Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Rise of "Logical Punctuation".


β€œIn music, the punctuation is absolutely strict, the bars and rests are absolutely defined. But our punctuation cannot be quite strict, because we have to relate it to the audience. In other words we are continually changing the
score.”
-Ralph Richardson (English actor)
Early this year I posted about Punctuation with Quotations in which I discussed the American rules of punctuating quotations. I'd like to revisit the topic since Slate.com claims the "punctuation paradigm is shifting".


For at least two centuries, it has been standard practice in the United States to place commas and periods inside of quotation marks. This rule still holds for professionally edited prose: what you'll find in Slate, [...] β€”almost any place adhering to Modern Language Association (MLA) or AP guidelines.
But people are realizing that the American rules are unnatural. A sentence ends with a period, not period-quote mark. The British style puts punctuation outside of quotes and it is beginning to dominate on message boards, blogs, tweets, etc. And no wonder. Since at least the 1960s a common name for the British style has been "logical punctuation."

According to Slate,


If it seems hard or even impossible to defend the American way on the merits, that's probably because it emerged from aesthetic, not logical, considerations. According to Rosemary Feal, executive director of the MLA [Modern Language Association], it was instituted in the early days of the Republic in order "to improve the appearance of the text. A comma or period that follows a closing quotation mark appears to hang off by itself and creates a gap in the line (since the space over the mark combines with the following word space)."
Bottom Line

Personally as one who favors logic, I'll stop feeling guilty about following the British Style.

P.S.
Happy Birthday to my Sister!

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1 Comments:

Blogger Marlene Saffan said...

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January 26, 2017 at 6:43 AM  

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