Subject: Punctuation/Quotes
From: David Fisher <DAF -dot- DSKPO27B -at- DSKBGW1 -dot- ITG -dot- TI -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 10 Jan 1996 15:46:46 CST

George Allaman asked (the question is at the endof his post)


She thinks he's a "flash in the pan." (Apparently correct but I hate it)

I would like it to be: She thinks he's a "flash in the pan". The
"correct" version is illogical to me. The period marks the end of the
sentence, not the quoted phrase (or word, in this case). Not that language
was ever logical. Does anybody agree?

I agree that we should move toward a grammar convention based on common use and
common sense.

According to local tech. writer lore, the practice of placing the period and
other punctuation inside the quote comes from the early days of movable type
printers a la Guttenburg. The period was thin, small and hard to keep in place.
To make it easier, printers used blank blocks to hold them in place. When they
had a quotation mark, they used it. Before printing, monks did pretty much what
they wanted and the standards of writing varied by monastic order.

Hope this little history lesson helps. :-)

David Fisher
dfisher2 -at- ti -dot- com

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