Now if we can just rid the world of the grocer's apostrophe May 12, 2011 8:09 AM   Subscribe




Someone has way too much time on their hands.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:15 AM on May 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


That's true.
posted by gman at 8:16 AM on May 12, 2011 [12 favorites]


Outsiders represent!
posted by cj_ at 8:16 AM on May 12, 2011


I ençourage everyone I know to use the groçer's çedilla.
posted by Plutor at 8:20 AM on May 12, 2011 [54 favorites]


outside4life

Furthermore, my logical punctuation goes farther than merely inside vs outside. You might also need multiple end-of-sentence punctuations. For instance, consider the difference among these sentences:

She said "he shouted 'stop!'.".

She said "he shouted 'stop!'!".

She said "he shouted 'stop!'!"!
posted by DU at 8:23 AM on May 12, 2011 [24 favorites]


I've been wondering what to do when quoting a question, such as "What should I do?".
posted by amtho at 8:24 AM on May 12, 2011


Änd Ï thïnk ëvërÿ vöwël shöüld hävë ümläüts.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:24 AM on May 12, 2011 [17 favorites]


"I scanned four random posts in Metafilter.com (about Sony Playstation's hacking problems, the death of Phoebe Snow, the French police, and cool dads) and counted nine comments with periods and commas outside, seven inside".

FTFY


A good example of when logical punctuation is actually inside. I don't know why he conflates "logical" with "always outside".
posted by DU at 8:24 AM on May 12, 2011 [6 favorites]


As a programmer, putting punctuation in the quote feels inappropriate, as if it's implying that the punctuation is part of the quote. Of course if it is part of the quote, then to be consistent I should be writing:

"I scanned four random posts in Metafilter.com (about Sony Playstation's hacking problems, the death of Phoebe Snow, the French police, and cool dads) and counted nine comments with periods and commas outside, seven inside.".

And that's just ugly. So I guess I just leave off the "extra" period in that situation.
posted by callmejay at 8:24 AM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Of course I have thyme on my hands, I'm prepping ingredients for dinner while finishing up some embalming.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:24 AM on May 12, 2011


Wake me when Canada and the U.S. switch from letter/legal sized sheets of paper to the infinitely more sensible A/B system.
posted by fatbird at 8:25 AM on May 12, 2011 [5 favorites]


I scanned four random posts in Metafilter.com (about Sony Playstation's hacking problems, the death of Phoebe Snow, the French police, and cool dads) and counted nine comments with periods and commas outside, seven inside.

Better.
posted by zarq at 8:25 AM on May 12, 2011 [5 favorites]


Let's not lose track of what's really important here, which is that this Ben Yagoda guy is taking MetaFilter as somehow representative of the population as a whole. Guys, we can have so much damn fun with this!
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:26 AM on May 12, 2011 [5 favorites]


Some people on Metafilter punctuate in the American style and others in the British (aka logical, which is a grammatical term in this case and not necessarily most logical in all situations). I don't know why this is surprising.
posted by immlass at 8:27 AM on May 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


I often avoid ending a sentence with something in quotes because I just feel wrong about putting the period inside the quotation marks, regardless of the rule.

For instance, my first draft of the above sentence ended with a word in quotes.
posted by litnerd at 8:28 AM on May 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


PROPOSAL -STOP-
ALL NEW META FILTER COMMENTS ARE TO BE FORMATTED AS TELEGRAPH -STOP-
ALSO WHAT ARE -QUOTE- TATERS -UNQUOTE-
YOURS TRULY -STOP-
SCHMOD
posted by schmod at 8:29 AM on May 12, 2011 [15 favorites]


As an analytical person, quotes means exactly the things inside them, otherwise you get:

There are four characters in the word "this."
posted by vacapinta at 8:31 AM on May 12, 2011 [14 favorites]


I emphatically disagree with callmejay's statement, "And that's just ugly."!
posted by Jpfed at 8:35 AM on May 12, 2011


As a Dutchman I agree with this fully. Putting punctuation within quotation marks while it's not part of the quote makes no sense to me.

Also: adoption of the metric system.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:36 AM on May 12, 2011 [6 favorites]


As a programmer,

...

As an analytical person,

I always assumed this was in fact a programmer thing. We're used to quotes being extremely literal. Therefore sampling the Internet for changing mores is a biased sample, as the Internet is more technical than the population in general.
posted by DU at 8:36 AM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I scanned four random posts in Metafilter.com (about Sony Playstation's hacking problems, the death of Phoebe Snow, the French police, and cool dads) and counted nine comments with periods and commas outside, seven inside. --- I suggest you ease off the caffeine.
posted by crunchland at 8:40 AM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


"I scanned four random posts in Metafilter.com (about Sony Playstation's hacking problems, the death of Phoebe Snow, the French police, and cool dads) and counted nine comments with periods and commas outside, seven inside.".

And that's just ugly. So I guess I just leave off the "extra" period in that situation.


As I see it, the final period is unnecessary (and in fact, wrong) because the quotation functions as a phrase, not a complete sentence. The quote itself is a complete sentence, correctly punctuated, but it is being employed here the same way any other phrase, complete sentence or not, would be employed, and I don't think every phrase deserves to be punctuated like a complete sentence.
posted by milestogo at 8:41 AM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


That is not, in itself, proof of any grammatical misconduct. There are very clear rules around whether punctuation should go in or out of the quotation marks. In short, it can be both.
posted by londonmark at 8:41 AM on May 12, 2011


as the Internet is more technical than the population in general.

Another possibility: the Internet is full of people who don't know or care about various kinds of writing rules. While I'm sure there are lots of programmers on the Internet, I can promise that they are vastly outnumbered by people who don't know how babby is formed.
posted by rtha at 8:42 AM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Prescriptivists be damned, I use inside punctuation for literary purposes and outside punctuation for technical purposes. That is to say, I'm a staunch adherent to the Winsome Style Recommendation (WSR) guidelines, a complex but highly logical system that isn't at all arbitrary.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 8:44 AM on May 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


milestogo is obviously "phrase-ist".
posted by owtytrof at 8:45 AM on May 12, 2011


I am far more concerned that Slate doesn't bother to link to the sites it cites. The World Wide Web envisioned by the deservedly-legendary Tim Berners-Lee was all about a web of links and references. It's what I love about it, and what makes a 2 minute glance at a post on MeTa turn into a lost, but interesting and informative, hour. It takes longer to write a post with good links. That's why Slate is crappy at journalism; they don't bother.
posted by theora55 at 8:47 AM on May 12, 2011


In high school, our English department was incredibly strict about MLA guidelines. As such, I have a nervous tick and feel the need to stick to the proper MLA style. Don't get me wrong though, this doesn't apply to anything else except periods. I once had a lovingly crafted piece about, probably about Gilgamesh or something, and saw to my horror two red marks when I left the period to dangle on the outside of quote, all on its own and a big fat red D with a nice cursive note, "Automatic reduction to D, does not conform to MLA."

Now it feels as if the quotation hugs the period, bringing it into a warm embrace.

Also I find the whole "I do it because I'm a programmer," a bit of an excuse. Last I checked, RegEx was all like @/142;"24393281/swk329/b so don't act like your job is some semantic perfection.
posted by geoff. at 8:50 AM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


geoff., is it grammatically correct for me to find your comment eponstyrical?
posted by theora55 at 8:52 AM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


While I'm sure there are lots of programmers on the Internet, I can promise that they are vastly outnumbered by people who don't know how babby is formed.

Yes, of course they are. But they are even more outnumbered by those people in the general population. Every idiot on the internet also exists in real life (at least until AI can simulate idiots), but not every idiot in real life exists on the internet.
posted by DU at 8:52 AM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've scanned just one MetaTalk post and found a "plate of beans".
posted by tomswift at 8:53 AM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have a nervous tick and feel the need to stick to the proper MLA style.

...don't act like your job is some semantic perfection.

You just described exactly what I did...and then said yours was right and mine wrong. I'm not arguing programmers are more logical. I'm saying they have a "nervous tick" because of how computers use quotes. The stuff inside the quotes is a quote, completely literally.
posted by DU at 8:55 AM on May 12, 2011


Speaking as a programmer, I think we should end all sentences with a semicolon;
posted by Ad hominem at 9:00 AM on May 12, 2011 [22 favorites]


Having engaged in semi-regular debates about the appropriate use of hyphenation with other proofreaders at a magazine for which I proofread, I'm happy to not really think about such nonsense that much here at metafilter.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:02 AM on May 12, 2011


The stuff inside the quotes is a quote, completely literally.

Except for escaped characters, of course.

Anyway, I'm fine with either style as long as we can agree that " is the proper quotation mark. None of this German „“ nonsense, which manages to be both upside down and backwards. And if you think programmers have nervous tics about putting punctuation inside a quote, wait til you see their reaction to French-style « » quotation marks.
posted by jedicus at 9:04 AM on May 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


I feel strongly about this topic.
posted by jeffamaphone at 9:12 AM on May 12, 2011


And it's pronounced "MEE-fye"!
posted by Trurl at 9:13 AM on May 12, 2011


Also, proper MLA is "nervous tick," known as the Oxford k.
posted by geoff. at 9:14 AM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


MetaTalk: Stop
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:14 AM on May 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


the appearance argument doesn't carry much heft today

It carries as much heft as it ever did.
posted by nickmark at 9:17 AM on May 12, 2011


And why are we worrying about quotes when we continue to lose ground in the war on apostrophes?
posted by nickmark at 9:18 AM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


What a great beard.
posted by Jehan at 9:18 AM on May 12, 2011


{
quote: "Speaking as a programmer, I think we should end all sentences with a semicolon;",
response: "And the string clearly goes inside the quotes, or it ends up looking like fucking RegEx or something."
}
posted by Artw at 9:20 AM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


My first grade teacher, Mrs. Witkowski, taught me to place the punctuation inside the quotes. Mrs. Witkowski was an ancient, terrifying hag who often cause children to weep openly in class.

You tell her she was wrong. On the off chance that she was a Lich I will follow her rules. Unto death. And perchance, beyond.
posted by Splunge at 9:27 AM on May 12, 2011 [12 favorites]


Just mentioning her causes the letter "d" to spontaneously vanish. See?
posted by Splunge at 9:30 AM on May 12, 2011


(about Sony Playstation's hacking problems, the death of Phoebe Snow, the French police, and cool dads)

All this and nothing about the serial comma sitting right there in front of everybody's faces.
posted by rhizome at 9:46 AM on May 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was taught in grade school that the period belongs inside the quote if it is part of the quote. If not, it goes outside. Soooo, that's what I do.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 9:51 AM on May 12, 2011


DEAR SCHMOD -STOP- STOP -STOP- STOP THIS NONSENSE -STOP- TELEGRAM STYLE ON METAFILTER MUST STOP -STOP- I WILL NOT STOP UNTIL IT IS STOPPED -STOP- WILL STOP YOUR ALLOWANCE IF YOU DON'T STOP -STOP-

PS YOUR UNCLE STOPPED BY -STOP-

PPS NEXT MISSION WILL BE TO STOP LAME GERSHWIN MUSICAL TELEGRAM PUNS -STOP-

gaaah make it stop!
posted by zachlipton at 9:59 AM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was taught in grade school that the period belongs inside the quote if it is part of the quote. If not, it goes outside.

You were taught wrong. Blame it on the school system.

To summarize:
1) Keep periods and commas within quotation marks.
2) Place all other punctuation marks (colons, semicolons, exclamation marks, question marks) outside the quotation marks, except when they were part of the original quotation.
posted by litnerd at 9:59 AM on May 12, 2011


Unless you are British.
posted by Artw at 10:01 AM on May 12, 2011 [5 favorites]


I always assumed this was in fact a programmer thing. We're used to quotes being extremely literal. Therefore sampling the Internet for changing mores is a biased sample, as the Internet is more technical than the population in general.

I think this would have been more true in the mid 90s than it is now. Outside of topic-specific contexts, most people generating text on the internet are random people with blogs or in comment sections, not techies. Whatever bias might exist is awfully slim.

And I think Yagoda's got the right idea, even with whatever fractional influence programmer types might have on the sample: the democratizing nature of the web is that we all see a lot more writing from random people than we did before. You look at classic linguistics corpora for example and one of the elements consistent across them was that they were composed largely of samples from published text—newspapers, magazines, government documentation, what have you. And outside of personal postal correspondence, this is pretty indicative of what most people were reading and writing.

Now we've got people writing for public consumption, and reading others' writing, far more often as a matter of course. And all the pragmatic choices people make about turning the language they think and speak into the language they type are a better guide to what the human brain and the social human do with language than a study of the constrained and convention-driven nature of edited, published prose.

So whatever conflationary issues there are with tech nerds being part of the online-writing sample, that's just absolutely dwarfed by the issues with older corpora based on formal writing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:01 AM on May 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


I just wrote a book and part of my agreement with my publisher was that I'd create my own style guide for it and not be beholden to weird antiquated ways of writing technology words. That said, where I had a bunch of URLs for footnotes, they asked me to make the addresses into formal MLA citations. Which I did after some fussing. And then they lost them and the draft of the book that I got back from the designers just had the URLs in this big font so large that most of the URLs wrapped on to the next line. And since there's no style guide that says "Line-wrapping URLs is pretty ungood but HYPHENATING then is freaking awful!" I had to hop up and down some to get them to change this stuff since they have this style guide which basically stands in for common sense thinking about words and so if it's not prescribed by the guide then there are clearly no rules.

My feeling is that if I know what you meant, for the most part, I am cool with how you say it, but if you do something that's way outside of normal you can probably expect some people to note it. This all goes quadruple if you're writing for the internet.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:06 AM on May 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


I've pretty much always punctuated outside the quotation marks for sentence fragments or where the punctuation is not part of the original quotation. It did not interfere with my receiving an English degree. The American way is silly.
posted by Errant at 10:07 AM on May 12, 2011


This is all obscuring the real question. Are the posts "in" metafilter.com or "on" metafilter.com?
posted by true at 10:08 AM on May 12, 2011


Also: adoption of the metric system.

Actually, Antarctica is mostly scientists, so it should probably be colored green too. I don't think the penguins have a unit of measurement besides "OMG FOODZ."
posted by zachlipton at 10:12 AM on May 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


To summarize:
1) Keep periods and commas within quotation marks.
2) Place all other punctuation marks (colons, semicolons, exclamation marks, question marks) outside the quotation marks, except when they were part of the original quotation.


The way I teach this to my students is to tell them that the little guys sneak inside and the big guys get stuck outside because they can't sneak in under the quotation mark. They still don't remember, but that's about as simple as I can make it.
posted by BlooPen at 10:19 AM on May 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


I scanned my own ass, and there is a colon on the inside.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:20 AM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


In spanish grammar punctuation always goes on the outside of quotation marks, ellipsis and dashes, except when they are part of the original quotation.
posted by Omon Ra at 10:21 AM on May 12, 2011


I propose a compromise: put the period between the quotation marks, something like this'.'

Maybe we could even come up with a new name for it analogous to the interrobang. Quotiod, perhaps?
posted by TedW at 10:25 AM on May 12, 2011


In spanish grammar punctuation always goes on the outside of quotation marks, ellipsis and dashes, except when they are part of the original quotation.

And this may have influenced how I was taught in school, because even though my school was English-language only, it was in Puerto Rico. So a lot of my teachers were native Spanish speakers. As time goes by I have definitely found how the two languages clash when it comes to things like punctuation. (Even though I did have quite a few American teachers in grade school.)

In any case, it still makes way more sense to me.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 10:29 AM on May 12, 2011


Quotiod, perhaps?

Oh, great, another word with pronunciation that we can all argue about.

But seriously, KWOH-tee-odd? kwoh-TIE-odd? KWOH-shoid?
posted by reductiondesign at 10:29 AM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


cripes the fellow would likely have a conniption if he ran across a Obit thread.

ALL.

THOSE.

PERIODS.


!!!!!!!!
posted by edgeways at 10:41 AM on May 12, 2011


Yes, of course they are. But they are even more outnumbered by those people in the general population. Every idiot on the internet also exists in real life (at least until AI can simulate idiots), but not every idiot in real life exists on the internet.

Good to know.
posted by rtha at 10:49 AM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


/* comment out comma prescriptivism! */
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:57 AM on May 12, 2011


I always thought people learned to put the punctuation inside the quotes because that's how it's done in stories, where nobody (except some die-hard author deather) can complain that the author isn't accurately quoting the punctuation. E.g. "I'm kicking it large!" shrieked Carl.
posted by Beardman at 10:59 AM on May 12, 2011


"?"
I cite
'?'
posted by clavdivs at 11:00 AM on May 12, 2011


Sometimes it makes sense the one way, and other times it's more clear the other. I think it's situational.
posted by Mister_A at 11:01 AM on May 12, 2011


Your new password is "Uo^392KL!8."
posted by circular at 11:04 AM on May 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


I scanned one random post in Metafilter.com (about "Troll Food") and have arrived at the logical conclusion to refer to my cereal as TOOT FROPS.
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:06 AM on May 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Linear punctuation is wasteful and amateurish. I recycle all of my punctuation from classic literature. This semicolon ; was originally used in The Tempest: Act 1, Scene 1
None that I more love than myself. You are a
counsellor; if you can command these elements to
silence, and work the peace of the present, we will
not hand a rope more; use your authority: if you
cannot, give thanks you have lived so long, and make
yourself ready in your cabin for the mischance of
the hour, if it so hap. Cheerly, good hearts! Out
of our way, I say.
I'm currently only using early 18th century Russian quotation marks. But that's just my taste. Nothing wrong with reusing something a bit more modern, like porn.

I only read it for the indefinite articles. And the shapely asterisks.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:10 AM on May 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


amtho: "I've been wondering what to do when quoting a question, such as "What should I do?""

Depends if the question mark is part of the quote or the whole sentence is a question.
posted by radioamy at 11:33 AM on May 12, 2011


You can take my internal punctuation when you pry it from my cold, dead "hands."
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:50 AM on May 12, 2011


Can we not come to a "compromise'?'
posted by milkrate at 11:53 AM on May 12, 2011 [5 favorites]


Speaking as a programmer, I think we should end all sentences with a semicolon;

(We could adopt lisp (if you want to (really whatever))...)
posted by odinsdream at 12:08 PM on May 12, 2011


Hmmm, my RegEx comment makes less sense now that I'm awake. But I still stand by the notion that it is ugly.
posted by geoff. at 12:11 PM on May 12, 2011


You can totally do the Treaty of Westphalia in one line of PERL.
posted by Artw at 12:13 PM on May 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Of course the punctuation should go outside of the quote unless it's part of the quote. It just makes sense, stylebooks be damned.
posted by deborah at 12:17 PM on May 12, 2011


I like logical punctuation. (Didn't the inside-the-quotes style come from typesetting?)

Abbreviations without periods can go straight to hell. Single-spacing after sentences can go straight to hell.

Initialisms being capitalized as proper nouns (e.g. UNESCO -> Unesco), can fuck itself on the way to hell.

I don't think the penguins have a unit of measurement besides "OMG FOODZ."

I hear many of them like Imperial.
posted by fleacircus at 12:17 PM on May 12, 2011


.
posted by Elmore at 1:20 PM on May 12, 2011


I once had a lovingly crafted piece about, probably about Gilgamesh or something, and saw to my horror two red marks when I left the period to dangle on the outside of quote, all on its own and a big fat red D with a nice cursive note, "Automatic reduction to D, does not conform to MLA."

That's truly disgusting.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 1:35 PM on May 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


While we're all here, I have a question. If a hyperlink is at the end of a sentence, should the punctuation be included like so? Or should it be like this?
posted by brundlefly at 1:39 PM on May 12, 2011


I hyperlink the punctuation if the entire sentence is the link; if just a phrase is the link, I do not. So, basically, my hyperlink rules are the same as my punctuation inside quotation rules.
posted by Errant at 1:41 PM on May 12, 2011


outside. in the snow. with a baseball bat.

wait, what was the question?
posted by From Bklyn at 1:41 PM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


@Everyone

"Your all correct, but its not a big deal on the internet".

— empyrean
posted by empyrean at 1:42 PM on May 12, 2011


Okay, look, it's been fun and games until now. But now that we're the Internet's authority on grammatical rules, I'm going to have to ask you all to quit fucking around. We've had quite a responsibility placed on our shoulders, so look sharp, people. And, for god's sake, punctuate!
posted by .kobayashi. at 1:55 PM on May 12, 2011


Unless you are British.
posted by Artw at 6:01 PM on May 12


I'm glad someone mentioned that. We do it differently and, to my mind, more logically in the UK. Broadly, if a comma or full stop logically goes with the quoted sentence then we put it there, inside the quotation marks. Otherwise, it goes outside. Why is this more logical? Well, to take a simple and common case: if you are quoting a complete sentence, then you put the full stop where it would go if it wasn't a quote - at the end of the sentence inside the quotes. If you are not quoting a full sentence but you are completing the sentence containing the quote, then you put the stop at the end of the one you are completing, i.e. outside the quote marks.

Sometimes, differences in standard American usage make more logical sense than their Brit equivalents; sometimes the other way around. For me this is one where ours is both clearer and more logical.
posted by Decani at 1:55 PM on May 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


I have no idea how Ben Yagoda got random posts wedged into his scanner, or why.
posted by perhapses at 2:12 PM on May 12, 2011


SCHMOD AND ZACHLIPTON

     PLEASE UNDERSTAND THE IRONY OF USING QUOTE DASH STOP DASH UNQUOTE COMMA QUOTE DASH QUOTE DASH QUOTE COMMA AND QUOTE DASH UNQUOTE DASH UNQUOTE TO SAVE MONEY ON PUNCTUATION
posted by yaymukund at 2:22 PM on May 12, 2011


If a hyperlink is at the end of a sentence, should the punctuation be included like so? Or should it be like this?

You may be interested in this thread from a couple of months ago, about that exact question.
posted by maqsarian at 3:22 PM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was taught the right way to do it, and subsequently have been doing it the way which makes the most sense to me, which isn't the way I was taught. Punctuation should show what is what in a sentence. So, it goes inside if it is part of what is inside. It goes outside if it isn't, because then it is part of what is outside.

Also, I'm fond of commas and try to use them to show phrases and catches of breath during reading (although I don't include them if it separates a verb from a subject). I also use commas in serial lists before the "and", because there's a huge difference between having "pizza, milk, pickles, and ice cream" for dinner from having "pizza, milk, pickles and ice cream".

But... if I have to writefor a situation where I must use the "formal" US style, I can do that without any problem. Because the point of learning the rules is knowing when to follow them and when you're okay not following them. Ultimately, being understood is the goal.
posted by hippybear at 3:45 PM on May 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


Inside, outside, whatever... just stop making those damn quotation fingers when you're speaking. kthxbye
posted by thatweirdguy2 at 4:43 PM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


"If I use a possessive in a sentence, I always make sure it"s spelling is correct."
posted by gubo at 4:52 PM on May 12, 2011


I've advocated for inside, but I'm coming around to outside.

I am, however, 100% in favor of those cross-shaped, mouseover "footnotes."
posted by notyou at 6:14 PM on May 12, 2011


Count me in the 'computer geek that uses inside periods only when they're part of the original quote' crowd. It just looks wrong to me the other way, and has for as long as I can remember. I definitely KNOW the other way, and consciously choose not to use it unless required to.

I understand that its purpose is to improve typesetting, but most of what I write is destined for the screen, not a piece of paper. And on the screen, if it's not in the original quote, it doesn't belong inside the quotation marks. Dammit.

I waffled back and forth both ways, but eventually decided that an HTML text tag for a link at the end of a sentence shouldn't include the period, either, for much the same reasons.
posted by Malor at 7:01 PM on May 12, 2011


...almost any place adhering to Modern Language Association (MLA)...guidelines.

It's still around? Figured it would be the PMLA by now. (Postmodern La  OW!

what the hell?
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 7:09 PM on May 12, 2011


I can't even remember what I use. Outside, probably.

The question I'm worried about is, when I end a sentence with a hyperlink, do I stop the hyperlink before the period? I say yes.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:35 PM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


if quote in sentence:
print "This is how I would do it."
else:
print "Who cares."
posted by two lights above the sea at 7:47 PM on May 12, 2011


The Girl Who Fixed the Umlaut has this: “I can’t really go on without an umlaut,” he said. “We’re in Sweden.”
posted by vidur at 8:57 PM on May 12, 2011


I NEVER use a period after a hyperlink that comes at the end of a sentence. But then again, I am a grocer'.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 9:43 PM on May 12, 2011


In my class, I'm going to instead deduct points for unclear sentences such as "I . . . counted nine comments," which could be taken to mean that the author picked nine comments and then counted them. Don't ask me why he counted them if he had already decided on nine of them.
posted by nathan v at 11:02 PM on May 12, 2011


In the UK, I'm pretty sure I was taught the "commas go inside the quotation marks" form. I switched over to logical punctuation years ago though, probably because being a programmer made the conflict too jarring. It just wasn't *right* dammit!

I hadn't read about logical punctuation anywhere or seen a "logical punctuation manifesto", I just switched.

(Now I have the urge to write a logical punctuation manifesto.)
posted by pharm at 2:33 AM on May 13, 2011


I want Ås, øs, ümlåüts ànd of course the ácúte accénts tóo. And çedillas, but only when neçessary because it just løøks silly to have a çedilla with a hard "c". Ånd some love for ñ tildes while we're ät it.

Ôôô I nearly forgot çîrcûmflêxês! Hùhùhù I can type all these except the slashes and rings on my azerty keyboard nyä :o) (sorry, :ø) )

More to the point. In French too, if an élément of punctuation is not part of the øriginal quote, it goes outside the quote.
posted by fraula at 4:58 AM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


A Møøse once bit my sister ...

No realli! She was Karving her initials on the møøse
with the sharpened end of an interspace tøøthbrush given
her by Svenge - her brother-in-law - an Oslo dentist and
star of many Norwegian møvies: "The Høt Hands of an Oslo
Dentist", "Fillings of Passion", "The Huge Mølars of Horst
Nordfink".
posted by Splunge at 5:36 AM on May 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


why is he looking at an international website and taking it as evidence of USA writing practices?
posted by memebake at 7:57 AM on May 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


I run a faintly popular site, and Americans write to 'correct' my punctuation often enough that I have a standard reply explaining that I'm British. The only other stock replies I need are "I'm sorry to hear you think I'm a filthy whorebag for using a Mac: you don't have to read those posts if you don't want to.'" and "I'm sorry to hear you think I'm a money-grubbing shitcock for putting adverts on my site, feel free to block them.", so it's obviously a thorny issue for the kind of people who like to send insulting emails to webloggers.

E.g. "I'm kicking it large!" shrieked Carl.

I have a new favourite sentence.
posted by jack_mo at 9:06 AM on May 13, 2011


Logical punctuation just is more accurate and gives the reader more information. On the American system the reader simply can't know whether that period is part of the original string of characters or not. This is why logical punctuation is better. I'm American and I've always instinctively used it. English teachers in America should stop marking it as wrong.
posted by creasy boy at 9:17 AM on May 13, 2011


It is important to know the difference between helping your uncle jack off a horse and helping your uncle Jack, off a horse.
This shit does not bother me though.
posted by Iron Rat at 12:10 PM on May 13, 2011


Ben Yagoda’s post is so slipshod it can barely be taken seriously (autobloggatio).
posted by joeclark at 2:21 PM on May 13, 2011


Yagoda doesn't say whether or not he checked to see if the Mefi posts using logical punctuation which he cites were written by Americans. This could easily be construed as a flaw in his argument.

I once heard someone say that we were all Americans now but I didn't agree with them.
posted by motty at 6:51 PM on May 13, 2011


I have started putting the period outside of the quotes. I just noticed it today. I will never do that with anything larger than a period. Now you bastards have me confused. FFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUU!
posted by Splunge at 3:52 PM on May 15, 2011


''I like to hedge my bets when it comes to this issue',' I said.
posted by ignignokt at 4:31 PM on May 17, 2011


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