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

By Eric Partridge | Go to book overview
BOOK III ORCHESTRATION
Chapter 22

ALLIANCE OF PUNCTUATION AND QUOTATION.-PUNCTUATION AN ART, NOT A HAPHAZARDRY NOR YET A PERFUNCTORINESS

§ 1:

Punctuation and Quotation
IN BOOK II we have, in progressive stages, seen punctuation in the strict or narrow sense interacting with its allies and accessories. There is no need to labour the point, especially as we shall, in the next chapter, watch the full orchestra at work. Yet there does remain a matter that we can only here treat satisfactorily: the interaction of quotation, in the fullest and every other sense, with punctuation; or, if you prefer, punctuation and its fellows co-operating with quotation. Here we have a difficult subject: The position of points in relation to quoted matter-the conversation and speeches of persons real or imaginary, excerpts or other examples from literature, phrases and words set off between inverted commas or-much easier-in italics. Let me give a few instances of what I hold to be correct pointing and then comment on a few of the debatable matters.
(1) 'Modern British practice, ' he said, 'appears to be more consistent and, in a sense, more ruthless than American.'
(2) He remarked, with a disarming smile, 'British practice is more consistent and ruthless than American'.
(3) 'Heaven, ' he suggested, 'is an atmospheric word'; and after a reflective pause, 'and a beautiful one'.
(4) 'Heavens!' he exclaimed, 'He [or: 'he'] shouldn't be doing that, should he?'-'I don't know, ' replied Smith. 'Perhaps he shouldn't.'
(5) 'Among the words he mentioned as having an obscure origin were “boy” and “girl”, ' Jones recalled; 'Oh, yes! and also

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