Quotes/Comma question?

Subject: Quotes/Comma question?
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: techwr-l List <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, "Butler, Darren J Ctr 584 CBSS/GBHAC" <Darren -dot- Butler -dot- ctr -at- Robins -dot- af -dot- mil>
Date: Wed, 12 Dec 2007 13:26:27 -0500

Darren Butler wondered: <<Please help settle a debate. Is it correct
to follow quotation marks with either a comma or a semi colon?>>

If the sentence structure calls for punctuation after the quotes,
then yes, add the appropriate punctuation. However, the location of
the punctuation depends on whether your house style is to use
American or British punctuation of quotes. American style places the
punctuation inside the quotes, whether or not it belongs there;
British style places punctuation inside the quotes only if it belongs
there, which is why it's sometimes called "logical" punctuation.
American style appears more consistent because the punctuation is
_always_ inside the quotes, whereas the position varies in British
style; however, American style is "illogical" because it can lead to
serious problems sometimes.

In your specific example: <<When the Test Path screen appears, type
"C:\Applications\test programs\TS3.exe", then select NEXT.>>

Here, quotation marks in general are a bad idea because I can
guarantee that some readers will type the quotation marks and get
frustrated when they get the wrong result, particularly if your
audience includes any newbies. Placing the punctuation inside the
quotes would be doubly disastrous, because anyone who understand that
the quotes should not be typed will also understand that anything
inside the quotes must be typed. Same consequence: the wrong results.

There are many and various solutions. If you're willing to tag all
"type this" examples with a character style (TypedText, for
instance), then you can do this quickly and easily, and define that
style to use a specific font (Courier is traditional) that is clearly
distinct from the surrounding text. A good alternative is "Type the
following:", with the text to be typed on the next line. Both
approaches are simple and effective.

-- Geoff Hart
ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca / geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com
***Now available*** _Effective onscreen editing_


Create HTML or Microsoft Word content and convert to Help file formats or
printed documentation. Features include support for Windows Vista & 2007
Microsoft Office, team authoring, plus more.

True single source, conditional content, PDF export, modular help.
Help & Manual is the most powerful authoring tool for technical
documentation. Boost your productivity! http://www.helpandmanual.com

You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- web -dot- techwr-l -dot- com -dot-

To unsubscribe send a blank email to
techwr-l-unsubscribe -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
or visit http://lists.techwr-l.com/mailman/options/techwr-l/archive%40web.techwr-l.com

To subscribe, send a blank email to techwr-l-join -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com

Send administrative questions to admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit
http://www.techwr-l.com/ for more resources and info.

Quotes/Comma question: From: Butler, Darren J Ctr 584 CBSS/GBHAC

Previous by Author: Retagging paragraphs in Word (was: MS Word screws up yet ANOTHER project)
Next by Author: Shopping by reading the manual (was: Post current product user docs to company website)
Previous by Thread: RE: Quotes/Comma question
Next by Thread: RE: Quotes/Comma question

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads