Yet another grammar rant (mild)

This is minor, but it happens enought that it’s starting to drive me crazy (he said, as if he weren’t crazy to begin with). I’m bugged by the misuse of quotes within quotes. It would be bad enough if I only see it around the 'Net every now and then, but I see it on this board all the time. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it done right on this board (that I remember, anyway).

To wit:

The other day Beatrice said, “So Gertrude was all like “Whatever”, and I was all like “No way!”.”

The way this parses is:

I’m going to tell you what Beatrice said.

She said, “So Gertrude was all like.”


And then she said, “And I was all like.”

No way. No way in hell, pal.

And then she had her period.

Properly punctuated, the sentence should be:

The other day Beatrice said, “And then Gertrude said ‘I care not a whit’, and I responded ‘I find that hard to believe, my dear.’”

Note the use of apostrophes. And notice how much more grown up Beatrice and Gertrude come off.

And since this is the Pit, “Dumb-ass goat “fletching” bass’ hat mother 'farking” slum pucket " grunthole.



I said, “He said, ‘Mark said, “John said, ‘Nested quotes confuse the hell out of me.’”’”

No way!



’ “Unless you’re British,” as dear Queen Elizabeth might say,’ I pointed out.

Meh, is that a Giraffe I hear drunkenly stumbling over? I’ll say “does this belong” and he’ll say"whatever" then maybe I’ll say should it be moved and then he’ll say"whatever" then I’ll say…

All I really have to say is “Meh.”

askeptic said, “All I really have to say is ‘Meh.’”


I know nested quotes need to alternate, but I have a phobia of single quotes.

(I actually typed some around that to demonstrate, and then had to delete them, because they made me feel so ill).

This sentence does sound more natural.

But so does this:

tdn while lno had had had had had had had had had had had a better effect on the moderator.

Totally. Fer sure.

I “love” you guys.

‘Love’ you guys.

“‘Love’” you

Uuuurgle. . . .

Part of the problem is that the double quote and single quote aren’t sophisticated enough. If they were done as was done in «proper» printing, they would have opening and closing forms: “—” and ‘—’.

However, that doesn’t make it clear enough. I think it would be best to imitate the French:

The other day Beatrice said, «So Gertrude was all like «Whatever», and I was all like «No way!»»

No, it’s a weird dead economist stumbling over.


They don’t make weird dead economist plush toys. No wonder I don’t get no respect.

Off to MPSIMS.


Hah, I knew it was coming.

TVeblen, I keep seeing you in that Wonder Woman outfit and can’t get up the nerve to tease you, in my mind you’re hot. While Giraffe is just you know, tall. :slight_smile:

Thank you, tdn. I’m an editor and you have no idea how many people do not know how to punctuate quotations. People who are paid to write them. Correctly.
“And not just the ‘how to quote within a quote’ deal, either,” I said, rubbing my temples raw. I get…

“Four score and seven years ago”. said Selectman Lincoln. “our four fathers got together with there for mothers and started this hear town”.

This would be why my head pounds by Wednesday night deadline.

There’s still hope.

Um…actually, the comma goes inside Gertrude’s quotes, not outside. "And then Gertrude said “I care not a whit,’ and I…”

This is also another very common mistake.

Or even:

The other day Beatrice said, “And then Gertrude said, ‘I care not a whit,’ and I responded, ‘I find that hard to believe, my dear.’”

What pisses me quotidienly is when someone on tv or elsewhere starts talking and wants to quote someone on something and they say “quote unquote” and then they talk more and you never know when the quoted materila ends and the unquoted stuff starts.