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Categories: Tattoo Picture | Author: admin 21.05.2014

If you are an American, using quotation marks could hardly be simpler: Use double quotation marks at all times unless quoting something within a quotation, when you use single. It took me a while to understand what was going on, but after thoroughly studying it I developed a rigorous explanation for this staggering decline in standards: kids today.
But then I looked up from their papers to find this usage in the manuscript of a friend's novel. Then I returned to my students' papers and saw it again, this time in the margins, flowing from my own fingertips—What have I become?!?
The copy editor's post served to explain the rule, but I discovered that part of the reason this hybrid quote practice is spreading is that people aren't seeking experts. Many people cite a justification from Wikipedia: "To avoid the potential for confusion between ironic quotes and direct quotations, some style guides specify single quotation marks for this usage, and double quotation marks for verbatim speech." Really? I asked Geoffrey Nunberg, a linguist at the University of California–Berkeley, about how people could develop this new rule. This regurgitation helps maintain written consistency, but it also might allow this change. Yet I suspect the main driver of this use is a matter of simplification: the desire to avoid the shift key. A study of speech communities in Belfast, Ireland, might point to whether conditions are right for hybrid quotes to finally go mainstream.
You don't put two colons in a sentence, not because you were taught this but because you never see it done. People have good reasons not to hit shift, just not good enough to say goodbye to such a simple system.


It's different in the greater Anglosphere, where they generally use singles in books and doubles in newspapers. Instead of turning to print or online usage manuals, many turn to the same forums they'd trust for other questions: crowdsourced aides like Yahoo Answers.
We don't just absorb copy-edited prose but also that of blogs, Internet comments, and friends. It’s clear the Yahoo answerers read widely, but many seem unaware of different customs across the ocean. When dashing off a quick word in a chat or marginal comment, I sometimes just don't work up the energy to reach for that shift key.
We like to take it easy now and then, and hitting shift to capitalize or properly punctuate can sometimes feel like a hassle—if the most trivial in human history. Nunberg pointed out that fears about the Internet causing language decline are often about exposure to voices that used to be unheard. Doing fieldwork there in the ’70s, linguist Lesley Milroy observed that women in a small Protestant neighborhood would disseminate pronunciation differences they picked up while working across the barrier in the Catholic sector. I've found plenty of people with advanced degrees doing it, even when dealing with weighty subjects. If it has potential to add clarity, it still leaves plenty of ambiguity: When a word is in single quotes, is it being used as a word, ironically, or to quote someone else? HD Wallpaper and background images in the Double D (Ed, Edd, n' Eddy) club tagged: double d ed edd and eddy. They'll quote a long passage from Measure for Measure accurately, but when they want to quote one of Shakespeare's words, a cliché, or some dubious concept like "virtue," they'll go with single quotes.


Then I turned to the Internet and they were everywhere—in a local news story, in a paper by a college professor, in a blog on social marketing, in a blog on the education system, on the website of the Children's Literacy Foundation. A few noted specialized disciplines like linguistics and philosophy that vary between double and single quotes. They routinely describe quotation choice as entirely a matter of "personal preference" or "style." One writer says, "The only writer I know who uses the single quotations is Terry Pratchett.
One online commenter is surprisingly calculating about his usage preferences: "It's also one key-press cheaper for me to type a single as opposed to double-quotes (shift + quote key).
Variant punctuation has always existed, but the uniformity of printers and copy editors has hidden that fact, especially from future generations. She and her husband James Milroy later argued that such "fleeting encounters" with other speech communities are the typical drivers of linguistic change. You would expect this slippage to be thwarted by prestige publishers, but it recently appeared in a blog entry on the Washington Post.
Conversely, these answerers make sense of what they often read and type by retrofitting a rule.
Whether in absorbing others' practices or regularly avoiding the shift key, hybrid quotes could come home with us to more formal contexts. And sure enough, the statement on Wikipedia has been deleted for lack of citation, but it's still preserved on the simple English Wikipedia article, and several other places continue to quote it.



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