Comment from: lorraine [Visitor]
lorraine

Hi Diana,

Sounds like a less than productive day. Hope it gets better and the paperwork, cards and orders get sorted out.

Have you read the article in the Jan/Feb 2011 Atlantic, page 80 “Why Our Best Officers are Leaving"? (OK, Prof, what are the rules about putting a punctuation mark inside the quotation marks when they are setting off a title?)

Hang in there.

Lorraine

01/30/11 @ 20:45
Comment from: Aunt Bann [Visitor]
Aunt Bann

Sounds like the Air Force is like most corporations when it comes to getting things done: SNAFU!(You can put whatever word fits in the F spot, if it pleases you to do so!)

Don’t let it get your blood pressure up, or you won’t get to go at all! You’ve been with the AF long enough to know how they do (or don’t do) things. So just do what you can and let them suffer the consequences—that’s my advice, but you don’t have to follow it is you don’t want to! (You rarely ever followed my advice, anyway, did you?) lol

Love you!

01/30/11 @ 20:54
Comment from: diana [Member]

You got it right, Lorraine. :)

No, I haven’t read the article. Sounds interesting.

d

01/30/11 @ 21:23
Comment from: Hinermad [Visitor]
Hinermad

Diana,

Bureaucracies live to serve themselves. We just feast on the crumbs. Or as Pogo said it, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” It makes me wonder if this is what brought the Roman Empire down.

It’s too bad your training books don’t come in epub format. I loves me my Nook reader, but its ability to show PDF files isn’t worth the paper they’re (not) printed on. There’s conversion software available but PDF graphics (which includes tables, sad to say) don’t translate.

An e-reader of some sort might be worth having anyway if you’re going abroad - you can carry 1000 books as easily as one, and lots of classics are avalable for free.

Speaking of firearms, what do you think of the M-9? Would you recommend it to a civilian? (I joined a gun club over the weekend as an excuse to spend even more money. I’m considering a handgun for plinking - no self-defense requirements. That’s what the Louisville Sluggger is for.)

Dave

P.S. Lorraine: I’d have tucked a question mark inside the quotes, since it looks like it’s part of the title, and tagged another one outside since you were asking a question. But I tend to err on the side of too much punctuation. When you’re writing software you can never have too many parentheses. D.

01/31/11 @ 07:54
Comment from: diana [Member]

Ah. OK. I thought Lorraine was being facetious with that question. But since I know you both to be very talented and conscientious writers, and am now convinced the question was not tongue-in-cheek, here’s the answer:

Sample sentence:
Have you read the article in the Jan/Feb 2011 Atlantic, page 80 “Why Our Best Officers are Leaving"?

In this case, the title of the article doesn’t include a question mark; the question mark applies to the question Lorraine is asking and not a question embedded in the quotes, so the question mark goes on the outside of the quotes.

Sample sentence:
I saw a sign on the freeway that said “Where’s the beef?”

In this case, the question mark (someday, I swear, we’re going to make that a compound word: questionmark) is part of the quote itself, so it goes inside the quotes. There is no need for extra punctuation. We’re going to give our readers a little benefit of the doubt here.

The same rules apply with exclaimpoints.

d

01/31/11 @ 08:40
Comment from: diana [Member]

Dave, I have a Kindle (and I LOVELOVELOVE it). I bought it last January when I realized that most of my classes required me to read classic texts which I could get for free at Amazon. &#59;) I’ve been collecting Books I Want To Read for months, along with books I pick up for classes.

They recently upgraded the software to be able to handle pdf files, but (like the Nook) they aren’t user-friendly at all. I’m sure they’ll improve their software soon enough, at which point I just need to download the upgrade. Until then…I quit trying to read pdfs on my Kindle, as the frustration : benefit ratio is too high.

s

01/31/11 @ 08:43
Comment from: lorraine [Visitor]
lorraine

Hi Diana and Dave,

Yes, it was a real question. I was always taught, “A comma before quotation marks and if the phrase or sentence within the quotation marks is at the end of a sentence the punctuation for such is inside the quotation marks.” Nowadays, I tend to try to err on the side of common sense, putting the ending punctuation where logic rather than a hard and fast rule would put it, well, most of the time. Nice to know there is precedent for this.

My husband works as a medical writer and has an organisation-wide style guide as well as those, both written and unwritten, for most clients, then we have Canadian, UK, and US style guides. Interestingly enough, most press in Canada tend to use American spellings on most words though, when written, Z is still “zed” and not “zee.”
Some rhymes just don’t work without it.

Lorraine

01/31/11 @ 10:04
Comment from: diana [Member]

Ah. :)

I believe the rule for quotes is that a comma precedes them only if they are used to denote someone speaking (or in some cases, thinking).

d

01/31/11 @ 10:12
Comment from: Hinermad [Visitor]
Hinermad

Diana,

The rule I was given was to place a comma or period inside the quotation marks. Larger end marks like exclamation or question went outside, unless they were part of the quotation.

The reason was purely mechanics: when type was set by hand, the narrower punctuation slugs at the end of a sentence fell out more easily. So when typesetters had the opportunity they used the wider quotation mark to help restrain the wayward marks.

I don’t entirely buy it, but typography is such a mishmash of aesthetics, mechanics, and tradition that it’s plausible enough to silence the kids asking, “why?”

(For shorter names for the marks, Unix computer people have a lexicon of symbol names that are easier to say, like bang (!), mesh (#), squiggle (~), and splat (*). For some reason I want to use “quack” for “?".)

Dave

01/31/11 @ 11:00
Comment from: diana [Member]

The rule I was given was to place a comma or period inside the quotation marks. Larger end marks like exclamation or question went outside, unless they were part of the quotation.

Exactly–for Americans, anyhow. (I don’t know about those crazy Canadians. :D) I was talking about the comma before the quotes.

Actually, I wouldn’t have used a comma before the quotes in this sentence: I don’t entirely buy it, but typography is such a mishmash of aesthetics, mechanics, and tradition that it’s plausible enough to silence the kids asking, “why?”

I couldn’t explain why. It just doesn’t look quite right to me.

Quack. I LIKE that. :)

d

01/31/11 @ 11:07
Comment from: Izzy [Visitor]
Izzy

HA! That is the best out-processing nightmare story I have ever heard. Kind of sad that it is a genre unto itself in the military.

“The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy.”

01/31/11 @ 11:14
Comment from: lorraine [Visitor]
lorraine

Hi All,

I love Dave’s rationale for the periods going inside the quotation marks. It certainly makes sense.

Life has certainly changed with computerisation; typesetting is one of those things that have become much easier thanks to the chip.

Great lesson in punctuation. You know, it’s hard to get that once one has left school. Thanks.

Lorraine

01/31/11 @ 23:25
Comment from: diana [Member]

DISCLAIMER: The “rules” I am talking about apply to American writing. I know the Brits put commas and periods outside the quotes. I don’t know what the “rules” are for Canadians. Probably a mix?

d

02/01/11 @ 06:49
Comment from: Hinermad [Visitor]
Hinermad

Diana,

I suspect the rules in Canada are the same as the real rule here: “whatever you can get away with.” They can probably just get away with more because they can claim mixed influences. (grin)

Do you use Calibre software with your Kindle? It’s a free ebook management & conversion program and it knows how to sync to an indecent number of readers, including Kindle. It’ll convert PDFs to other formats. In fact, I think what it generates for the Nook is better than the Nook’s native PDF rendering. But the problem with images and tables remains.

Dave


02/01/11 @ 08:27


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