Fw: Editor Please....

Subject: Fw: Editor Please....
From: Tim Altom <taltom -at- SIMPLYWRITTEN -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 30 Jun 1999 20:04:45 -0500

When dealing with English, everything is opinion. So-called "rules" are
merely conventions arrived at by successive generations of language pundits.

>I have often seen periods used outside of quotation marks as in the
>The girl said "Arrrgh".
>This has appeared so often that I am now questioning my own understanding
>puntuation rules which, as I recall, say that periods must be placed within
>quotation marks at the end of a sentence as in this example:
>The girl said "Arrgh."

Technically, in the US the period is supposed to go inside of the quotes.
But this has always seemed illogical to me. In a sentence that's totally
enclosed in quotes, it seems reasonable:

"Look, that girl just sat down on wet paint."

This sentence begins and ends consistently, with a quote mark, indicating
that the entire sentence is a quote. However in this sentence the entire
thought isn't a quote, but rather there's a small quoted passage within the

The girl sat on wet paint and said "Arrgh".

When a quoted passage is enclosed within the sentence, why not indicate that
it's well and truly enclosed? Far better in that case, I'd think, to have
the sentence terminate at the period, where it's supposed to, and put the
closing quote before it.

In fact, that's how I generally do it when I'm writing, even in the face of
editors who object to it. Any day now the grammar Gestapo will show up on
the doorstep and haul me off for doing such grievious harm to the language.
Fortunately when my liberal arts degree was conferred, I got a poetic
license with it that permits me to snub the grammar experts whenever I feel
like it.

Tim Altom
Simply Written, Inc.
Featuring FrameMaker and the Clustar Method(TM)
"Better communication is a service to mankind."

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