but by no means all, the quote symbols are reversed, with single quotes marking the main quotes, and double quotes are nestled within the single quotes (when quoting someone else within a quote).

Yes, in British English the single and double quotation are often reversed ... although, if one was to be nitpicky, I think it's more correct to say American English reversed the original British style.
My hard copy Oxford Dictionary does suggest the single quotation mark (aka apostrophe) for primary quotes and the double for nested quotes, and notes that American English is different.

Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

As such, their use is still frowned on and only used in particular circumstances.

I was careful when commenting to a new author to say 'quick look' and 'first inclination' rather than 'this is wrong'.
But frowning readers are still a problem for us even when what is causing their frowns is a relatively recent prejudice.

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

Ernest is actually referring to the single quote (the poor man's apostrophe) when he means 'the primary quotation mark'.


actually, I was referring to the proper name for the punctuation mark which comes in a single and a double version of ' or " and is called a quotation mark by many because that's where they see it most of the time. However, I suspect, like many of the punctuation marks the name used in the USA has degenerated. You have a full stop at the end of a sentence. You have a decimal dot with numerals, but you have a period.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
helmut_meukel
Updated:

@Ross at Play


Yes, in British English the single and double quotation are often reversed ... although, if one was to be nitpicky, I think it's more correct to say American English reversed the original British style.

My hard copy Oxford Dictionary does suggest the single quotation mark (aka apostrophe) for primary quotes and the double for nested quotes, and notes that American English is different.


According to wikipedia the british style (single as primary) is rather new: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quotation_mark#In_English

The whole article is really interesting, I knew the obvious difference between german and english quotation marks:

"German", "English" but never conciously realized the finer typographical differences because handwritten they look the same.

Grrr. I used the typographical quotation marks to show the differences and the system changed them to "dumb" quotation marks, then I tried to edit my post using the html notation with the ampersand and they got also converted to the dumb version. So I'll describe it: in German the starting quotes are at the bottom of the line!

Looking back to my English classes in school I doubt the teachers told us the german closing quotation marks are the same as the english opening quotation marks (in printed text).

HM.

Ross at Play

@helmut_meukel

Hi Helmut,
Perhaps you may know the answer to this.
A while ago my OpenOffice started giving me guillemets instead of quote marks. It changed back a few days later. I've no idea what happened.
Am author I work with says their Word is now doing the same thing to them.
Do you know where to set the option for the style of quotation marks in word processing software?

Replies:   helmut_meukel
awnlee jawking

@helmut_meukel

According to wikipedia the british style (single as primary) is rather new: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quotation_mark#In_English


At school, in England,I was taught double quotes as primary for speech, single quotes as primary for quotations, and that was the style in our grammar and punctuation textbooks.

However, a member of my writers' group of similar vintage remembers being taught the opposite. It's possibly a regional variation because we grew up in different parts of the country.

Creates much fun and games when writing a round-robin story (ie Author A starts the story the passes it to Author B for continuation then to Author C etc).

AJ

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

However, a member of my writers' group of similar vintage remembers being taught the opposite. It's possibly a regional variation because we grew up in different parts of the country.

In many respects the expression 'divided by a common language' seems more applicable within Britain than across "the pond".

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

You could say the same about the city of Oxford, with the 'Oxford Dictionary' disagreeing with the erstwhile Oxford Examination Board.

AJ

helmut_meukel

@Ross at Play

Most word processing software has an auto-correct feature.
Usually you can switch it on, off, or select what and how to correct.
Then there is the locale setting in system settings which determines the default display formats for date, time, currency, numbers (decimal sign, thousand separator), ...

Word processing software usually use these system defaults, unless overwritten in its own settings by the user.

e.g. switching the locale from Canada (english) to Canada (franco-canadian) may result in the observed behaviour.

Then there is a setting for the keyboard, in Windows you can switch between preselected (in system settings) keyboards by pressing Windows and Space simultanously.
The same keystroke will give you another sign or character after the switch.
eg. z [switch to US keyboard] y [switch back to german keyboard] z.

HM.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@helmut_meukel

Then there is a setting for the keyboard, in Windows you can switch between preselected (in system settings) keyboards by pressing Windows and Space simultanously.

That looks like it. I think I'd have noticed if I went into the word processor settings and changed something, but Windows+Space is easy to hit by accident and not realise you've done it.

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

Most modern authors prefer to use simple commas instead, as it's seen as less jarring,


I doubt that because it would be a punctuation error — a comma splice which uses a comma to join two independent clauses. If you're adverse to the semicolon, a period is what would be used.

Switch Blayde

@Ross at Play

suggest the single quotation mark (aka apostrophe)


But what do they call it? A single quotation mark or an apostrophe?

I would think it would be confusing to call a single quote an apostrophe since they serve different purposes in punctuation.

Switch Blayde

@Ernest Bywater

You have a full stop at the end of a sentence. You have a decimal dot with numerals, but you have a period.


From wikipedia under "full stop":

In punctuation, the full stop (British, Australian, Irish and New Zealand English) or period (Canadian and American English) is a punctuation mark placed at the end of a sentence.


As an American, a period is a period is a period.

Hey! Isn't that an ellipsis? (read the previous sentence carefully)

robberhands

@Switch Blayde

Hey! Isn't that an ellipsis?

No, I call a foul! I would permit period period period as an elipsis, and that would be a stretch. But 'a period is a period is a period'...no way!

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play
Updated:

@Switch Blayde

a period is a period is a period.

Or you could say:
a period is a period, period!

REP

@Switch Blayde

I know. Awnlee was trying to make 'You and me' the subject.

Ross at Play

@robberhands

But 'a period is a period is a period'...no way!

Sorry. Yes way! People really do say things like that.

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Ross at Play

Sorry. Yes way! People really do say things like that.

The question was if it's an ellipsis, and it's not.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
REP

@Crumbly Writer

Most modern authors prefer to use simple commas instead,


Perhaps they should replace all punctuation marks with commas. :)

Then all we would have to argue about is whether a comma should or should not be inserted. :)

Switch Blayde

@robberhands

The question was if it's an ellipsis, and it's not.


It was a joke.

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Switch Blayde

It was a joke.

I know, and some blockhead ruined it for you and me!

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@robberhands

@SB
It was a joke.
@robberhands
I know, and some blockhead ruined it for you and me!

As the only other person to have posted, that must mean I am being called the 'blockhead'.

I thought what SB said qualifies as a joke.

a period is a period is a period

People do use constructions like that, and an 'ellipsis' was an unexpected follow on. [Although, SB, you really should have left it alone after the question mark. That comment you added after the joke ruins its effectiveness.]

I thought my response qualifies as a joke too.

a period is a period, period!

People do use ', period!' like that when the other words are not 'period'.

So where is the joke in what you posted, blockhead?

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Ross at Play

So where is the joke in what you posted, blockhead?

Explanations and repetitions ruin every joke. Especially if it's a subtle joke.

Ross at Play

@robberhands

Explanations and repetitions ruin every joke. Especially if it's a subtle joke.

Oh, I agree you should not explain your jokes when telling them. Doing so destroys the satisfaction of those able to detect the sublty in the joke. One should not explicitly state this is a joke either. That was why I suggested SB's joke would have been better without the added comment.
But, you've given me the chance to figure it out for myself, and if a joke is in there I have failed. So now I am challenging you to explain what, if anything, was the joke in your post.

robberhands

@Ross at Play

So now I am challenging you to explain what, if anything, was the joke in your post.

Sigh -

Remember SB's question: 'Hey! Isn't that an ellipsis?'

My answer: But 'a period is a period is a period'...no way!

Do I've to highlight the ellipsis?

Ross at Play

@robberhands

Do I've to highlight the ellipsis?

I missed that. Your joke gets a passing grade from me.

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Ross at Play

Your joke gets a passing grade from me.

My ruined joke thanks you very insincere.

Ross at Play
Updated:

@robberhands

Do I've to highlight the ellipsis?

This is a serious FYI on one of the peculiarities of English.

You cannot contract "I have" into "I've" in that statement.
The technical reason is that the 'have to' in that sentence is a phrasal verb - it needs both words to have the meaning of 'must'.

Similar restraints can apply to things like the to-form of verbs, as SB pointed out to me a while ago. I postulated 'in to' could always be combined into 'into', and he correctly said that was not allowed in something like 'He dove in to save her from drowning.'

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Ross at Play

Ok, no fun but at least I learned something new.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play
Updated:

@robberhands

Ok, no fun but at least I learned something new.

Okay. Forgive me because this "something new" will go beyond "no fun" onto the downright annoying.
There are few words in English which are correctly spelt, according to dictionaries, with two upper case letters. I can think of OK, TV and ID. The word 'OK' also has an alternative spelling, 'okay', with lower case letters.

Dominions Son

@Ross at Play

Okay. Forgive me because this "something new" will beyond "no fun" onto the downright annoying.


Sorry, that fell way short of annoying. :-P

robberhands

@Ross at Play

Forgive me because this "something new" will beyond "no fun" onto the downright annoying.

I will, if you add the missing verb.

PotomacBob

@awnlee jawking

A preposition is not the correct thing to end a sentence with.

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@PotomacBob

A preposition is not the correct thing to end a sentence with.

Absolutely; AJ has some really weird ideas swirling around.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
richardshagrin

pe·ri·od.
.
[ˈpirēəd]

NOUN
1.a length or portion of time:
"he had long periods of depression" ·
synonyms: time · spell · interval · stretch · term · span · phase ·
2.a punctuation mark (.) used at the end of a sentence or an abbreviation.
3.the interval of time between successive occurrences of the same state in an oscillatory or cyclic phenomenon, such as a mechanical vibration, an alternating current, a variable star, or an electromagnetic wave.
4.a flow of blood and other material from the lining of the uterus, lasting for several days and occurring in sexually mature women who are not pregnant at intervals of about one lunar month until the onset of menopause.
synonyms: menstruation · menstrual flow · menses · the curse ·
ADJECTIVE
1.belonging to or characteristic of a past historical time, especially in style or design:
"a splendid selection of period furniture"

So a period is not always a period (.)

awnlee jawking

@robberhands

Absolutely; AJ has some really weird ideas swirling around.


Taking my name intravenously ;)

AJ

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

Taking my name intravenously ;)

Perhaps intravenally, or intravenereally?

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Switch Blayde

@robberhands

Explanations and repetitions ruin every joke.


As does "telling" ruin what you already "showed."

awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

Perhaps intravenally, or intravenereally?


During bribery or sex?????

AJ

Switch Blayde

@Ross at Play

That was why I suggested SB's joke would have been better without the added comment.


My assumption was that people would get it before reading what was in the parentheses. So the parentheses was after they laughed. But for those who didn't, I still didn't write an explanation. I had them re-read what I wrote looking for the joke. If they still didn't get it, I guess I was waiting for someone to ask.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Switch Blayde

But for those who didn't ... I had them re-read what I wrote looking for the joke.

That seems to carry an assumption that some people missing the joke is a bad thing. I think to write effective humour you need to be disinterested in that, then those that get it will appreciate it more.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

I think to write effective humour you need to be disinterested in that, then those that get it will appreciate it more.


Unless it's in the forum, in which case you need to bludgeon readers with a smiley ;)

AJ

Joe Long
Updated:

@Ross at Play


spelt


It smelt like a fish.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Joe Long

It smelt like a fish.


It spelt like flour ;)

AJ

Replies:   Joe Long
Switch Blayde

@awnlee jawking

Unless it's in the forum, in which case you need to bludgeon readers with a smiley ;)


LMAO

Joe Long

@awnlee jawking

It spelt like flour ;)


Caught my eye because in America we use spelled and smelled, but we do use lit instead of lighted.

Replies:   REP  Ross at Play
REP
Updated:

@Joe Long


but we do use lit instead of lighted.


and never 'lite' in regard to illumination.

Replies:   awnlee_jawking
Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

Unless it's in the forum, in which case you need to bludgeon readers with a smiley ;)

Unless it's in the forum, in which case you need to bludgeon readers with a smiley :(

Ross at Play
Updated:

@Joe Long

Caught my eye because in America we use spelled and smelled

Either spelled or spelt is acceptable in BrE, as either the simple past tense or past participle. I'm inclined to use 'he spelled it out' and 'he spelt it correctly' - but I'm certainly influenced by how annoying I have found Americans to be that day. :-)

'Lit' is usually in BrE too, for both the simple past tense or past participle of 'to light', but the Ox. Dict. includes this note:
Lighted is also used for the past tense and past participle, especially in front of nouns.

Replies:   Joe Long  awnlee jawking
Joe Long

@Ross at Play

Lighted is also used for the past tense and past participle, especially in front of nouns.


I reckoned the origin for lit was the 't' immediately before the 'ed' indicating past tense, which gives two consecutive similar similar consonants - so it was simplified. There are other verbs ending with 'd' or 't' (nearly the same sound) that are irregular, having an alternate past tense that doesn't use 'ed' at the end.

This isn't true for smell or spell.

Ross at Play

@Joe Long

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_English_irregular_verbs

awnlee_jawking

@REP

and never 'lite' in regard to illumination


Except in nite-lite ;)

AJ

awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

'Lit' is usually in BrE too, for both the simple past tense or past participle of 'to light', but the Ox. Dict. includes this note:
Lighted is also used for the past tense and past participle, especially in front of nouns.


Idle curiosity, but is it permissible to use 'lighted into' as a variant of 'lit into'?

AJ

Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

Idle curiosity, but is it permissible to use 'lighted into' as a variant of 'lit into'?

I am struggling to think of a sentence where I'd use 'into' after either of them. Got an example?

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Ross at Play
Updated:

@Joe Long

I reckoned the origin for lit was the 't' immediately before the 'ed' indicating past tense, which gives two consecutive similar similar consonants - so it was simplified. There are other verbs ending with 'd' or 't' (nearly the same sound) that are irregular, having an alternate past tense that doesn't use 'ed' at the end.

Wiki reckons exactly the same thing but uses slightly different terminology, "coalescence of dentals". You learn something new and utterly useless every day around here. :-)

Replies:   Switch Blayde  Joe Long
Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Ross at Play


I am struggling to think of a sentence where I'd use 'into' after either of them. Got an example?


"When I called him stupid, he lit into me."

To attack a person. To say something in an angry way.

ETA: It's a phrasal verb.

Switch Blayde

@Ross at Play

"coalescence of dentals". You learn something new


Only if you still have your wisdom teeth.

Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

You asked me:

Idle curiosity, but is it permissible to use 'lighted into' as a variant of 'lit into'?

SB provided an example sentence, "She lit into him," meaning she attacked him verbally.

That is a weird one!
That sentence definitely has the construction of using 'lit into' as if it was the simple past tense of a phrasal transitive verb.
But I cannot imagine anyone using other tenses of 'to light into' like this:
- I light into him.
- He lights into me.
- I am lighting into him.
- I have been lit into by him.
- I was being lit into by him.

So personally, I would not permit 'lighted into', but my only explanation is it sounds unnatural to my ear.

Switch Blayde

@Ross at Play

"She lit into him," meaning she attacked him verbally.


I think physically too, but I'm not sure.

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands
Updated:

@Switch Blayde

I think physically too, but I'm not sure.


That would be very unladylike. Sadly my dictionaries support your opinion.

Ross at Play

I agree ... possibly only verbally, but not necessarily.

Joe Long

@Ross at Play

Wiki reckons exactly the same thing but uses slightly different terminology, "coalescence of dentals". You learn something new and utterly useless every day around here. :-)


Now I feel smart. It won't last, in a few minutes my wife will cut me back down to size.

Ross at Play
Updated:

@Joe Long

It won't last, in a few minutes my wife will cut me back down to size.

... and it's no use hiding out from her on these forums. There's a whole horde here happy to help her out. :-)

Replies:   Joe Long
Joe Long

@Ross at Play

.. and it's no use hiding out from her on these forums.


"But honey - they have 'no-sex' stories too!"

awnlee jawking

@Joe Long

I hope she doesn't have a good excuse to light into you ;)

AJ

awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

But I cannot imagine anyone using other tenses of 'to light into' like this:


After looking for, and failing to find, 'lit into' in my dictionary, I googled it. I stopped looking once I found proof that I wasn't hallucinating, but one of the unfollowed links to an urban dictionary had 'light into' in the title, from which I deduce the present tense is also used.

AJ

Switch Blayde

@awnlee jawking

had 'light into' in the title, from which I deduce the present tense is also used.


Or future tense.

"She will light into you when she reads the story you posted about her sex life."

Ross at Play
Updated:

@awnlee jawking

but one of the unfollowed links to an urban dictionary had 'light into' in the title, from which I deduce the present tense is also used.

You asked me. My answer is I don't care. If it only exists in the urban dictionary or similar it's a colloquial or idiomatic expression. I don't use those unless I know them quite well.

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