You Have a Point There: A Guide to Punctuation and Its Allies

By Eric Partridge | Go to book overview
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Chapter 21

VARIOUS MODES OF QUOTATION IN PROSE AND VERSE; RELATIONSHIP OF QUOTATION TO PARAGRAPHING

§ 1:

Quotation in Reference to Paragraphing

EVERY QUOTATION, as we have seen (Chapter 15), begins and ends either with two quotation marks or inverted commas-“double quotes”-or with one such mark-'single quotes'. If a quotation extends to an entire paragraph, the same marking applies.

When, however, the quotation consists of an entire passage of two or more paragraphs, there are two different practices with, of course, one feature in common: quotation mark(s) at beginning and end. One practice is to begin and end every paragraph with quotation mark(s); the other is to omit them from the end (but not from the beginning) of all but the last. The former is perhaps the safer, although the precaution does strike the economically minded and the unforgetful as being excessive. *


§ 2:

The Various Modes of Quotation

I: MODES PRACTICABLE IN BOTH SCRIPT AND PRINT

(i) By far the commonest mode is the use of quotation marks, whether single or double. Both double and single quotation marks are correct; modern usage tends more and more to use the single. For general comment, see Chapter 15, Introductory and § 1, Strictly Quoted; for the alternation of single and double 'quotes', where there is an internal quotation, see § 8 of the same chapter.

'Thou shall not kill.' (Or: “Thou…”)

The commandment says, 'Thou shalt not kill'.

'Thou shalt not kill, ' says the commandment.

'Do you, ' he asked, 'like the word “phoney”?'

* I always use the second method.

-170-

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