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Simple Grammar

Eevee

usually right
(3) The punctuation at the end of each quotation is inside the quotation marks.
Oh Reginald~

I disagree!


I've always thought this is a terrible rule. It's also an American invention; as I understand it, the original British rule (and a newer American rule, naturally) is logical quotation: when the punctuation at the end of a quote occurs at the end of the containing sentence, only put it on the inside if it matches. Otherwise you end up with nonsense like this: Did he tell me "turn the oven off?"

It also makes more sense when quoting short phrases or parts of sentences, since you don't end up sticking end-of-sentence punctuation where it doesn't belong: He called evolution "just a theory".

Wikipedia's manual of style agrees B)
 

Ruby

Night can outbalance day
Staff member
Pronoun
he/him
I've always thought that the British rule makes more sense as well. I'm sure opal remembers that I talked at him for hours about this and apostrophes and everything else while the guide was in the making. But in the end, we chose to leave out details. I admit we were loose with the word "details": we've cut out more or less everything complicated. The British rule is complicated, whereas the reader can understand and follow the normal American rule without trouble.

One day I'll write Not So Simple Grammar, in which I'll compare the different rules. I might even write Harrowing Grammar, in which I'll talk about Fowler's rules for the dash and the difference between shall and will. But for now, foolproof Simple Grammar will do.
 
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Eevee

usually right
Harrowing.

I don't think that scrapping common sense in the name of skin-deep simplicity is necessarily a good idea, but ok.
 

Ruby

Night can outbalance day
Staff member
Pronoun
he/him
Why did you say harrowing?

And it's not a matter of common sense - language makes no sense - it's a matter of usage. Can he get away with using the American usage? Yes. Can he get away with misusing the British usage? No.
 
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Eevee

usually right
It's a cool word!

Languages CAN make sense in small ways. It makes more sense to preserve the end punctuation of a sentence when possible than to toss it for something else and hope the reader figures it out.
 

Ruby

Night can outbalance day
Staff member
Pronoun
he/him
That's why I use the British system. The problem is that John_Smith123 will read our guide and go away to write his magnum opus, and it will begin

Oak said, "I overslept"!
 

cillian_murphy_fangirl

I Like My Coffee Black Just Like My Metal
Thank you for posting this.
There are lots of people on the internet that could use some help with their grammar.
Every forum should have a board like this, really.
xD
 

ultraviolet

yeehaw
Staff member
Pronoun
she/her
Ironically, there's a typo; you've missed out the first 't' in 'punctuation'.

Unless this is a spelling I haven't seen before. :| But yeah, this is useful.
 

shadow_lugia

Warning: May contain nuts
Maybe you should add a bit about 'wether' in the whether/weather section. I learned a few months ago that my parents have been spelling it wrong for over thirty years. Just for reference, if you do put it up, 'wether' means 'a gelded male sheep.'

And maybe a bit on hyphenated (spelling?) numbers; you're only supposed to have hyphens in between numbers in the tens and the ones, such as sixty-seven or thirty-two. So the correct spelling would be one hundred fifty-four. Oh yeah, and there's no 'and' in between any parts of a spelled-out number.

Perhaps there should be a whole section on hyphens in general? For instance, I'm pretty sure some people need reminding about hyphenated adjectives, such as 'spelled-out' in the previous paragraph.

And finally, adding to the numbers, you should never begin a sentence with a numeral. An example:

2 people stayed behind. is wrong

You have to write it out as Two people stayed behind.

...I feel scared of all these mods D:
 

opaltiger

actually very huggable
Staff member
Pronoun
he/him
Maybe you should add a bit about 'wether' in the whether/weather section. I learned a few months ago that my parents have been spelling it wrong for over thirty years. Just for reference, if you do put it up, 'wether' means 'a gelded male sheep.'
If you can think of a conceivable situation in which a regular person would feel the need to use the word "wether", sure. Otherwise I don't see the point. Keeping it simple, yeah?

And maybe a bit on hyphenated (spelling?) numbers; you're only supposed to have hyphens in between numbers in the tens and the ones, such as sixty-seven or thirty-two. So the correct spelling would be one hundred fifty-four.
This isn't grammar, and do people really get it wrong?

Oh yeah, and there's no 'and' in between any parts of a spelled-out number.
>:(

Perhaps there should be a whole section on hyphens in general? For instance, I'm pretty sure some people need reminding about hyphenated adjectives, such as 'spelled-out' in the previous paragraph.
I don't think this is a particularly pressing concern.

And finally, adding to the numbers, you should never begin a sentence with a numeral. An example:

2 people stayed behind. is wrong

You have to write it out as Two people stayed behind.
You should never use numerals for numbers under a hundred in writing, period. Still not grammar, though.

Ironically, there's a typo; you've missed out the first 't' in 'punctuation'.
Spelling is not grammar. >:( There is nothing ironic about it.
 

CNiall

New member
Actually there most definitely is in British English. Not in American English, I know, but there is in British.
This may just be a result of only hearing the American English variant rarely, but 'two thousand nine', 'one hundred one' and so on sounds pretty ridiculous to me. :(
 

opaltiger

actually very huggable
Staff member
Pronoun
he/him
I know this was months ago, but I only just remembered I had been meaning to address this:

Oh Reginald~

I disagree!


I've always thought this is a terrible rule. It's also an American invention; as I understand it, the original British rule (and a newer American rule, naturally) is logical quotation: when the punctuation at the end of a quote occurs at the end of the containing sentence, only put it on the inside if it matches. Otherwise you end up with nonsense like this: Did he tell me "turn the oven off?"

It also makes more sense when quoting short phrases or parts of sentences, since you don't end up sticking end-of-sentence punctuation where it doesn't belong: He called evolution "just a theory".

Wikipedia's manual of style agrees B)
The relevant section deals specifically with dialogue, which is all too often the subject of silly mistakes. I agree that in other cases (like direct quotations) the punctuation mark can and should, depending on the context, be placed after the closing quotation mark.

The matter is also debatable when it comes to dialogue (Ruby was sure to provide me with an abundance of contrived examples demonstrating this point), but I think it is practical, given the nature of this guide, to state this rule, since in the majority of cases it does not lead to any ambiguity.
 
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