A thought on quotation marks

Astro Pen

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I just received a request to reformat one of my manuscripts for UK single speech marks. This is relatively easy to do as a 'select all' replace in word because I always write using the US double quotes and I recommend you do the same. With the exception of rare quotes within quotes it is a simple replace instruction.
On the other hand If you have written a MS with singles then converting it to doubles for a US house is a nightmare because of apostrophes getting bundled into the process.
ps I use very old word 2002 so if newer word processors have some intelligent capability to resolve this feel free to drag me into the 21st century!
 
Well, I'm using Word-97, so don't feel too bad there ;) That's a good point about changing single quotes. Might I suggest that since you're successful enough to reach multiple markets, you consider some form of alternative symbol or hotkey to single and double quotes. Naturally, that will take some retraining of yourself when you write, but then you'd have a working copy which can be edited easily either way.

My readership of three just asks, "what are those funny marks you use around dialogue." :cautious:

K2
 
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Doesn't one have to be careful, even when converting to single quotes from double?


Where one person is speaking and quotes someone else, the quotation marks usually change, i.e.
  • if the usual quotation marks are single, the quotation marks for quoted speech within the dialogue would be double:
Quiller lowered his voice. 'Barnaby grabbed me by the arm. "You, sir, can go to hell," he said. If looks could kill....'​

  • if the usual quotation marks are double, the quotation marks for quoted speech within the dialogue would be single:
Quiller lowered his voice. "Barnaby grabbed me by the arm. 'You, sir, can go to hell,' he said. If looks could kill...."​
 
Here is the corrected version of the above:

I'm using @ in my examples, but I'd use something else. That suggests to word it's an email address.

EDIT:
1. Change your double-quotes (I assume used for quotes-within-quotes, thoughts, emphasis) to something obscure (must be an odd symbol (# ^ * @)).
2. Change your single-quotes to something obscure (must be a different odd symbol (# $ @) than Item No.1)
3. Change your double-quote symbol to single-quotes throughout.
4. Spellcheck your document, at which point you'll be presented with a number of single-quote-symbol corrections, with single-quotes offered as the suggested change: Bobby@s > Bobby's; @Bobby > 'Bobby; Bobby@ > Bobby'; etc..
4A. The reason you CANNOT just change single-quotes to double-quotes is, a spell check will NOT recognize "Bobby, Bobby", and so on as wrong. So elisions, plural s-ending words, etc. will not be marked as wrong.

It's a massive pain since Bobby@s will generate a Bobby's correction, so you just click change over and over... BUT, other forms will just confuse it leaving no suggestion. Regardless, it will make it easier to find where changes need to be made.

Straight quotes and smart quotes another issue.

DO NOT try this on something important. TEST IT FIRST. I'm still a little hazy so someone check me.

K2
 
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To avoid apostrophes getting caught up, you could do a find/replace including the punctuation you get around dialogue, so ,' .' --' ?' !' ', '. That should pretty much cover it and not take too long.

It's true that using doubles to start with is easier.
 
You might try searching with a space before the ', and then a space after '. That will avoid the apostrophes. I don't have Word in front of me to try, but other search functions allow you to include spaces. All quote marks should have a space either in front or behind, and very few apostrophes do.

Edit: I forgot about " at the beginning of a line, but you might be able to put a carriage return in before the " in the search.
 
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Doesn't one have to be careful, even when converting to single quotes from double?


Where one person is speaking and quotes someone else, the quotation marks usually change, i.e.
  • if the usual quotation marks are single, the quotation marks for quoted speech within the dialogue would be double:
Quiller lowered his voice. 'Barnaby grabbed me by the arm. "You, sir, can go to hell," he said. If looks could kill....'​

  • if the usual quotation marks are double, the quotation marks for quoted speech within the dialogue would be single:
Quiller lowered his voice. "Barnaby grabbed me by the arm. 'You, sir, can go to hell,' he said. If looks could kill...."​
Thanks Ursa. As I said in my OP that is relatively rare and as the writer you tend to know the places you have used it. So it is just the odd manual edit.
 
For quotes within quotes do a three stage mod.
So, for example, using Ursa's example
Quiller lowered his voice. "Barnaby grabbed me by the arm. 'You, sir, can go to hell,' he said. If looks could kill...."
1. Replace ' by cawote (cawote used to avoid uses of the word quote in the text. Any other ridiculous word would do.)
gives
Quiller lowered his voice. "Barnaby grabbed me by the arm. cawoteYou, sir, can go to hell,cawote he said. If looks could kill...."
2. replace " by '
gives

Quiller lowered his voice. 'Barnaby grabbed me by the arm. cawoteYou, sir, can go to hell,cawote he said. If looks could kill....'
3. Replace cawote by "
gives
Quiller lowered his voice. 'Barnaby grabbed me by the arm. "You, sir, can go to hell," he said. If looks could kill....'

The process will work from US to English the same way.
 
Hmm. I've done some more testing on the apostrophe front.
@Star-child . Your space after idea doesn't work in Ursa's example, where the last ' is at the end of a paragraph or of the whole text and so there isnt a following space. This is getting more interesting.
 
"So I says to 'im, I says `Ursa is a killer teddy.` But would 'ee listen? No, and more's the pity. Dead now, of course. Bear got 'im." The man was clearly in his cups.

My personal favourite substitution. `
 
Hmm. I've done some more testing on the apostrophe front.
@Star-child . Your space after idea doesn't work in Ursa's example, where the last ' is at the end of a paragraph or of the whole text and so there isnt a following space. This is getting more interesting.
Can you precede or end the ' with a carriage return?
 
That's the question!

I used to know a way of coding for that, but whether it would work in a WORD replace I don't know. (If I could remember it , it would help. And I think it was in an EBCDIC rather than an ASCII based system.)
It still doesn't cope with a quote as the last character of a text, but never mind.
I'll come back if I find anything.
 
Code for carriage return/new paragraph in Word is ^p. You can use in find/replace (along with e.g. ^t for tab).
 
Thank you HB. (I hadn't thought of tabs)
And ^l for a simple end of line.
 

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