Talk:Quotation mark

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Code is not English[edit]

I have "logical" issues with the following bit:

Logical quotation differs from British style in its treatment of colons and semicolons. British and American styles both place them outside the quote marks all the time, while logical-technical style allows them to be placed inside. (An example would be a reference to the C programming language statement, 'printf("Hello, world");'.)

Anything that is written in code cannot automatically be regarded as English (except in the sense that English itself is a species of code). Code is literally a set of instructions to a processor; for computers, code is formatted in such a way that a compiler can readily translate it into machine language. So the example given is misleading because C uses the semicolon as an operator rather than as a punctuation mark. I'd even argue that the single quotes that buttress the C command line should be double quotes because (again) the double quotes inside the command line are operators, not punctuation.

A better example of the use of a semicolon or colon before an end-quote would be, 'The encyclopedist wrote "Common punctuation errors;" instead of "Common punctuation errors:".' —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:59, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

The issue is not whether something is code or not but rather whether the period or comma could confuse the reader. I prefer "To write a long dash on Wikipedia, type in '—'." It serves a double purpose. Darkfrog24 (talk) 15:58, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

We need better sources for LQ[edit]

We need more sources for so-called logical punctuation, WP:LQ. The instructions described in the WP:MoS differ from British style, so we can't just use Cambridge or Hart. I might be able to get my hands on a copy of the ACS style guide, but it would take a few days. Darkfrog24 (talk) 15:08, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

I'm contemplating removing the entire passage on LQ until we can find some better sources for it. There is a discussion on WT:MoS about it. Any input? Darkfrog24 (talk) 23:30, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
I think we should not write anything anywhere that isn't supported by good sources—and I don't mean random websites. Who calls it "logical quotation," for example? SlimVirgin TALK contribs 02:10, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
There are a few sources that call it "logical punctuation." While I would personally prefer to downplay this name because it erroneously implies that British practice is better than American, people do use it. "A printed handbook" "And a text on early modern English" I'm skeptical about Language Log. It's a blog written by professionals, but there's a lot of ranting. We should probably cite anything we see on LL as the specific professional opinion (these guys are mostly professors with PhDs) of each specific blogger.
Also, we should mention the U.S. and Canada specifically if that's what we mean. North America also includes Mexico and there are people there who speak English. Darkfrog24 (talk) 03:20, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

Yes, logical punctuation I'm aware of, but you're calling it logical quotation (and your second source above is about a different issue). We need to stick to what good style guides say. No blogs, no personal opinions from Wikipedians, no terms not found in style guides. Source everything correctly and there will be less confusion. SlimVirgin TALK contribs 03:30, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

Not any more I'm not. Changed this article's LQ to LP days ago.
We should include the terms "American style" and "British style." They are common and easy to understand. We can see "here" that the Chicago MoS refers to them as such. Darkfrog24 (talk) 03:37, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
They're not British or American style, though, and that link doesn't work. Could we please avoid websites and stick to the traditional style guides? SlimVirgin TALK contribs 03:41, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
Try this one then. The relevant text is identical. [1] Both websites are quoting the Chicago Manual of Style.

From The Chicago Manual of Style: The British style of positioning periods and commas in relation to the closing quotation mark is based on the same logic that in the American system governs the placement of question marks and exclamation points: if they belong to the quoted material, they are placed within the closing quotation mark; if they belong to the including sentence as a whole, they are placed after the quotation mark. The British style is strongly advocated by some American language experts. In defense of nearly a century and a half of the American style, however, it may be said that it seems to have been working fairly well and has not resulted in serious miscommunication. Whereas there clearly is some risk with question marks and exclamation points, there seems little likelihood that readers will be misled concerning the period or comma. There may be some risk in such specialized material as textual criticism, but in that case authors and editors may take care to avoid the danger by alternative phrasing or by employing, in this exacting field, the exacting British system. In linguistic and philosophical works, specialized terms are regularly punctuated the British way, along with the use of single quotation marks. With these qualifications, the University of Chicago Press continues to recommend the American style for periods and commas.

If CMoS refers to it as "British style," "American style," "the British way" and "the American way," then it's a safe bet that it's okay for Wikipedia to do so as well. Darkfrog24 (talk) 03:57, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
If one style came into existence in Britain and is still used by the overwhelming majority of writers there and the other style is used by the overwhelming majority of writers in the U.S., then it is safe to say that the first style is British and that the second is American even if they're other things too.
Look at it this way, just because I can also call it "deep dish pizza" doesn't mean I have to stop calling it "Chicago-style." It's a food item with more than one name. Darkfrog24 (talk) 04:00, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
Darkfrog, I'm requesting better sources, per WP:V, which is policy. No more random websites, please, and no personal opinions. It doesn't matter what you or I believe. SlimVirgin TALK contribs 04:18, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
I am sitting here with the Chicago Manual of Style open in front of me. It doesn't say what you are claiming it says. If you want to quote or very carefully paraphrase, fine, but please stick to the sources very closely. And use the sources directly, not websites that say they're quoting them! SlimVirgin TALK contribs 04:19, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
The quote is not from the fifteenth edition, which you seem to have been using. According to Wilbers, it is from the fourteenth edition, pp. 160-61. That the two forms are commonly called "American style" and "British style" is not only my opinion but an observable fact.
In the meantime, we have another issue. While American rules, as per style guides such as MLA and Chicago, allow the placement of periods and commas outside the quotation marks in cases of keyboard entries and web addresses (etc.), this is not typographic punctuation. We should not refer to the practice as such.
Do your sources say "North America" or do they only discuss the style in question? It is not right to equate the U.S. and Canada with North America. There is more to the continent than those two (albeit large) countries. The style sheet that I provided may have been available online, but it did specifically mention Canada. Darkfrog24 (talk) 05:19, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
Chicago does say it's sometimes called British style, but it says nothing about American, and traditional punctuation is used in British fiction and by British journalists, so it's wrong to divide this rigidly along nationality, as many people have pointed out. The page now makes clear who tends to use what. Best to use the current version of Chicago. But please, two things (a) no more original research and (b) only really good sources, closely paraphrased. Doing those two things will solve all disputes. :) SlimVirgin TALK contribs 05:24, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

Example of the problem here: when you say things like "While American rules, as per style guides such as MLA and Chicago, allow the placement of periods and commas outside the quotation marks in cases of keyboard entries and web addresses (etc.), this is not typographic punctuation," I have no idea what you mean. No idea what American rules are, or who is saying it's not typographic punctuation, and who (apart from you) is making that distinction. Please cite your sources with page numbers, then I can look it up. SlimVirgin TALK contribs 05:28, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

While it may be best to use recent editions, that does not mean that previous ones become unreliable, especially not on an issue that later editions don't actively change. For something like "Is this called X?" observing that the Chicago Manual of Style calls something X should be valid. On that particular point, even "random" websites are valid. Perhaps we need a request for comment on this one.
American rules=what Chicago calls "American style," or American practice in its entirety. Typographic punctuation, as you've explained in the "history" section is the practice of putting periods and commas inside the quotation marks, originally so that the type wouldn't break. It seems to be that TP is something that American style does most of the time but not all the time. Darkfrog24 (talk) 05:32, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

Question about sources[edit]

Darkfrog, are you willing to stop using websites and start consulting the style guides directly? SlimVirgin TALK contribs 05:31, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

As a practical matter, Slim, I don't have all of those books in front of me. Consulting a reliable website is appropriate. This article already has many websites as sources. Darkfrog24 (talk) 05:33, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
Then please go to a library and borrow them. A huge amount of confusion is being caused by imprecise use of terms, both here and on the MoS, and I'm sorry to say this, but you are the cause of a fair bit of it. Also please note what this page says: "References: Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition; Hart's Rules for Compositors and Readers at the University Press, Oxford; Merriam-Webster's Guide to Punctuation and Style, second edition."
Yes, and I was careful to use the book citation template that had a space for me to note that this point was from the fourteenth edition. Do you believe that the fourteenth edition of the Chicago Manual of Style used the terms less precisely than the fifteenth used "British style"? Darkfrog24 (talk) 05:45, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
I don't know, I haven't seen it. The problem is, nor have you. SlimVirgin TALK contribs 05:51, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
No, but I have seen the exact same text in multiple online sources, which I have no reason to believe do not meet Wikipedia's criteria for reliability. Darkfrog24 (talk) 05:55, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
Also bear in mind that if Chicago changed that section (and it's a big if at present), they did so for a reason. Why would you not want to respect that? SlimVirgin TALK contribs 05:52, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
Did Chicago say "This isn't called 'American style' and 'British style'"? If it corrected or otherwise directly contradicted the previous edition, then yes, the newer one would take precedence. But if it simply declines to mention it, then there is no reason not to hold the previous information as valid, especially when the information is "Chicago called this X." 05:55, 15 February 2010 (UTC) Darkfrog24 (talk) 06:00, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
Here is an online source—the Chicago MoS website Q&A section. [2] The CMoS answer refers to the practice in question as "American-style punctuation."
For British: [3]Darkfrog24 (talk) 06:20, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
The link to TJHSST regarding colons and semi-colons inside a quotation mark is dead [1]. Alaphlosiam (talk) 14:51, 18 October 2010 (UTC)

Request for comment, previous edition via the Internet[edit]

There are two questions: 1. Does a previous edition of a source become unsuitable for Wikipedia when a newer edition is published? and 2. Is it acceptable to cite this source through an intermediary, such as a website?

In this particular case, one user has found multiple websites that include the same direct quotation of the fourteenth edition of the Chicago Manual of Style (the fifteenth edition is the most current). This quotation is used to source the assertion that the Chicago Manual of Style refers to two specific sets of punctuation practices as "American style" and "British style." Darkfrog24 (talk) 05:44, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

The issue here is twofold: (1) with style guides it's always better to consult the latest edition, and this article does rely on the latest edition as a key source, so we shouldn't be mixing editions; (2) Darkfrog hasn't consulted any of the sources, yet is trying to use them sourced to websites that may or may not be reporting them accurately, and may be using older editions. Darkfrog needs to read the style guides he wants to cite. SlimVirgin TALK contribs 05:48, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
Just because one source is better than another doesn't mean that the lesser source does not meet Wikipedia's criteria. In this case, it isn't as if the fifteenth edition contradicts the information that I got from the fourteenth. Thousands of Wikipedia articles use websites as sources. The question is not whether copying directly from book would be better; I agree that it would be. It is about whether copying from a web page meets Wikipedia's standards; I believe it does. Darkfrog24 (talk) 05:52, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
You didn't get any information from the 14th edition, because you haven't seen it. I am challenging your use of random websites, some of them perhaps self-published, as sources. Per V, please produce a good source that you have seen with your own eyes. SlimVirgin TALK contribs 05:55, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
I have seen the websites with my own eyes. They are not random. Darkfrog24 (talk) 06:00, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
But I am disputing them, so please provide the original source. I would like to know what it says, with a page number and a quote, per V. It is policy. SlimVirgin TALK contribs 06:01, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

[4] [5] [6] These three websites all attribute the exact same words to the Chicago Manual of Style. The third gives the edition and page number. I do not suppose that it would be any more difficult for you to track down the paper copy than it would be for me. Darkfrog24 (talk) 06:10, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

Considering that Wikipedia has a policy, WP:SAYWHEREYOUGOTIT, on how to cite sources indirectly, it is safe to say that Wikipedia does allow us to cite sources indirectly. As an example, it uses a website that quotes a book. Darkfrog24 (talk) 03:30, 9 March 2010 (UTC)

"North America" or "U.S. and Canada"?[edit]

Unless our sources specifically say "North America"—the ones I've seen don't—we should say "the U.S. and Canada" or "Canada and the U.S." There are millions of North Americans who are neither American nor Canadian. I realize that in an article about English, many readers will assume that we are discussing the two major English-speaking North American countries, but I feel that equating "North America" with "North America but not Mexico" may offend Mexican readers. Darkfrog24 (talk) 06:05, 18 February 2010 (UTC)

Original research[edit]

Darkfrog, please stop adding your own opinions; see WP:NOR. SlimVirgin TALK contribs 06:13, 18 February 2010 (UTC)

Funny how they're my opinions when I keep showing you sources. A lot of them don't use any other term for these practices but "British" and "American."[7]
That the styles are commonly referred to as British and American is like saying that William Jefferson Clinton is known as "Bill Clinton." While we're on the topic, how about, if you want to downplay the styles' connections to British English and American English, you provide a source for that? The line "Although these practices are generally known as British and American, respectively, some American organizations, such as the American Chemical Society, use British conventions and some British organizations use American" would improve the article. Darkfrog24 (talk) 13:22, 18 February 2010 (UTC)
In case it's of any interrest, I'll mention here that Cambridge University Press talks of "Cambridge" (British) & "International" (American). I don't know whether this appears in reliable sources. Maybe it's purely internal. I know about it from having worked for them. Peter jackson (talk) 11:13, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
Great. However, I also recall seeing "international" used to mean "British/logical/that one." Adding the info would need a source (CUP manual of style would do) and a mention of that complication. Darkfrog24 (talk) 03:14, 7 March 2010 (UTC)


If you write what the article refers to as Irony at the end of a sentence, does the period go in or out of the quotes?

Ie: He shared his "wisdom". or He shared his "wisdom."

Bioniclepluslotr (talk) 19:31, 9 March 2010 (UTC)

In the American system, periods go inside regardless of why the quotation marks are used.
In the British/computer programmer system, the period would go outside in this case because the stop applies to the whole sentence rather than to just the word "wisdom." Darkfrog24 (talk) 13:17, 11 March 2010 (UTC)

Curly quotes for this article[edit]

Just a few minutes ago an anonymous IP changed all the quotation marks in this article from straight to curly. This is against the current MOS but IMO it improves the clarity of the information in this particular article. I hope it will not reverted. It’s a very careful and thorough edit, and I wish it had been done by a registered user in case of disagreement. MJ (tc) 16:17, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

It is against the MoS, but not for (solely) aesthetic reasons. Curly quotes can mess with browser search features. Darkfrog24 (talk) 02:32, 23 March 2010 (UTC)
The search example at MOS is of a keyword with an apostrophe. Looking over this article, I can’t imagine anyone searching for any of the words with internal apostrophes. Also the caution is regarding mixed use, which is not a problem here. I think the bigger issue is that an explanation may be wanted for why this one article should be allowed to break with MOS. MJ (tc) 05:09, 23 March 2010 (UTC)
Good luck with that.
Someone might search for something like "Gagan,' greet." I do that a lot when I'm trying to get back to my place in a document that I'd broken off reading.
Why do you feel that curly quotes improve clarity of information? They don't seem to make the reader experience any better (or worse, apart from technical issues) from over here. Changing straight to curly doesn't seem much different from changing the font. Darkfrog24 (talk) 00:54, 24 March 2010 (UTC)
Because they distinguish opening and closing, especially helpful in the examples of nesting quotations. It may not make much visual difference when a single word is quoted, but when it’s more than a few words, they speed perception of beginnings and endings, especially when there’s other punctuation adjacent. MJ (tc) 05:32, 24 March 2010 (UTC)
Have there been any studies done on this or is this your own assessment? Darkfrog24 (talk) 11:51, 24 March 2010 (UTC)
I imagine it’s been studied lots of places, but that is my own assessment, which is why I’m discussing it here. Anyone else? By the way, I have since noticed some useful occurrences of curly quotes in other punctuation articles, so this one isn’t a lone exception. MJ (tc) 17:18, 24 March 2010 (UTC)
If you want other people with whom to discuss this matter in general, WT:MoS would be the place. Darkfrog24 (talk) 12:52, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

Elaboration on reasoning behind putting "." and "," inside of quotation marks[edit]

I was wondering about how the sorts for quotation marks were better protection than the sorts for spaces. The line would be filled up with sorts for spaces anyway, thus making the pressure on the commas and full stops identical, or am I mistaken here? The sourcing for this particular bit is from a newsgroup FAQ that mentions one person with an email address as the originator of this information. The email address, however, is dead. I believe that further explanation and verification is necessary, as otherwise – and especially in such brevity – the explanation is not utterly convincing. EDIT: In fact, aren't commas and full stops in most cases followed by a space anyway? How are they protected then? DonSqueak (talk) 02:48, 21 May 2010 (UTC)

Oh, it's a reference to the physical bits of metal that people would use in old printing presses. What I've heard is that the metal bits for "." and "," were more slender and narrow than the ones for letters or wider typographical marks and that, if they were ever placed at the end of a line, they'd be more likely to break. Putting a thicker piece, like the one for ", after them prevented this. From what I'm guessing, they didn't use pieces to represent spaces; they just left them blank.
Maybe you should look for a book on the history of printing presses or the history of the written word.
I don't have any source on this but I imagine that, before the advent of printing presses, people just wrote their periods and commas underneath the quotation marks.
Here are some other websites that mention printing presses. I just did a quick Google search: a blog post. Darkfrog24 (talk) 19:51, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
Thanks DarkFrog24. I understand the argument presented in the FAQ post (and I also mentioned the "sorts" in my question, which are the actual pieces you move into place in a printing press). I just dispute the validity, as seemingly this FAQ is the only source repeated all over the internet.
Spaces indeed also require sorts, since you fill the line from the side, and if you left it blank, the next letter would just be pushed in, hence eliminating the space. Also, the printing press is pressed on the paper from *above*, not from the side, so against what pressure would the sorts have to be protected? I hope you understand where my doubts are coming from. Also, in German, commas would *never* go inside quotation marks, so this is hardly a universal typesetters' rule (example from German: „Ich glaube nicht, dass das so stimmt“, sagte er.).
Long story short, I have searched Google for quite some time now, but nothing on the internet has so far been convincingly arguing this case. As I don't have access to a library with English books on typesetting here in Japan, I wonder if anybody in the rest of the world could find a convincing source. DonSqueak (talk) 04:26, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
If you feel that the information about the history of American style is insufficiently sourced, DonSqueak, then it would be appropriate for you to remove it until someone can find a new source. For my own curiosity, though, are you describing a modern printing press or the type of press that would have been around hundreds of years ago? (Huh, here's another blog source... But how can we know that they're not all quoting each other? Hey! The blog is just quoting Wikipedia!)
Please note that we do have sources for the American system also being called "typesetter's rules," even though it is not, as you have pointed out, universal to typesetting in all languages. Darkfrog24 (talk) 02:36, 12 June 2010 (UTC)

Valid use of two end marks?[edit]

In 'Typographical Considerations' it is mentioned that one cannot end a sentence with two end marks, but how do you construct:

Did Kennedy really say, "Ich bin ein Berliner!"?

I can see that if we question a question we could do without two question marks although this is flatly contradicted by [2] which absolutely recommends using two question marks if it is logical. With the one exclamation and a question about it, surely one must use both? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Billben74 (talkcontribs) 12:23, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

Misuse of "Irony"[edit]

I'm surprised that no one yet has caught the misuse of the word "irony" in this article. Irony does not mean what this article is using it to mean, Alanis Morissette notwithstanding. It does not mean to use a word in a sarcastic, skeptical, dubious sense at all. I'll have to get out my Thesaurus and see what is the best word to use for this heading.Wjhonson (talk) 12:50, 14 July 2010 (UTC)

Why, what do you think irony means, if not this? I looked it up again to be sure, and that’s exactly what it means: stating the opposite of the intended meaning. MJ (tc) 22:17, 16 July 2010 (UTC)
Not only are you correct, but to change section headings for anything short of a serious problem is unacceptable. I am reverting the change. JonRichfield (talk) 19:48, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
Not to beat a dead horse, but Wjhonson's comment not only mistakes the meaning of irony but misuses the word sarcastic and misreads Alanis Morissette's mistake to boot. Sarcasm's primary characteristic is the intent to demean and wound [3] and only incidentally often employs irony to do so. Ms. Morissette's song uses ironic to mean contrary to expectations or hopes, if I infer correctly, and not at all to mean contrary to meaning. (How else to interpret rain on one's wedding day as ironic?)LINKBook (talk) 17:59, 6 October 2013 (UTC)LINKBook

Quotation marks and commas (proper order)[edit]

This article should be correct. Some examples improperly put the comma at the end of quoations, inside the quotation marks ("'Good morning, Frank,' greeted HAL.") The last comma does not belong to the quoted text and therefore does not belong inside the quotation marks. It should be: "Good morning, Frank", said HAL. Improper quotation of important people can end up in criminal charges, even if you added only a comma. I request the rewriting of this article. (talk) 18:48, 5 August 2010 (UTC)

Actually, in both British and American English, dialogue for fictional conversations goes inside the quotation marks, as shown. (HAL is a fictional character from the film 2001: A Space Odyssey). This is according to Butcher's Copy Editing, as listed on the article's list of sources. Darkfrog24 (talk) 22:13, 12 August 2010 (UTC)

Use in repeated lines[edit]

What about the use of vertical quotation marks when they mean "same as line before - just look above". I usually see about 1-3 of them per line, spread out depending on the line length. Is there any specific terminology for this use, and how should it be added to this article? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:20, 21 October 2010 (UTC)

You're thinking of ditto marks; same symbol, usually, as double quotes, but different use completely. Cheers, LindsayHi 08:53, 1 November 2010 (UTC)

Reported Speech[edit]

Is there a source for this sentence ~ [h]owever, another convention when quoting text in the body of a paragraph or sentence—for example, in an essay—is to recognize double quotation marks as marking an exact quotation, and single quotation marks as marking a paraphrased quotation or a quotation where grammar, pronouns, or plurality have been changed in order to fit the sentence containing the quotation ~ which is currently unsourced? I ask because it is quite radically in opposition to the usual (and previous in the article) explanations of quote marks as being for exactly quoted material. I fully realise that we use WP:V, not WP:IVENEVERHEARDOFTHAT, but i have to say that the only acceptable way i have ever run across, in academic institutions in the UK, Canada, and the USA, to change "grammar, pronouns, or plurality" has been the use of square brackets, as i do earlier in this query. Cheers, LindsayHi 09:02, 1 November 2010 (UTC)

The sentence in question has been in the article for some time ~ since this diff ~ but that doesn't make it accurate. I'd ask the person who put it in, but it was an IP, so i'm not sure there's any value going there. Nevertheless, i am adding a {{fact}} request, as i maintain that this completely contrary statement needs verification. Cheers, LindsayHi 17:03, 6 November 2010 (UTC)
A couple of general sources for this:
  • Fowler says, "Some ... also use the single marks for isolated words, short phrases, and anything that can hardly be called a formal quotation; this avoids giving much emphasis to such expressions, which is an advantage." Although this doesn't explicitly address words that have been very minorly paraphrased, I'd argue that this falls into the gray area Fowler describes of something that partakes of quotation but "can hardly be called a formal quotation". Fowler himself goes on to comment that this is a subjective area.
  • In this Q & A column from the CBC, a correspondent states that "to add emphasis, show unusual or novel terminology and provide an indirect quote, the inverted comas (' ') are to be used." The columnist implicitly endorses this (along with the rest of the letter, not quoted), with the statement, "Your preferences are shared by a lot of people, especially in Britain."
I follow this convention myself, although I can't say quite where I picked it up from. JudahH (talk) 05:28, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

Sources of the quotes[edit]

I feel like the source of the quotes should be cited - the first few are from 2001: A Space Odyssey, right? Also, I'm not sure that encyclopedic should use a movie source, instead of a generic sentence (eg. 'Hello,' said John.). -- (talk) 01:53, 2 March 2011 (UTC)


Error correction or clarification perhaps needed[edit]

Regarding Quotation_mark#Punctuation: What's the difference between:

  • “Today”, said former Prime Minister Tony Blair, “I feel free from care and anxiety.” (British non-fiction only)
  • “I feel happy,” said Björk, “carefree, and well.” (both major styles)

I can't help but wonder if one (or both) of these is broken. Since the article says: "In non-fiction, British publishers may permit placing punctuation that is not part of the person’s speech inside the quotation marks but prefer that it be placed outside." I'm guessing that the first example should have the final period outside the quotation marks. But really, I'm not sure what needs to happen.

Even (especially) if the examples are correctly punctuated, some sort of clarification, I think, would be in order. — gogobera (talk) 01:10, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

Bjork would have said "I feel happy, carefree and well." The comma is present in the original quotation, so there is no issue with allowing it inside quotation marks. Blair would have said "Today I feel free from care and anxiety," so there could be such an issue. Darkfrog24 (talk) 13:32, 1 July 2011 (UTC)

Confusing wording[edit]

This part of the page contains wording that can be a bit confusing. Could someone clear it up a bit?

Quotation marks are written as a pair of opening and closing marks in either of two styles: single (‘…’) or double (“…”). Both styles are common in the English language; however, the single and double styling is considered to be the standard in British and American English respectively.

Especially this part:

Both styles are common in the English language; however, the single and double styling is considered to be the standard in British and American English respectively. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mayhaymate (talkcontribs) 14:42, 30 July 2011 (UTC)

my qoutation marks an the article r — and ———. Y?! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:33, 31 July 2011 (UTC)

Not sure what the confusion is; seems clear enough to me. In English considered generally, we see both styles. The first, single quote marks, is considered standard in British English and the second, double quotation marks, is considered standard in American English.
Possibly the use of respectively is unfamiliar to you. It functions to associate one sequence of words one at a time with another sequence of words:
(1) single → (2) double styling
(1) British → (2 American English.

LINKBook (talk) 18:11, 6 October 2013 (UTC)LINKBook

Polish (and other languages?)[edit]

Some languages put the first mark low, the second high, like ,this'. It deserves a mention (especially because Poles (and maybe others) keep this form when writing in English because they're not aware of the difference. It'd be good to start a section but it'd be better to have more languages if it's true for others too. Malick78 (talk) 11:56, 25 September 2011 (UTC)

I agree it would be an interesting section. Does anyone know how it works with asian languages, such as manderin?MilkStraw532 (talk) 19:22, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
There is already a whole article Non-English usage of quotation marks that includes Polish and many other languages.--Azarien (talk) 09:50, 3 August 2012 (UTC)

"Misnomer" claim removed as OR. Other statements kept[edit]

Okay, whoever put in the claim that "American style" is a misnomer, sorry, but that's WP:OR. If you want that to be part of the article, you have to find a source that says something to the effect of "'American style' is a misnomer." Personally, I don't believe that the fact that some Brits use American style and some Americans use British is enough to justify calling it a misnomer. I deleted the claim itself but kept the part about how not all American writers use American style; there were more enough sources to justify that (I even added another one). Also, if you can find a web site citing the style guide of the American Chemical Society, they use British style too. Darkfrog24 (talk) 19:16, 25 October 2011 (UTC)

Here's a copy of my response to your filing at WP:No original research/Noticeboard:

I've sourced this to the bejeezus belt, far more than is actually needed in the article, here: User:SMcCandlish/Logical quotation, though any/all of these sources could be added to the article. The WP:NOR, and WP:NPOV, which is far more serious, is the pushing of typesetters' a.k.a. printers' a.k.a. etc., etc., quotation marks as "American", and logical quotation as "British" (I've PROVEN that these labels are false). It's a blatant agenda. Wikipedia has been directly attacked in the British press for being inaccurate on this. (See essay; I cited that, too). My edits brought the article into line with actual reality. I don't need a source to say "American-style is a misnomer", though the Slate piece essentially does this, as do others I've cited in the essay. It's just wording expressing the cited facts; if someone doesn't like them exactly as they are, they can be tweaked, but reverting everything back to "American" is a falsification of the facts. Proponents of this hyper-nationalistic label, on whom the burden of proof lies, have to show reliable and independent sources for this term. The vast majority of published style guides are neither, because their authors and publisher have a very strong, vested monetary interest in falsely nationalizing punctuation and other grammar points, because this is what sells style guides. Those that do falsely patrioticize the issue do so only by ignoring demonstrable facts (which I've provided citations to in the essay), so they're not reliable as well as not independent of the subject. It's a bit like quoting guidebooks on American vs. British "psychics" for "facts" about the veracity of the claims made by the practitioners.

I dispute, based on the evidence I've gathered at User:SMcCandlish/Logical quotation, that the term "American quotation" can be taken seriously in this article. I have no issue with it being mentioned and noted as an inaccurate term, but it's use as the principal name of typesetters' quotation, a.k.a. printers' quotation a.k.a. traditional journalism quotation, etc., is a transgression of WP:NPOV, WP:NOR, WP:V, WP:RS, and WP:SOAPBOX. The sources for it are neither reliable nor independent. (NB: I am an American.) — SMcCandlish Talk⇒ ʕ(Õلō Contribs. 00:05, 28 October 2011 (UTC)
Revision: The text as of my writing isn't all that bad, but it still takes the nationalistic labels seriously, when they cannot actually be taken seriously, and there's a pile of evidence I'm amassed that they're misleading.SMcCandlish Talk⇒ I take that back. While the "American-pumping" isn't as awful as it could be, reverting everything back to "British" has actually published blatant falsehoods. The whole section is screwed. ʕ(Õلō Contribs. 00:13, 28 October 2011 (UTC)
Wait a second, why do you think that the Chicago MoS and APA are not reliable, independent sources? This is not a rhetorical question. I actually want to know. Darkfrog24 (talk) 02:22, 28 October 2011 (UTC)
We got a response over at the OR notice board: [8]
This person seems to feel that secondary sources should be given precedence over style guides but that you would actually have to find one that refers to the term as inaccurate/misnomers.
Frankly, I'm surprised we got one. I thought no one cared about this issue but us. Darkfrog24 (talk) 12:32, 28 October 2011 (UTC)

Entire "Punctuation" section has to be rewritten[edit]

We can put aside the argument about "American" for the time being, but the "British" bit has to go. The sources I've found (see above) conclusively prove that there is no "British style", there are several British styles, mostly similar but sometimes not, and all with different rationales, and most of them are, necessarily, not logical quotation. They're somewhere between logical and typesetters'/American quotation. I'm tempted to revert to what I wrote before, and then partially self-rv to use Darkfrog24's "American" instead of "typesetters'" until that separate issue is settled. But for the short term, this article is just factually incorrect on British punctuation, and a major British newspaper has laughed at us for it in public. — SMcCandlish Talk⇒ ʕ(Õلō Contribs. 00:29, 28 October 2011 (UTC)

The sources that other editors and myself have provided refer to it as "British."[9] [10] [11] [12] Kindly provide sources of comparable or better quality showing that these sources are wrong. How about we start with a link to the newspaper article that you've just mentioned? EDIT: Okay, I read it. 1. He's not mocking Wikipedia and 2. he doesn't actually seem to be saying that we should stop calling it "British."
Your claim regarding "American" is that the fact that most American writers use it isn't enough, that 100% compliance is required for the term to be accurate. Well, not 100% of typesetters use it either. If 100% compliance were required, then neither "American" nor "typesetters" would be okay. Even if the terms "American" and "British" don't perfectly reflect what everyone does, this article should still use them because that's what the sources call them. It's kind of like how "Chicago-style pizza" can be baked in a restaurant in London or Paris and be listed on the menu as Chicago-style pizza.
At least we seem to agree on one thing: The article should say that not all Americans use American style etc. That is the truth. The difference seems to be that you think that makes "American" a misnomer and I don't. Why not just write the article using the terms that the sources use, state, as it currently states, that usage can cross national lines, and let the readers conclude for themselves.
You think that I'm disconnected from reality because I believe these styles are American and British and I find you to be disconnected from reality because you don't. We need a RFC on this. Darkfrog24 (talk) 01:52, 28 October 2011 (UTC)

Request for comment: Should the article use the terms "American" and "British"?[edit]

Should Wikipedia refer to two punctuation systems as "American" and "British" even if not all American/British writers and style guides use/require them?

One editor added the statement "The term 'American style' is a misnomer because..." to the article quotation mark. As sources, this editor referenced American style guides that require "British style" punctuation. A second editor removed the misnomer statement as original research.
Both parties agree that the article should say plainly that not all Americans use "American" style, etc., but the first editor believes that the article should also state that the terms "American style" and "British style" are inaccurate/misnomers. The second editor does not, believing that the article should not claim that the terms are inaccurate unless a reputable source that explicitly says so can be found.
Someone please come in and look at the sources, look at the article, and help us out. Darkfrog24 (talk) 02:55, 28 October 2011 (UTC)

And now my own POV: I believe that the terms "American style" and "British style" are accurate because they describe what most American and British writers do. If 100% compliance were required, then we'd have to put "misnomer" next to "typesetters" and "logical" and "printers rules" too. The names "American" and "British" don't make the claim that every American writer does A and every British writer does B; rather, they make the claim that American style is associated with the U.S. and British style with the U.K. Even if this were not the case, these are the terms used by most of the most reputable sources, such as the APA Style Web Site and Chicago Manual of Style and others [13] [14].
Even if "American" style were no more American than a "French kiss" is French, we should still use the term because that is the name by which this practice is best known and the term used by the best-quality sources. Darkfrog24 (talk) 03:04, 28 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Disagree Although your point is well taken, there seems to be too much wooliness in the British and American sources to identify one style as "British" and the other "American"; having to delineate all the exceptions defeats the purpose of making the distinction in the first place. As for the contention of original research, the quotation referenced above doesn't seem to bear that out. If a word seems to indicate something it does not, then it is inaccurate and a misnomer. I think it's just semantics.--Miniapolis (talk) 02:22, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
Just to make sure we understand you correctly, with what are you disagreeing? To which quotation do you refer? The one saying "This is a misnomer because..." or the sources that SMC used to justify that statement? Do you think the article should read "The terms 'American' and 'British' are misnomers"? Darkfrog24 (talk) 20:11, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
I just don't understand what's so bad about using the word "misnomer", since there is some disagreement about exactly what constitutes American and British usage; frankly, I don't think this fine point justifies so much disagreement.--Miniapolis (talk) 01:32, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
Oh, there's some background here. SMC is one of a couple of linguistic revisionists who are out to "improve" the English language by, among other things, trying to get everyone to abandon American style punctuation for British. The main tactic is to pretend that American rules don't really require commas-in, that it's just a quirk or a tradition. Flip side: I want Wikipedia's MoS to change its rule requiring British punctuation only (WP:LQ) and permit American punctuation on an ENGVAR basis.
SMC is trying to frame American punctuation as old-fashioned with words like "typesetters" and thinks that I'm trying to frame it as national with terms like "American" and "British." The difference is that American punctuation actually is American, at least in that it is what the overwhelming majority of American writers do and what the overwhelming majority of American style guides require. "British" is accurate for the same reasons and also because the British style was invented in Britain in 1906.
So you could make the case either way. You could say "The term 'American' is inaccurate because not 100% of Americans do this" or you could say "The term 'American' is accurate because 98% of Americans do this." (Stat not drawn to scale.) The question is whether Wikipedia editors are supposed to make cases themselves or cite sources that make those cases. I think that SMC should have to find a source referring to these terms as inaccurate rather than place his own conclusions in the article.
You could accuse either SMC or myself of POV, but the sources agree with me. Most of them use the terms "American" and "British." Darkfrog24 (talk) 14:07, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Follow sources If reliable sources refer to them as American and British, the article should do so. The terms should not be labeled 'a misnomer' unless reliable sources also call them so. FurrySings (talk) 13:10, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Change focus I cannot really see why it is necessary to label the two different uses, particularly when there is some dispute about those labels. It seems to me that it would be just as accurate ~ possibly even more so ~ to say a majority of American writers use this style or this is general usage in the UK, though many authors choose not to or the frequent guidance by US style guides is this pattern. This would avoid the dispute about whether either one is or is not Foovian.
On a slightly different note, Darkfrog, i'd suggest that you might reread what you wrote in reply to Miniapolis and redact or retract the portion in which you ascribe character and motives to another editor. At all times, perhaps especially during an RfC, it's best practice to refrain from commenting on the editor (and his motives). Please don't consider this an admonition, just a reminder. Cheers, LindsayHello 14:45, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
That was my point; this seems to be more of an editing conflict than an editing disagreement. It would be great if SMC would respond to this RFC.--Miniapolis (talk) 18:02, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
Lindsay, that solution might work if we only had a paragraph saying that there were two different styles, but the article goes on to explain how they are different, giving examples. It helps to have something to call them. The paragraphs that introduce those examples already say something very close to what you're describing—as SMC and I both seem to believe that they should. Do you think that the examples would make more sense if grouped by style rather than by usage? (Right now they're organized more or less as follows: "For sentence fragments, style A does this and style B does that. For short-form works, style A does this and style B does that. For fiction dialogue, they both do this. For non-fiction dialogue, A does this and B does that." If we rearranged it as "A does this for fragments, this for short-form works, this for fiction dialogue and this for non-fiction dialogue. B does that for fragments, that for short-form works, this for fiction dialogue and that for non-fiction dialogue," then we could get around this problem, but the article might become less informative.)
It's my understanding that it's the RFC tag itself that must be neutral and that I may give my own assessments and conclusions in my own comments. After all, Miniapolis did specifically ask why this was a big deal. I've worked with SMC long enough to be able to make a reasonably educated guess about what's motivating these edits. We just had a long talk about it on SMC's talk page and SMC did just write a Wikipedia essay on this very topic. Darkfrog24 (talk) 22:53, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
The more I thought about your idea, Lindsay, the less impractical it seemed. I gave it a shot and reorganized the section to minimize the need for labels. Please take a look. Frankly, I think the article was easier to read before, and this doesn't completely solve our problem. Darkfrog24 (talk) 13:24, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

RFC response: As the article stands at present it strikes me (speaking as an editor that happens to be neither British nor American, and who has not seen either the article or the discussion to date) as thoroughly comprehensible, plausible, inoffensive, natural and coherent. Firstly, given the explanation in the article, the term "misnomer" is unnecessary at best, because it is quite clear in context that "British" and "American" are not represented as being definitive but rather as terms of convenience. The use of quotation marks in the text stresses the point adequately, possibly even slightly excessively (though, given the disagreement, that seems justifiable). Secondly, given that the terms are indicative rather than definitive, I should regard "misnomer" itself as a misnomer in context — no categorical terminology is under consideration. I support omission of the term absolutely; in context it is quite unnecessary, somewhat excessive, and slightly undesirable. JonRichfield (talk) 09:36, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

Will remove dispute tag tomorrow[edit]

This matter seems to have been dealt with. If there are no further comments, I will remove the dispute tag tomorrow. Darkfrog24 (talk) 23:06, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

improve this example?[edit]

your example:

If Hal says: "All systems are functional," then:

   Incorrect: Hal said "everything was going extremely well."
   Correct: Hal said that everything was going extremely well. 

could be much improved by changing it to:

If Hal said: "All systems are functional," then he meant "everything was going extremely well." (incorrect)

everything was going extremely well. (correct)  — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:59, 2 January 2012 (UTC) 

Missing discussion for multiple paragraph quotations[edit]

Where is any discussion of the application of quotation marks to distinguish multiple-paragraph quotation - and of course vs. the alternative of setting off the entire multi-paragraph section with double indents on both margins to separate from the main body.Danleywolfe (talk) 00:13, 24 April 2012 (UTC)


The History section does not enlighten us at all - nor does Quotation mark glyphs Wiki q.v. The major alternative glyph, the Guillemet (q.v. Wiki) *does* tell us about a typesetter in 1525-1598 AD and which languages use it. By comparison, where did the 66/99 marks come from; what was their inspiration - does anyone know anything about any of this? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:52, 31 July 2012 (UTC)

Do other languages use "American-style" quotes?[edit]

This is an issue that had been confusing me for some time... And just right now I could understand why certain English texts use a norm like that of Brazilian Portuguese (i.e. the "English" one), and some don't (originally I thought a group out of the two was misspelling it, but then I realised it had to be an amazingly widespread 'error' out of such conclusion). How many languages, if any, use comma before the last quotation mark as in the USA? (talk) 23:52, 13 August 2012 (UTC)

Also, the norm in Brazilian Portuguese is to use quotation marks before dots, but in this case I think it is part of a wider rule in languages other than English... And c'mon people, post something here. It's been a week. (talk) 21:11, 20 August 2012 (UTC)


When refering brand names do we use quotes or capital letters? — Preceding unsigned comment added by FoxxyFuyumi (talkcontribs) 14:54, 6 November 2012 (UTC)

Treat a brand name as an ordinary proper noun. —Tamfang (talk) 18:12, 6 November 2012 (UTC)

Why does this article only discuss English use of quotation marks?[edit]

I don't understand why Wikipedia's main article about quotation marks is written from an Anglocentric viewpoint, instead of discussing the use of quotation marks in general, in all languages. If this article is only about the use of quotation marks in English, then why isn't it titled Use of quotation marks in English? Jarble (talk) 16:05, 12 May 2013 (UTC)

This is the English Wikipedia. What is your beef? –
 – Gareth Griffith-Jones |The Welsh Buzzard|— 20:48, 12 May 2013 (UTC)
Yes, this is the Wikipedia written in English, but it should not be the Wikipedia that ignores the existence of everything non-English. I agree that the article should either be expanded or renamed (e.g. to "Quotation marks in English"). —BarrelProof (talk) 21:42, 12 May 2013 (UTC)

American Bar Association no longer uses logical quotation[edit]

I have removed the reference to the ABA Journal requiring the use of logical quotation (a.k.a. British style) punctuation. While this was true in 1951, and some point in the past decades, the American Bar Association (ABA) decided that it would use the overwhelming majority quotation punctuation practices prevalent in the United States in the ABA Journal, as well as its many other publications. As of 2013, the ABA does not maintain a separate internal style guide for its publications, but on its webpage for attorney submissions for publication, it makes a crystal clear statement that it relies on The Chicago Manual of Style "for all style, punctuation, and capitalization matters in written text as well as general rules of book making." (Please see [15].) I also provide two links to current ABA Journal articles that clearly demonstrate that the Journal is using traditional quotation punctuation in its flagship monthly publication, and not logical quotation. (Please see [16] and [17].) Anyone who wishes to further verify this is welcome to browse other online articles of the ABA Journal from the links provided. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 20:31, 16 June 2013 (UTC)