Talk:Quotation mark

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Image copyright problem with File:Chinese quotes.jpg[edit]

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English translation of German example[edit]

In the German and Austrian section, the example:

    Andreas fragte mich: «Hast du den Artikel ‹EU-Erweiterung› gelesen?»

is translated into English as:

    Andrew asked me: ‘Have you read the article “EU Enlargement”?’

The idiomatic translation of Erweiterung in this context is expansion, which can identify, for example, increasing the membership (of an organization) or increasing the geographical area (under the control of a nation-state or an organization of nation-states).

Expansion suggests increasing the size of something outward from some central area or volume past existing boundaries. Although expansion can occur in any direction(s) (or in all directions), in context, it often implies increase in some horizontal direction(s). Etymologically, the root of Erweiterung is weit, presumably cognate of English wide, and both weit and wide also, in context, often suggest horizontal distance.
Grosbach (talk) 18:13, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

The point is well made, but I see that the EU itself calls it "EU Enlargement": (And so does the Wikipedia article Enlargement of the European Union, but then I suppose that doesn't count.) So, while I am happy to accept "expansion" is valid, I'd tend to say we should use the term that the EU itself uses, if there is no particularly strong reason to do otherwise. And, since this article is about quotation marks and not the things inside them, I don't really see that there is strong reason to change it (but am happy to be persuaded otherwise). Si Trew (talk) 19:48, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Romanian alternative quotation marks[edit]

According to the Romanian Academy the quotes are „…”, but many newspapers, magazines and books use „…“ (like in german). Shouldn't the alternative be „…“ and «…» and not the standard reversed? I can scan multiple examples if you need any. (Full disclosure: That's how I've been taught in school, that's how I see books and that's how I modify my keyboard mapping. The Romanian Academy can go fuck itself!) I'm confused, what do you mean? Vegfarandi (talk) 23:40, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

Scandinavian quotation marks[edit]

I know that oftentimes, Danish uses the same quotation marks as Swedish and Finnish. Also, Icelandic often uses the horizontal bar in novels, rather than quotation marks. How should we indicated this Vegfarandi (talk) 23:40, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

English usage of quotation marks[edit]

Maybe I'm not a "normal" UK citizen but I've always used double quotes as my primary choice. This is how I was taught at school, and a straw poll of my colleagues confirms that they were all taught the same. Updating the main page on the basis of this evidence. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:21, 13 October 2010 (UTC)

I agree with you. I also wonder if English should be in the table at all given the title of the article, but I guess it's helpful for comparison purposes. Maybe the article should then be renamed to "Usage of quotation marks in different languages". Scil100 (talk) 23:34, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
We really need a good, modern, descriptive (not prescriptive) source on this. Anyone? garik (talk) 13:13, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
I'm afraid, incidentally, that how people remember being taught at school is a very poor basis for making changes on Wikipedia. Even assuming everyone remembers right, this only reflects what particular teachers happened to prefer. What we want is to see what publishers prefer. With this in mind, I had a look through a bookcase yesterday, took out books at random and checked which style they used. The following are all British-authored and British-published books that use single as primary and double as secondary:
Watership Down by Richard Adams (Penguin Books)
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (Penguin Books)
My Uncle Oswald by Roald Dahl (Penguin Books)
Sunday Philosophy Club by Alexander McCall Smith (Little Brown)
The Welsh Girl by Peter Ho Davies (Sceptre)
Headlong by Michael Frayn (Faber and Faber)
The Black Death by John Hatcher (Phoenix)
Elizabeth's Spy Master by Robert Hutchinson (Phoenix)
I found two that used double quotes as primary and single quotes as secondary: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (Harper Collins) and The Pyrates by George MacDonald Frazer (Harper Collins). Since both of these are from the same publisher, I suspect that the main determiner of quote style in British publications is the publisher. This was backed up by my finding later a copy of Espresso Tales by Alexander McCall Smith (Abacus), where double quotes are used as primary, in contrast to Sunday Philosophy Club. I also found, as further evidence, that a British edition of Stephen King's The Gunslinger, published by Hodder and Stoughton, had single quotes as primary.
This suggests to me that both styles are used in the UK, but that single-as-primary is a more common preference among publishers (so far, six out of eight). As Scil100 noted on my talk page, the press seems to have its own preference: single quotes in headlines, double quotes in articles. On the basis of all this, I suggest that the article state that both are used in UK-English, and that we don't note a preference one way or the other until we can find a good descriptive source. If no one objects, I'll go and change it myself. I also agree, by the way, that the article title should probably be changed. It seems useful to have the English styles in the table for comparison. garik (talk) 14:02, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
Sounds good to me, in view of your findings; thanks for going to this effort. Scil100 (talk) 20:30, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
Maybe it's because I'm American, but I am astonished that anyone would use double quotes as secondary quotes. This is taught as flat-out wrong here. I've never seen it anywhere except this article (including hundreds of published books). I have seen single quotes used as primary quotes in a few cases, but never with a secondary quotation inside or for a long speech quotation, just to do things like quote a single word. Grammar girl agrees with me if that counts for anything: [1] Okj579 (talk) 16:32, 8 June 2011 (UTC)
If you think about it, it makes more sense to start of with single quotations and move onto double quotations within speech. What on earth happens on the third quotation? 'Josh told me "Mother wants use to Take the trash out now! or else!" and I don't know what to do!'. Fghdhg (talk) 04:42, 4 August 2015 (UTC)
It is because you're American. Grammar Girl says explicitly that "The rules differ in British English." Also, I've moved your comment down the page. It's preferable if you add your posts after earlier ones, unless your comment needs to be very closely associated with one higher up the page (and even then it's often preferable to simply use a quotation to refer back to it). garik (talk) 17:49, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

The entirety of the above discussion (save for the reference to Grammar Girl) is original research, which is not permitted on Wikipedia. Does anyone have any reliable sources to back up the assertion about quotation mark use in UK English? sroc 💬 14:11, 23 March 2014 (UTC)

You could have looked for some yourself! But I take your point. I seem to remember meaning to look for a good source (as my comments suggest), but since it didn't seem contentious I kind of forgot about it. Anyway, I've added one now. Garik (talk) 15:09, 23 March 2014 (UTC)


I don't believe the statement that English-style quotes are the norm in Dutch. That certainly doesn't match what I learned, and it doesn't match the predominant usage in the Dutch article on quotation marks (though there is some debate on the same issue in that article). I see no authority cited for this claim in either place. Paul Koning (talk) 20:39, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

Rather late reaction, but indeed, „this style” is what I learned at school (1990s). However, a quick check of some original Dutch books printed 1980–2013 (granted, one flemish, but no translations) reveals 9 times ‘this style’, twice „this style” and once "this style". says that there are no rules. PiusImpavidus (talk) 17:49, 5 April 2014 (UTC)


We should put the Yiddish ones. I'll look for them.--Shikku27316 (talk) 01:51, 28 February 2013 (UTC)

Estonian quotation marks should be first „…” not „…“ (99 & 99) not (99 & 66)[edit]

Different combinations are used in estonian, but The Institute of Estonian Language uses and suggests „…” as do many newspapers and publishing houses. [1] [2]

2A01:E35:8A17:DE10:3C2A:AFA7:5D43:C3F1 (talk) 19:57, 8 April 2013 (UTC) Sander


"Dum quotes"?[edit]

The infobox on the right currently has the leftmost quote variety (with right quotes used on both sides) labeled as "dum quotes". This term appears nowhere in the article, nor could I find any evidence of its existence with a(n admittedly far from exhaustive) web search. (A search for "dum quotes" turned up plenty of hits, but none relevant; some are (probably jocular) misspellings of "dumb quotes", some are Wikipedia mirror sites, some refer to quotes by people or characters whose names end with "Dum", etc.) Is "dum quote" an actual term for this kind of quote, or is that some Wikipedia editor's idea of a joke? —Smeazel (talk) 09:49, 18 May 2013 (UTC)

Searching using Wikiblame, it seems that "dum quotes" was first added into the article in March 2011 by a Finnish scholar User:Mlang.Finn, who said that ” ” was sometimes called "dum quotes" in Finnish or Swedish. The caption using "dum quotes" was then added in February 2012 by User:Incnis Mrsi. ” ” may sometimes be called "dum quotes", but since there was no citation given for both additions, it's original research, so I've changed the caption to "citation marks" which are both used in Finnish and Swedish to describe the quotation marks. - M0rphzone (talk) 17:27, 28 May 2013 (UTC)

Article merge? Where's the discussion?[edit]

Someone has placed "It has been suggested that Quotation mark glyphs be merged into this article. (Discuss) Proposed since May 2014." at the top of this article (and the corresponding template on the other page). But when I hit the discuss link, it brings me here and there is no discussion of the merger.

Oppose merge: both articles are already long enough on their own. The "glyphs" article currently ( not sure if there is a "proper" syntax or template for permalink) is tightly focused on just the glyphs and encodings, without any long lists of usage by country, and serves as a good summary. It also has a decent explanation of the ASCII backquote problem, which doesn't really belong under "international variation". Language-specific encoding issues should definitely be kept here at "international variation" (e.g. problems for non-breaking quarter-em space in French typography).

Alternate proposal: remove tag due to lack of community interest (no discussion after three-to-four months). Query: how long would we normally keep an issue open? (Not being snarky; I genuinely don't know.) Is there a special procedure for closing off the discussion?

† Sorry, I probably should check the edit history, rather than just saying "someone". But stopping to drag through the history would increase the barrier to me writing this.

Pelagic (talk) 17:57, 12 September 2014 (UTC)

I ended moving some articles around and merging Quotation mark glyphs with what is now Quotation mark. — Beland (talk) 21:31, 15 December 2014 (UTC)

Directly Entering Curly Quotes on Computer Keyboards[edit]

The article inaccurately states that “computer keyboards lack keys to directly enter typographic quotation marks, much typed writing has vertical quotation marks.” This is not true. On OS X, option-[ & shift-option-[ outputs “ and ” respectively, while option-] & shift-option-] outputs ‘ and ’ respectively. I am not editing the main article, since I am not sure if people would consider the option key and shift-option combos significantly different than a simple shift to make uppercase characters or not. I am not sure if stock Windows 7 or 8 OS still lacks this feature (the combo of alt-#### to enter a single character is very cumbersome and definitely pushes the bounds of what could be considered “direct entry”), and might still depends on unreliable smart-quotes. Also, there are several programs that add this ability to Windows (though I won’t bother to relocate and link them, and they might not be compatible with current versions of Windows). Noivad (talk) 01:44, 12 January 2015 (UTC)

Spanish and em dashes[edit]

Perhaps a dozen years ago, I read a couple of Harry Potter novels in Spanish to improve my command of that language. (I'm a native speaker of English only.) I seem to remember that dialogue was always handled by leading em dashes, similar to what is described for Polish in this article. Is this common for Spanish, and if so, shouldn't it be included in this article? Ginkgo100talk 02:34, 12 February 2015 (UTC)

Yes, that is typical in Spanish orthography. I agree that it could be mentioned in this article. Quercus solaris (talk) 04:35, 12 February 2015 (UTC)

Alternative usage of quotation marks other than as speech marks[edit]

I have no idea what I'm doing is called so I can't pull the sources up from Google to back my assertions up, but I think someone here should see what I'm trying to get at:

For speech I always use " as speech marks. But for everything else I use ' as quote marks:

For example:

Andrew asked me: "Have you read the article 'EU Enlargement'?"
The 'rapid' bus was late by five minutes again, and an irate John exclaimed "Where on earth is the damn bus?"
Asked what he was doing, John explained "I'm reading 'The World Atlas' my dear!"

Fghdhg (talk) 04:37, 4 August 2015 (UTC)

If you can't find sources on Google, have you tried an old-fashioned book? This might just be your personal habit, though. I can tell you that long-form works, like The World Atlas, get italics, not quote marks of any kind. Darkfrog24 (talk) 12:24, 4 August 2015 (UTC)