Quote Marks -- can be misleading

Subject: Quote Marks -- can be misleading
From: Al Rubottom <aer -at- PCSI -dot- CIRRUS -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 8 Jan 1996 12:10:00 PST

The problem with the old [as we were taught in
HS, college] rule "Keep the comma or period
within the quote marks" is that it often misleads
the reader who may need/expect precise definition of
what is being cited, quoted, referred to, whatever.

I had the standard liberal arts college ed. training
and took to heart the old rule -- until I encountered
the miserable misunderstanding that using it so
often engendered. So now I overcome my old bias
[lots of things can feel counter-intuitive in TW!], and
take pains to leave a comma *ouside* the quotes IF
that is the only or best way to make absolutely clear
that the cited material and NOT the punctuation mark
is exactly what is being quoted. This is fairly normal
or standard procedure, in my experience, in TW, esp.
in the field of computers with all the awful keyboarding
commands we have to spell out -- you definitely want
the reader/user to type or use ONLY what you intend
them to, and not one character different!

[Note that I use the indefinite "them" _even_ with a
singular antecedent -- it's okay, folks, really it is!]

If anyone has a better "solution" to the problem of
making everything totally explicit, let's hear it!

Al Rubottom /\ tel: 619.535.9505, x1737
aer -at- pcsi -dot- cirrus -dot- com /\ fax: 619.541.2260


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