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Friday, November 27, 2009

Quotation Marks

“I’m reading The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne and noticed something odd. Instead of quotation marks around the dialog, there are apostrophes. Do you know why?” The Newton Falls Public Library staff has noticed that some authors use punctuation in ways we are not used to seeing for literary purposes.

We first went to the author’s website and his blog to see if perhaps, like other writers, he used the apostrophes creatively for effect. Because nothing stood out as unusual; our staff wondered if it might be cultural. Boyne is from Dublin, Ireland.

In Sentence First: An Irishman’s blog about the English Language. Mostly [], the author states that “In British English, single marks are traditionally preferred, with double marks inside them as required, then single again and so on.” This is the opposite of what is commonly used in American English. The information at the website, How to Write an Essay Top tips on how to write an essay from academic research writers
[] concurs.

The Cambridge Guide to English Usage by Pam Peters also addresses the use of double and single quotation marks [pp. 454-455]. Peters’ book is a useful resource for writing: including correct word usages and meanings; and formats and styles for letters, memos, and e-mails. It may be borrowed from the library.

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