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Old 11-26-2008, 09:06 PM   #1
ProDigit
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an easy way to correct "Quotationmarks" in Word?

Is there an easy way to correct "Quotationmarks" in MS Word?

Usually errors like:

Code:
I told him, " I know, he said ".   <- space in between QM and text.

I told him,"I know, he said".   <- no space before first QM.

I told him, "I know, he said.  <- Forgotten QM @ end.
I told him, I know, he said".  <- Forgotten QM @ beginning.
Anyone knows how to create a macro for this?

Thanks.
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Old 11-27-2008, 08:09 AM   #2
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I think the biggest problem here is the unbalanced quotes - I can't think of any way of automatically balancing them, because this requires natural language skills.

Assuming you have manually balanced the quotes, you could then use the Word auto-correct feature to replace " with the smart quotes throughout the document - this uses a different character for opening and closing quotes. It would then be possible to global search and replace e.g., opening quote followed by space, with just an opening quote.

I have had to go through exactly this process with one of the books I read recently. As I read the book on the reader, I book-marked pages with errors, so that later I could fix these errors in Word (the source document was an RTF). Unbalanced quotes were one of the biggest problems, and I could not think of any way of automatically fixing them (and I am a programmer).
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Old 11-27-2008, 08:13 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ProDigit View Post
Is there an easy way to correct "Quotationmarks" in MS Word?

Usually errors like:

Code:
I told him, " I know, he said ".   <- space in between QM and text.

I told him,"I know, he said".   <- no space before first QM.

I told him, "I know, he said.  <- Forgotten QM @ end.
I told him, I know, he said".  <- Forgotten QM @ beginning.
Anyone knows how to create a macro for this?

Thanks.
This kind of thing is why you have to proof-read books; there's really no substitute for the "human touch". It probably takes me about 50 hours work to produce what I consider to be a "nicely finished" version of one of my Charles Dickens books, for example. Sure, you can produce an eBook in 10 minutes, but that's really not the point, is it?
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Old 11-27-2008, 08:17 AM   #4
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When fixing unbalanced quotes, don't fix quotes that should be unbalanced.

When using quote marks around speech, if the speech is more than one paragraph, closing quotes are not used at the end of each paragraph, but only at the end of the last paragraph:

He said, "This is a long bit of reported speech I'm making, so long that I'll have to break it into more than one paragraph.

"This is still me speaking, continuing my speech in a new paragraph, and looking set to carry on until the audience falls asleep.

"In fact, I have so little to say, but I'm using so many words to say it, that I suspect my some people in my audience are quietly creeping out the back of the hall."


Quote:
Originally Posted by ShellShock View Post
I think the biggest problem here is the unbalanced quotes - I can't think of any way of automatically balancing them, because this requires natural language skills.

Assuming you have manually balanced the quotes, you could then use the Word auto-correct feature to replace " with the smart quotes throughout the document - this uses a different character for opening and closing quotes. It would then be possible to global search and replace e.g., opening quote followed by space, with just an opening quote.

I have had to go through exactly this process with one of the books I read recently. As I read the book on the reader, I book-marked pages with errors, so that later I could fix these errors in Word (the source document was an RTF). Unbalanced quotes were one of the biggest problems, and I could not think of any way of automatically fixing them (and I am a programmer).
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Old 11-27-2008, 08:27 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdurrant View Post
When fixing unbalanced quotes, don't fix quotes that should be unbalanced.

When using quote marks around speech, if the speech is more than one paragraph, closing quotes are not used at the end of each paragraph, but only at the end of the last paragraph:
That seems to be a style that's not "in fashion" at the moment. Dickens uses it for page after page, in scenes where a character is telling a story, but you don't tend to come across it that much in modern books.
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Old 11-27-2008, 08:46 AM   #6
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And, if you are working from scans they frequently miss out dashes.
Whenever I see
"I told him "

I tend to check, because it is frequently
"I told him--"

There is no substitute for proof-reading, alas.
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Old 11-27-2008, 09:11 AM   #7
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Of course it depends what one is aiming to achieve. I can churn out perfectly readable eBooks of the stuff I read "just for fun" in half an hour, but what I'm doing with my Dickens at the moment is literally doing word-by-word and comma-by-comma comparisons against "Google Books" page scans and my own printed editions in an effort to produce "definitive" eBook editions, and that takes literally weeks of effort for one book, working at it several hours a day.

You need to decide what your personal goals are in producing a particular book - scholarly completeness of every comma, or just something that's perfectly acceptable to read for fun; the vast majority of my eBook output falls into the latter category; I just have certain authors I give the "full treatment" to for the sake of my own literary interests.
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Old 11-27-2008, 09:28 AM   #8
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I just installed a new copy of MSWord 2007, and it has a nice feat !

You can search for a single ", (in search window: enter " ; click 'find in', select 'Main Document').
Now all quotation marks are marked.
Click on 'text highlight color' (this is the background color or marker color of a letter, not the font color) and select pink.

I use a light blue background, and pink is very good visible, without hurting the eyes.

I don't know for any other word out there, but on MS Word 2007, all quotation marks are permanently highlighted, which helps finding them in the text.
You can very easily remove the color at the end of the job.

There are 3 quotation marks you can select,the standard one ", a beginning and ending quote(curling right up, and left up).

Do the process for all 3 quotation marks and it will make your life so much easier!!

I just finished a 75.500 + words book,with a few thousand quotation marks..
It's hard, but the color makes it jump out the document better, and correcting them isn't as painful as before!

Last edited by ProDigit; 11-27-2008 at 09:31 AM.
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Old 11-27-2008, 12:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
That seems to be a style that's not "in fashion" at the moment. Dickens uses it for page after page, in scenes where a character is telling a story, but you don't tend to come across it that much in modern books.
Quite true. And of course there are occasions where the quotes really are unbalanced - the book I was proof reading sometimes had missing quotes when a character had finished speaking, so as you say there really is no substitute for manual proofing (although the colour highlighting in Word 2007 would help)
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