Re: Proofreading From a Native English Speaker
[Apologies if you didn't want a private copy of this mail; I haven't
worked out whether you read this mailing list.]
On Sun, Nov 02, 2003 at 06:29:28PM -0500, Alexander Winston wrote:
> On Sun, 2003-11-02 at 16:23, Joey Hess wrote:
> > Alexander Winston wrote:
> > > Hello. It has come to my attention that you have requested English
> > > proofreading from native English speakers. While I have not looked over
> > > the Web site in great detail yet, a large error I have noticed that
> > > punctuation always seems to be missing from inside quotations. For
> > > example, I spotted this:
> > >
> > > no browser specific "extensions".
> > >
> > > In this case, it should read thusly:
> > >
> > > no browser-specific "extensions."
> > This is common usage amoung technically inclined, to whom the exact
> > content of the quotation, right down to the punctuation, is often
> > very important.
> Regardless of how commonplace this usage is, it should not be accepted.
> Of course there are situations where punctuation exists in the original,
> but such predicaments can be explained away with a miniscule note from
> the editor without sacrificing the quality and the intended message.
This is a disputed point of punctuation - in particular, standard modern
British English and American English usages differ - so "should not be
accepted" is too strong a statement. The style used on the Debian web
site is known as "logical quoting". Sources cite the "Oxford Dictionary
for Writers and Editors" as support, among others.
I understand that the American style, with punctuation within quotations
marks, originated as a point of typography to make it easier to kern
combinations of quotation marks, commas, and full stops, not as a point
of grammatical correctness. Modern typography is better, which is
perhaps why logical quoting is regaining acceptance.
Given the disagreement among style manuals (which is not an uncommon
occurrence anyway), I say go for the style that actually makes good
sense, namely quoting what you mean to quote. When the punctuation is
part of the quoted phrase, quote it; when it isn't, don't.
Colin Watson [cjwatson <at> flatline.org.uk]