Re: Editor Please....

Subject: Re: Editor Please....
From: lsims <lsims -at- DSET -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 1 Jul 1999 10:03:14 -0400

At 07:46 AM 7/1/99 -0400, you wrote:

>Tim Altom wrote:
>>Technically, in the US the period is supposed to go inside of the quotes.
>>But this has always seemed illogical to me.
>I have always understood that the "rule" was generated to simplify the
>issue. I am not certain where the notion came from.
>>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.
>I agree and have always assumed that the "pundits" had decided that most of
>us weren't smart enough to make such distinctions and so formulated the
>rule to simplify the issue. My problem now, because I am curious, is to
>determine where my notion comes from. (And I am wondering why I have two
>copies of Strunk and White at home and not one at the office.)

Way, way back when, when printers still set type by hand, they discovered
that putting the period inside the quotes reduced the likelihood of it
moving around (and thus printing in the wrong place) during the printing
process. For some reason, this was something that only caught on in the
Colonies (later United States). The convention arose not because of a
grammatical rule, but because it made the printed text look better.

My personal opinion is that it is more logical to use the British
convention. I'll admit, however, that if there is a period (or a question
mark or exclamation point) at the end of a quote which is located at the
end of a sentence, I will use a period inside the quotation marks and leave
it at that.

Example: Susan looked at the yard and said, "The grass needs to be mowed."


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