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Single Quotation Marks

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I have a question for the college students here, mostly because I see this all the time and I have no idea where it's coming from.

Here it is:

When you use single quotation marks in a sentence, why do you do it? Here's an example:

Many people have written about the 'natural' world.

So. I ask. Why? Why, when you use single quotation marks, are you doing it? Is there some rule you were taught?
Gangs are not seen as legitimate, because they don't have control over public schools.
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Gangs are not seen as legitimate, because they don't have control over public schools.
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post #2 of 19
As a former MLA guy, I always used those as quotation marks within quotation marks.

...didn't want to risk irking my former professors and diverting their attention from the elegant quality of my prose.
post #3 of 19
Single quotation marks are normally used as quotation marks within a quotation, as the previous poster said.

Example:

A man once said that "Every once in a while, a brown chipmunk should rise above his 'lesser' relatives and rape other chipmunks."
post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by thehellgate911 View Post

Single quotation marks are normally used as quotation marks within a quotation, as the previous poster said.

Example:

A man once said that "Every once in a while, a brown chipmunk should rise above his 'lesser' relatives and rape other chipmunks."

Yes, I believe that's the example cited in Elements of Style: Insane Edition.
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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post #5 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

Yes, I believe that's the example cited in Elements of Style: Insane Edition.

Thank you.
post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by thehellgate911 View Post

Single quotation marks are normally used as quotation marks within a quotation, as the previous poster said.

Example:

A man once said that "Every once in a while, a brown chipmunk should rise above his 'lesser' relatives and rape other chipmunks."

Hey, if that "being a genius" career doesn't work out for you, you could always work for the MLA!

post #7 of 19
I don't think either of you have answered midwinter's question.

He's referring to when it's used by itself, not within quotation marks. I'm sure he knows what it's supposed to be used for.

Fucking Shawn.
"If I had played my career hitting singles like Pete (Rose), I'd wear a dress." - Mickey Mantle
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"If I had played my career hitting singles like Pete (Rose), I'd wear a dress." - Mickey Mantle
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post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guybrush Threepwood View Post

I don't think either of you have answered midwinter's question.

He's referring to when it's used by itself, not within quotation marks. I'm sure he knows what it's supposed to be used for.

Fucking Shawn.

Yes, he wants to know what "weird-ass" rules other people have for using single quotation marks by itself.

Padding your post count much?

post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guybrush Threepwood View Post

I don't think either of you have answered midwinter's question.

He's referring to when it's used by itself, not within quotation marks. I'm sure he knows what it's supposed to be used for.

Fucking Shawn.

Yeah. He's wondering if the Youth of Today have been so enervated by their "24/7" "texting" and "facebook" "relationships" that they have taken to using listless, single finger "air quotes", the debased physical gesture having then dragged its formerly robust typographic progenitor down with it.

Or, maybe, they just got through high school without knowing shit.

Or, worse, and his actual concern, they think they know shit but it's wrong, and who's telling them these things? Is it you, Guybrush? Is it your sister?
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
Reply
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
Reply
post #10 of 19
Even from adda?



Shawn, I expect. But this one cuts deep...
"If I had played my career hitting singles like Pete (Rose), I'd wear a dress." - Mickey Mantle
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"If I had played my career hitting singles like Pete (Rose), I'd wear a dress." - Mickey Mantle
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post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

Yes, I believe that's the example cited in Elements of Style: Insane Edition.

In his defense, that was White's revision, not one of Strunk's original 1918 examples. Should you doubt White's potential for jaw-dropping irascibility, if you who have the little book in its print form, go pull it off the shelf, turn to White's entry for "flammable" in the "commonly misused words and expressions" section, and wonder silently to yourself whether he'd had an extra bourbon the night he wrote that one.
Gangs are not seen as legitimate, because they don't have control over public schools.
Reply
Gangs are not seen as legitimate, because they don't have control over public schools.
Reply
post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by midwinter View Post

In his defense, that was White's revision, not one of Strunk's original 1918 examples. Should you doubt White's potential for jaw-dropping irascibility, if you who have the little book in its print form, go pull it off the shelf, turn to White's entry for "flammable" in the "commonly misused words and expressions" section, and wonder silently to yourself whether he'd had an extra bourbon the night he wrote that one.

Holy cow. I imagine him gritting his teeth every time a gas truck passes and secretly wishing some illiterates might be blowed up good.
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
Reply
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
Reply
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guybrush Threepwood View Post

Even from adda?



Shawn, I expect. But this one cuts deep...

Your day will come. No one doubts that the unleashing of your full fury will burn the snark from our lips.

Good lord that sounds unpleasant.
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
Reply
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
Reply
post #14 of 19
I've started to prepare.

I just tivo'd Colbert Report, The O’Reilly Factor, and Anderson Cooper.

Will that be enough to learn me?
"If I had played my career hitting singles like Pete (Rose), I'd wear a dress." - Mickey Mantle
Reply
"If I had played my career hitting singles like Pete (Rose), I'd wear a dress." - Mickey Mantle
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post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guybrush Threepwood View Post

Will that be enough to learn me?

Let's just put it this way:

Remember Kimbo v. Ray Mercer?

Yeah...
post #16 of 19
James Joyce called them 'perverted commas'. I try not to use them or their doubled cousins. I use them on the internet.

I use quotation marks when I'm quoting someone, if I have to, and perverted commas for irony.
post #17 of 19
Fewer escape sequences. More obvious that it's meant to be explicit and not have anything embedded in it.
post #18 of 19
Apparently British English and American English are different.

In the UK we can use singletons ('perverted commas') as much as we like.

'
'
'
'
'

la de da

'Oh I say!'
post #19 of 19
I've often seen the single quotes in headlines on CNN's Web site. I think it may be that incomplete sentences containing quotes use the singular version?
Living life in glorious 4G HD (with a 2GB data cap).
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Living life in glorious 4G HD (with a 2GB data cap).
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