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Old 07-28-2014, 11:20 AM   #31
HarryT
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Originally Posted by gmw View Post
How far back are you going, Harry? That 1943 Bulldog Drummond example was using double-quotes, and I have a 1927 Beau Geste that uses double-quotes. (The latter is technically an Australian edition, but I would have expected it to follow the UK source from which it was produced.) I haven't checked all my old hard-covers, but it seems to me that "universally" could be a bit strong.
Yes, saying "universal" was a bit strong. Let me rephrase it and say that the overwhelming majority of books published in the UK prefer to use single quotes for dialogue. I've just looked at a dozen British books in my own collection, picked at random, from Dickens to Tolkien to J.K. Rowling to Stephen Baxter, and they all use single quotes.
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Old 07-28-2014, 12:01 PM   #32
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I find this thread baffling. Has the OP never read dialog in books before?

It's one thing to wonder if you should use UK or US standards in an international market, but where on Earth did the idea for those wacky non-standard punctuation schemes come from??

Do this, if you've somehow managed to avoid doing it so far in your literary life: Go to Amazon.com or some B&M book store and look for best sellers in the country or language that concerns you. Open some up and note how dialog is punctuated.

Look at, say 10 books. If you happen to come across one of the ten that is punctuated differently than the other nine, toss it and go with the majority.

By the way, I would find the period in the quotes before the tag jarring. Can some one point me to a mainstream US book where dialog is handled that way?
That is, I'm used to
"Yes," he said.
rather than
"Yes." he said.
I don't know why this is so for a period, since question marks and exclamation points always go in the quotes, but it is.
Can't recall ever having seen the second way in a BPH US book.

ApK

Last edited by ApK; 07-28-2014 at 12:28 PM.
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Old 07-28-2014, 01:48 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pulpmeister View Post
I'm not sure why double quotes suggest English rather than US publishing. I just fossicked in my paperback shelves, and a spot check shows that my UK printed and published books are mostly single quotes, (but by no means all) while the USA ones are all double quotes. Admittedly my US sample is smallish.

eg: my Terry Pratchett UK editions are all single quote. On the other hand, "I. Asimov", Bantam US paperback, has double quotes. A Fontana (UK) Agatha Christie has single quotes, a Dell US Agatha Christie has double quotes, a UK Grafton (Panther etc) Georgette Heyer has double quotes.

I think it's a question of house style more than country.
You have it backwards. issybird said double quotes made them think US.
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Old 07-28-2014, 01:49 PM   #34
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That UK style comma, outside the quote mark, makes me squirm and twitch.
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Old 07-28-2014, 10:05 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Penforhire View Post
That UK style comma, outside the quote mark, makes me squirm and twitch.
I think you can get medication for that.
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Old 07-28-2014, 11:13 PM   #36
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I think you can get medication for that.
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Old 07-29-2014, 01:47 AM   #37
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On the OP, I think the right way to look at it is like this:

"I don't use single quotes."

That's a sentence.

"I don't use single quotes," he said.

That is a single sentence, not two.

If you treated the sentence within the quotes as a complete sentence in example 2, you would have to go like this:

"I don't use single quotes." He said.

Which is seriously nonstandard.

The quotes are there to distinguish speech, that is all. If you used a more European convention, e.g. the dash, to serve the same function, you get (and I don't know how to insert an em-dash):

--I don't use single quotes, he said.

Which is quite obviously a single sentence.

All you have to do is keep it clear and unambiguous. The normal typographical convention is the comma within the closing quote. Best to stick to it.

On double v single quotes, I rummaged up the oldest UK printed hardbacks I could find easily in my, er, Library.

Ten Trails to Tyburn, by Bruce Graeme, published by Hutchinson during WW2 (Book Production Economy War Standard): double quotes.

Master of Ballantrae, R L Stevenson, Collins' Clear Type press, undated, but from typographical and other considerations certainly around 1900, also double quotes. And, just to make life more fun, the double quote with a space:

" I think you are a devil of a son to me, " cried his father...

instead of

"I think you are a devil of a son to me," cried his father...

There's also a curious inconsistency in-house. Penguin Books' first P G Wodehouse paperback, My man Jeeves, has, in its 1936 reprint double quotes (with space!). But in a late 50s Wodehouse Penguin, not the same title, I find single quotes (without space).

Last edited by Pulpmeister; 07-29-2014 at 01:50 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 07-29-2014, 02:02 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmw View Post
To repeat what I've said in an earlier thread:

The issue of punctuation inside or outside quotes is also one that varies with formal vs informal. Yes, the formal British rules say the comma should go outside unless it is part of what is quoted, but in novels this doesn't happen for dialogue (a distinction I've yet to see made in style guides, but maybe I've been reading the wrong ones):

(From Bulldog Drummond by Sapper, 65th edition published by Hodder and Stoughton, London, in 1943)

This style appears in both British and American texts. The comma in the above is not part of the quoted speech (if anything it should be a period), but that's not what happens in published novels.
I've found the same thing.

I've also checked my Oxford Style Manual, and that one has actual example sentences of the comma going outside the quotes. It seems to depend on the sentence itself, for example:

Quote:
The original sentence: 'Go home to your father.'
Same thing with an interpolation: 'Go home', he said, 'to your father.' (Comma goes outside the quotation marks since there is no internal punctuation in the original sentence.)
Quote:
The original sentence: 'Go home, and never come back.'
Same thing with an interpolation: 'Go home,' he said, 'and never come back.' (Comma goes inside the quotation marks since it's part of the original sentence.)
Quote:
The original sentence: 'Yes, we will. It's a good idea.'
Same thing with an interpolation: 'Yes, we will,' he said. 'It's a good idea.' (Comma goes inside the quotation marks as a "replacement" for the original full stop, from what I can tell.)
In US practice, the comma always goes inside the quotation marks.

In UK practice, as far as I can tell, comma-outside-the-quotation-marks for direct speech, regardless of the internal punctuation of the phrase/sentence, is indeed not actually done in literature/fiction/novels. At least I can't recall ever seeing it in a UK non-academic book. I assume that in direct speech, the comma in practice still goes inside the quotation marks in fiction books for the sake of consistency, while in academic texts it's more important to adhere to the punctuation of the original sentence and make clear whether a comma was part of the original phrase/sentence or not.

In other words, if in doubt, regardless of whether one uses UK or US English, I'd say "in direct speech, always put the comma inside the quotation marks, followed by the interpolation starting with a non-capital letter".

And not that anyone here asked about question marks or exclamation marks, but just to make sure anyone viewing the topic won't be left in doubt...

Quote:
"When did you meet him?" he asked.
"Yesterday," she said.
"Oh!" he replied.
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Old 07-29-2014, 02:04 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by Pulpmeister View Post
And, just to make life more fun, the double quote with a space:

" I think you are a devil of a son to me, " cried his father...

instead of

"I think you are a devil of a son to me," cried his father...

There's also a curious inconsistency in-house. Penguin Books' first P G Wodehouse paperback, My man Jeeves, has, in its 1936 reprint double quotes (with space!). But in a late 50s Wodehouse Penguin, not the same title, I find single quotes (without space).

Ah, those extra spaces in older books! I'm sure if you take a closer look at your book you will find that they are narrower than regular spaces and also to be found before colons, semicolons, exclamation marks and question marks. They used to be the norm (and I think they still are in French). I like them.
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Old 08-09-2014, 03:19 PM   #40
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Ah, those extra spaces in older books! I'm sure if you take a closer look at your book you will find that they are narrower than regular spaces and also to be found before colons, semicolons, exclamation marks and question marks. They used to be the norm (and I think they still are in French). I like them.
They're still used in French for all punctuation marks with two or more parts, including %, $, #, etc.
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Old 08-15-2014, 01:28 AM   #41
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Both of these are incorrect in the US. As jandrew implied above, the correct sentence would be:

“It is only a theory sir. Maybe one of my crazier ones I admit," said Frank.
Thanks issybird. I felt like I was in "The Twilight Zone" reading this thread until I got to this.
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Old 08-15-2014, 10:51 AM   #42
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[W]here on Earth did the idea for those wacky non-standard punctuation schemes come from??
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Originally Posted by Gregg Bell View Post
[...] "The Twilight Zone" [...]
Thanks, I think that clears that up.
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