Quotation marks in your tutorial

Hi Keith,

I’m currently, and newly, checking out Scrivener. First off, massive sincere congrats to you for writing such a cool piece of software, and putting it out at a very reasonable price!

A nitpick: In the tutorial, I’m finding that your placement of quotation marks is, well, wrong, unless I’m the one who’s wrong. I’ve been wrong many many times in the past, and look forward to continuing my very liberating tendency, but thought I’d write just in case I’m wrong about being wrong this time.

Here’s an example.


Keith is British. His usage is correct in British English. Just one more odd Transatlantic difference :slight_smile:

Actually, no, you’re incorrect. You’re thinking of the placement of punctuation when the quotation marks are being used to for dialogue, or to enclose a whole quoted sentence. For single word quotations, sentence punctuation belongs outside the quotation marks.

Of course, as a matter of style single quotes are generally the norm: ‘binder’ rather than “binder”. But that’s not grammar, it’s style, and thus a matter of opinion.

Actually, he’s not. He’s American, where that usage is acceptable and often preferred.

Really? Those wacky Americans :stuck_out_tongue:

I should know that, actually. I’m Australian, and very fond of the Oxford version of English, but as a day job I write software documentation, where we’re encouraged to use American English and style (worse, we’re often expected to use Microsoft English)

I often shudder every time I have to refer to a ‘dialog box’.

Do Americans put punctuation inside all quotes, including single words?

As an Australian, I’ve also always punctuated inside quotes for dialogue and entire sentences, and outside the quotes for single grabs.

I didn’t realise that was another point of difference.

I tend to punctuate outside of quotes in “geeky” references, because often it can get confusing. For example, type “sudo chmod -R 775 …/*,” would imply the comma is a part of the command. For everything else, my punctuation (along with my spelling habits) tend to be a wild mess of every continent’s preferred usage of English style. :slight_smile: So, I don’t think I am a good example of an American, but I usually put them in quotes no matter how short or long the quotation.

In geeky contexts, though, it seems best to leave them outside of all references that are meant to be literal. This includes menu labels, interface sections, and so forth.

I think it also depends on what part of America you’re in. I was taught in school to always put punctuation inside the quotes, but I spend one year of high school in Vermont, and there they tended more toward the outside for single words. Though it may have just been my teachers.

Or you go the way they do it in the deep woods, where they tend to just not use punctuation at all!

Typically for a forum, this has caused a lot of discussion! Anyway, yes, the punctuation is correct (I’m a stickler for punctuation - which doesn’t mean I don’t make mistakes) for British usage. Aside from dialogue, where terms or single words are contained in brackets in a kind of twitch-your-two-fingers manner, punctuation belongs outside them. I always remember it this way: in dialogue, the punctuation belongs to the speaker; in situations such as this, the punctuation belongs with the rest of the sentence, outside of those quotes.

Here is what R.L. Trask - an American who went to teaches in England - has to say in the Penguin Guide to Common Errors in English (Mind the Gaffe) about single vs double quotes when it comes to direct quotations - note where he places his punctuation!

Note, also the lack of comma before the quotation, which indicates that the quotation is a part of the current sentence (because the one completes the other) rather than a separate unit, and thus the punctuation lies outside the quotation marks.

I really should have used single quotation marks, though - I tend to be inconsistent in the use of single vs double quotes when it comes to distancing words.

Anywah, ha! and all that. :slight_smile:

All the best,

Hi Keith,
I’m finding that your placement of quotation marks is, well, wrong…

Here’s an example.


the quotes in your quote below?