1285: "Third Way"

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Epistemonas
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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby Epistemonas » Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:35 am UTC

Clearly the proper solution to expanding spaces after sentence-ending full stops but not after other full stops is to insert U+200C ZERO WIDTH NON-JOINER between a full stop and a space that should not be expanded.

Puppyclaws
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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby Puppyclaws » Sun Nov 03, 2013 3:21 am UTC

I stopped using two spaces after a computer professor told me that it was a holdover from typewriters. Several years after that, I was required to type two spaces after each sentence in a test of typing speed. It's so automatic for me now to do 1 space, I did horribly on the test. Thus, being aware of workflows and not wanting to break them for lots of people, I want to say "live and let live." But at the same time... I find text with two spaces after each period jarring and distracting, making it difficult to read. I also have spent a lot of time correcting it when transferring things from word documents to spaces on the web that become actively screwy looking if I leave the two spaces, and find it extraordinarily annoying for this reason. I shouldn't have to run find-replace on thousands of documents because you are stuck in the 1980's. As far as I can tell all sensible arguments here argue for single spacing, except for those in relation to engineering/programming, which make a point but I'd have to regard as an ignorable edge case.

I'm also sort of amused by the number of arguments that start with "But why would you do it [not my way]? Are you lazy?"

Quizatzhaderac wrote:I
EpicanicusStrikes wrote:I do remember reading some version of Elements of Style that nullified the Oxford Comma. I also remember the same edition claiming that ending punctuation can be placed "Within quotation marks."
I callexaggeration that "libel". I'm reminded of the movie My cousin Vinnie, where one of the guys (in a police interrogation) says: "I shot the clerk?"; later in court the officer says he said: "I shot the clerk.".

As I see it, a quotation is grammatically equivalent to a noun.


Funny you should say that, because I put my ending punctuation inside quotation marks in large part due to influence from the Associated Press Style Guide and courses in journalism, where I was taught putting them inside the quotation is (or was at the time) the standard. Having transferred over to academia I try to avoid ending a sentence with a quotation whenever possible, to avoid the conflict between what I know is right (inside) and what some people in academia think is right (outside). I suppose I should research the APA standards for this and accept I live in a new reality eventually.

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Glenn Magus Harvey
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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby Glenn Magus Harvey » Sun Nov 03, 2013 10:45 am UTC

When I was first introduced to using two spaces between sentences, back in high school, I balked at the idea.

Nowadays I find it easier to read text with that, since it tells me where sentences begin and end more effectively, when I'm skimming.

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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby addams » Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:03 pm UTC

Puppy Claws wrote
Funny you should say that, because I put my ending punctuation inside quotation marks in large part due to influence from the Associated Press Style Guide and courses in journalism, where I was taught putting them inside the quotation is (or was at the time) the standard. Having transferred over to academia I try to avoid ending a sentence with a quotation whenever possible, to avoid the conflict between what I know is right (inside) and what some people in academia think is right (outside). I suppose I should research the APA standards for this and accept I live in a new reality eventually.


What? I may not understand your conversation.
The punctuation from that is part of the quote go inside the quotation marks.
The punctuation from you, the author, go outside the quatation marks.

ok. There is a problem when what was said ended in a full-stop and you want to end the sentence with a question mark.

Example:
xxxx xx." ?
xxx xx."?
xxx xx." (?)

How to keep the words of others separate from our own and put them together for others with as much clarity as possible?

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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby Puppyclaws » Sun Nov 03, 2013 3:41 pm UTC

addams wrote:
What? I may not understand your conversation.
The punctuation from that is part of the quote go inside the quotation marks.
The punctuation from you, the author, go outside the quatation marks.

ok. There is a problem when what was said ended in a full-stop and you want to end the sentence with a question mark.


I generally believe that careful word selection makes this a non-problem, but I may have oversold what the AP Style Guide dictates WRT this standard, having a second look now. Periods and commas plus any punctuation taken from the original inside quotes, other punctuation from the author outside, which I guess is what everyone wants. Sorry, it's been a long time. I just think

Ex. Do we really want, as Vasectech suggests, "Playgrounds devoid of laughter"?

looks very weird. Luckily my writing style doesn't call for a lot of this, so I will just avoid all such situations in the future I think.

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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby ps.02 » Sun Nov 03, 2013 10:50 pm UTC

speising wrote:what do y'all think about spaces before the punctation marks ?

That's a convention used in French. I think it applies only to : ; ? ! and not to commas or full stops. Typographically what French really wants is a half-space before these characters, but as that is often inconvenient to type, people end up using a full space. So it looks odd to those of us who do not natively speak French, and probably also to those who do.

Double space after full stop is useful, as others have already noted, in hinting to the typesetting software. I'm in the habit not least because if you ask Emacs to reflow your line breaks, it "knows" it can break a line after dot-space-space but never after dot-space. The idea is to avoid ever doing something like "Mrs. (line break) Robinson". In the latter case what you want is a non-breaking space, but that's no more convenient to type than a half-space.

(Yes, any behavior in Emacs can be changed with either configuration or Lisp, but I agree with the reason Emacs doesn't already break lines on dot-space, so I have no desire to change it. I also note that Emacs reflowing is dumb in other ways: it won't break a line after a hyphen or a dash, and certainly is not so audacious as to actually insert or hide hyphens on its own.)

Another thing I like about double space is to disambiguate whether ! or ? signal the end of the sentence. (Usually they do, but not always; and when not, the following word may be incidentally capitalized.)

...And what do people think of space around an em dash? I know you're not supposed to, but I always put a space before and after. It just looks better to me, even with good typesetting (as opposed to monospace or other poorly kerned input systems).

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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby addams » Mon Nov 04, 2013 5:28 am UTC

That was very informative.
Thank you.
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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby tsadi » Mon Nov 04, 2013 6:06 am UTC

I wrote my high school and college research papers using typewriters (the non-electronic type), all using double space between sentences.

I think the double space thing is really a typewriter thing. The practice remains, but I think is no longer required when using non-monospaced fonts.

Fun trivia: when typing on any iOS device, hitting space bar twice creates a period, then a space. Likely a shortcut born out of how some people still tend to double-space out of habit.

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Crissa
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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby Crissa » Mon Nov 04, 2013 8:21 am UTC

A period can occur anywhere in a sentence. A double space cannot.

The typography can auto detect the end of your sentences as double spaces, but it cannot auto detect with a single space.

Period. End of discussion. It doesn't matter how it's displayed, if the source text includes them.

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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby Kit. » Mon Nov 04, 2013 10:36 am UTC

Crissa wrote:A period can occur anywhere in a sentence. A double space cannot.

Haven't you ever worked with monospaced paragraphs manually justified by adding spaces between words?

I believe the main reason why the web browsers are removing "extra" spaces is because of these.

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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby password » Mon Nov 04, 2013 2:12 pm UTC

Kit. wrote:Haven't you ever worked with monospaced paragraphs manually justified by adding spaces between words?

I believe the main reason why the web browsers are removing "extra" spaces is because of these.


I think the real reason is that HTML is often indented like computer code for readability. It also tends to have spurious white spaces all over the place when it is computer-generated, although that may be the effect and not the cause of HTML renderers' whitespace handling convention.

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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby speising » Mon Nov 04, 2013 2:32 pm UTC

that's less a convention but more part of the standard:
w3c wrote:Note that a sequence of white spaces between words in the source document may result in an entirely different rendered inter-word spacing (except in the case of the PRE element). In particular, user agents should collapse input white space sequences when producing output inter-word space. This can and should be done even in the absence of language information (from the lang attribute, the HTTP "Content-Language" header field (see [RFC2616], section 14.12), user agent settings, etc.).

interesting to this discussion is the paragraph before that:
When formatting text, user agents should identify these words and lay them out according to the conventions of the particular written language (script) and target medium.

which would allow rendering of two spaces after a sentence for en-US(old-fashioned), probably.

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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Mon Nov 04, 2013 3:52 pm UTC

Puppyclaws wrote:Funny you should say that, because I put my ending punctuation inside quotation marks in large part due to influence from the Associated Press Style Guide and courses in journalism, where I was taught putting them inside the quotation is (or was at the time) the standard. Having transferred over to academia I try to avoid ending a sentence with a quotation whenever possible, to avoid the conflict between what I know is right (inside) and what some people in academia think is right (outside). I suppose I should research the APA standards for this and accept I live in a new reality eventually.
I am pretty sure inside is the "standard", in that it's the answer most often looked up in a book. The problem is that book is the elements of style, which is terrible and (in my opinion) only became enshrined because they were the first to publish a book.

I have numerous prescriptive problems with it (discarding information, complicating the grammar), but it also seems people are more likely to arrive at the only-things-from-the-source-in-the-quotes answer by themselves.
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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby Diadem » Mon Nov 04, 2013 3:59 pm UTC

In Dutch punctuation goes inside the quote if it's part of the quote, and outside the quote if the quote ends a sentence. If both apply, outside wins. I think this is the most sensible rule, and use it in English too, and style guides that say otherwise be damned.

I don't know how other European languages work. Would be interesting to look at how common each convention is.
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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby mojacardave » Mon Nov 04, 2013 3:59 pm UTC

The thing that's been sort of skimmed over and not really addressed is multiple-author documents. It's all very well and good for everybody to have their own 'standard' and adamantly declare that they should have control over their own formatting, but in the real world, multiple people contribute on documents and reports before their release.

Standards exist for a reason, and a document full of mixed double spaces, single spaces, tricksy 'one and a half space' characters, line breaks etc. is horrific to read.

Back when I was learning word processing in school we were told that double spaces were the 'correct' way to go, and were marked down for single spacing after sentences. However, I'd be amazed if that was still the taught system. All technical documents I've contributed to in the last 5 years were single spaced throughout, and as has been repeatedly pointed out, the web 'fixes' double spacing by default. Using it as the standard is pretty impractical: most software actively fights against it.

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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby addams » Mon Nov 04, 2013 4:04 pm UTC

mojacardave wrote:The thing that's been sort of skimmed over and not really addressed is multiple-author documents. It's all very well and good for everybody to have their own 'standard' and adamantly declare that they should have control over their own formatting, but in the real world, multiple people contribute on documents and reports before their release.

Standards exist for a reason, and a document full of mixed double spaces, single spaces, tricksy 'one and a half space' characters, line breaks etc. is horrific to read.

Back when I was learning word processing in school we were told that double spaces were the 'correct' way to go, and were marked down for single spacing after sentences. However, I'd be amazed if that was still the taught system. All technical documents I've contributed to in the last 5 years were single spaced throughout, and as has been repeatedly pointed out, the web 'fixes' double spacing by default. Using it as the standard is pretty impractical: most software actively fights against it.

If the only problem you have with a multiple authored paper is punctuation, You are a lucky man.

That alphabetical order for authors list was to prevent more blood shed.
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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby mojacardave » Mon Nov 04, 2013 4:10 pm UTC

addams wrote:
mojacardave wrote:The thing that's been sort of skimmed over and not really addressed is multiple-author documents. It's all very well and good for everybody to have their own 'standard' and adamantly declare that they should have control over their own formatting, but in the real world, multiple people contribute on documents and reports before their release.

Standards exist for a reason, and a document full of mixed double spaces, single spaces, tricksy 'one and a half space' characters, line breaks etc. is horrific to read.

Back when I was learning word processing in school we were told that double spaces were the 'correct' way to go, and were marked down for single spacing after sentences. However, I'd be amazed if that was still the taught system. All technical documents I've contributed to in the last 5 years were single spaced throughout, and as has been repeatedly pointed out, the web 'fixes' double spacing by default. Using it as the standard is pretty impractical: most software actively fights against it.

If the only problem you have with a multiple authored paper is punctuation, You are a lucky man.

That alphabetical order for authors list was to prevent more blood shed.
It is not a rule that is always followed. People are funny.
Spoiler:
Hell-o Dr. Knows Less;
Where ya' going with that gun?


No - multiple authored documents are an absolute nightmare. Especially in MS Word, where everybody seems to have their own method of making the page numbering/content indexes/picture positions etc. work properly. Trying to work out why a particular section of the highlighted 'for review' text won't unhighlight, only to eventually work out that the previous author had given the paragraph a background colour, or to edit a table only to find that it had been extracted from Excel as an image (to name 2 examples I've faced in the last 5 hours). Punctuation is a minimal problem, but it is something that comes up, among all the other rubbish...

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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby orthogon » Mon Nov 04, 2013 4:30 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:In Dutch punctuation goes inside the quote if it's part of the quote, and outside the quote if the quote ends a sentence. If both apply, outside wins. I think this is the most sensible rule, and use it in English too, and style guides that say otherwise be damned.

I don't know how other European languages work. Would be interesting to look at how common each convention is.

Also, which languages use the inside-out quotes used in German, where the quotation marks seem to close off the author's voice for the duration of the literally quoted text and then re-open it afterwards? There's also the Gallically eccentric French approach, where there is a choice of double-triangle brackets for shorter quotes, whilst longer quotes start on a new line with a dash and have no closing delimiter (except for an ambiguous comma).

This thread made me dust off my copy of Eats, Shoots and Leaves, which is highly entertaining and which I largely agree with. Apparently punctuation of quotes is another US/UK difference.

ETA: there's a table of quotation marks in different languages here. I don't mean to offend my Swedish friends, but... seriously? The opening and closing quotes are the same? That makes the German system seem relatively sensible.
Edit2: I said "Scandinavian", which was too broad.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby Klear » Mon Nov 04, 2013 6:02 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:ETA: there's a table of quotation marks in different languages here. I don't mean to offend my Swedish friends, but... seriously? The opening and closing quotes are the same? That makes the German system seem relatively sensible.
Edit2: I said "Scandinavian", which was too broad.


And yours are different how? =P

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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby orthogon » Mon Nov 04, 2013 6:41 pm UTC

Klear wrote:
orthogon wrote:ETA: there's a table of quotation marks in different languages here. I don't mean to offend my Swedish friends, but... seriously? The opening and closing quotes are the same? That makes the German system seem relatively sensible.
Edit2: I said "Scandinavian", which was too broad.


And yours are different how? =P

They're different in my mind.
You do have a fair point there. It's obvious from the whitespace whether it's an open or close quote. Please forgive me, Sweden.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby Klear » Mon Nov 04, 2013 7:23 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:
Klear wrote:
orthogon wrote:ETA: there's a table of quotation marks in different languages here. I don't mean to offend my Swedish friends, but... seriously? The opening and closing quotes are the same? That makes the German system seem relatively sensible.
Edit2: I said "Scandinavian", which was too broad.


And yours are different how? =P

They're different in my mind.
You do have a fair point there. It's obvious from the whitespace whether it's an open or close quote. Please forgive me, Sweden.


Actually, I wanted you to apologize to the German system, which we (Czech) also use. I've been confused a bit by the same looking quotation marks on a couple of occasions in English text, though it is pretty rare.

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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby orthogon » Mon Nov 04, 2013 7:42 pm UTC

Klear wrote:
orthogon wrote:
Klear wrote:
orthogon wrote:ETA: there's a table of quotation marks in different languages here. I don't mean to offend my Swedish friends, but... seriously? The opening and closing quotes are the same? That makes the German system seem relatively sensible.
Edit2: I said "Scandinavian", which was too broad.


And yours are different how? =P

They're different in my mind.
You do have a fair point there. It's obvious from the whitespace whether it's an open or close quote. Please forgive me, Sweden.


Actually, I wanted you to apologize to the German system, which we (Czech) also use. I've been confused a bit by the same looking quotation marks on a couple of occasions in English text, though it is pretty rare.

Ok, es tut mir leid. As I say, the German system makes a kind of sense if you invert your concept of what needs to be delimited, and delimit the author's words instead of the quotees'. I'd love to know if that's how you think of the marks intuitively, or whether you really see the convex side of the marks as the inside.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby Klear » Mon Nov 04, 2013 8:07 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:Ok, es tut mir leid. As I say, the German system makes a kind of sense if you invert your concept of what needs to be delimited, and delimit the author's words instead of the quotees'. I'd love to know if that's how you think of the marks intuitively, or whether you really see the convex side of the marks as the inside.


Oh, that's what you found weird about them! Well, we don't really think of the shape. The important thing is that the first one is down and the second one is up. In handwriting, we simply write them as vertical lines that are the same, except for their position. I didn't even realize that the opening and closing quotation marks are supposed to be different in English. Good to know.

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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby davidstarlingm » Mon Nov 04, 2013 9:22 pm UTC

Klear wrote:
orthogon wrote:Ok, es tut mir leid. As I say, the German system makes a kind of sense if you invert your concept of what needs to be delimited, and delimit the author's words instead of the quotees'. I'd love to know if that's how you think of the marks intuitively, or whether you really see the convex side of the marks as the inside.


Oh, that's what you found weird about them! Well, we don't really think of the shape. The important thing is that the first one is down and the second one is up. In handwriting, we simply write them as vertical lines that are the same, except for their position. I didn't even realize that the opening and closing quotation marks are supposed to be different in English. Good to know.

They aren't, always. It depends on the font.

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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby Pfhorrest » Mon Nov 04, 2013 9:45 pm UTC

Djehutynakht wrote:I feel this is a political metaphor that Randall has cleverly hidden by getting us all caught up in grammatical discussions.

Me too, for which reason my first thought was perhaps it was mocking this thread.
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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby PinkShinyRose » Mon Nov 04, 2013 11:06 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:
Diadem wrote:In Dutch punctuation goes inside the quote if it's part of the quote, and outside the quote if the quote ends a sentence. If both apply, outside wins. I think this is the most sensible rule, and use it in English too, and style guides that say otherwise be damned.

I don't know how other European languages work. Would be interesting to look at how common each convention is.

Also, which languages use the inside-out quotes used in German, where the quotation marks seem to close off the author's voice for the duration of the literally quoted text and then re-open it afterwards? There's also the Gallically eccentric French approach, where there is a choice of double-triangle brackets for shorter quotes, whilst longer quotes start on a new line with a dash and have no closing delimiter (except for an ambiguous comma).

This thread made me dust off my copy of Eats, Shoots and Leaves, which is highly entertaining and which I largely agree with. Apparently punctuation of quotes is another US/UK difference.

ETA: there's a table of quotation marks in different languages here. I don't mean to offend my Swedish friends, but... seriously? The opening and closing quotes are the same? That makes the German system seem relatively sensible.
Edit2: I said "Scandinavian", which was too broad.

To be fair: the most sensible quotation marks are the ones used in East Asian languages, at least they work for both vertical and horizontal text. Even though vertical text is also used in most European languages on signs and other things that only have enough space vertically I have no idea how any of these quotation marks make sense in that situation. One disadvantage of both the bracket quotes and East Asian quotes is their need to be reversed in right to left reading languages though.

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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby cjmcjmcjmcjm » Tue Nov 05, 2013 7:05 am UTC

I use two spaces. If the program doesn't reformat them into one (like HTML and TeX), it's not worth using.

Since it was mentioned: seriously, why do people not like the Oxford comma? It prevents ambiguity.
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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby Kit. » Tue Nov 05, 2013 8:39 am UTC

cjmcjmcjmcjm wrote:Since it was mentioned: seriously, why do people not like the Oxford comma? It prevents ambiguity.

Except when it doesn't:
But then again, the Oxford comma can be more confusing, too. “I’d like to thank my father, Elvis, and Marilyn Monroe” causes more trouble than “I’d like to thank my father, Elvis and Marilyn Monroe.”

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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby Diadem » Tue Nov 05, 2013 8:51 am UTC

orthogon wrote:ETA: there's a table of quotation marks in different languages here.

Wow, I had absolutely no idea there was so much variation. Wow.

Speaking on behalve of the Dutch: The distinction in shape between opening and closing quotes is found in official documents and newspapers and such, but no one who doesn't write for a living bothers with it, not even in written text. Generally non-professional writers also always put both opening and closing quotes on top (even though I had to admit it looks better to have opening quotes on the bottom).

I would guess most countries work like that, with the majority of people just using whatever the please.
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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby Klear » Tue Nov 05, 2013 10:10 am UTC

Diadem wrote:
orthogon wrote:ETA: there's a table of quotation marks in different languages here.

Wow, I had absolutely no idea there was so much variation. Wow.

Speaking on behalve of the Dutch: The distinction in shape between opening and closing quotes is found in official documents and newspapers and such, but no one who doesn't write for a living bothers with it, not even in written text. Generally non-professional writers also always put both opening and closing quotes on top (even though I had to admit it looks better to have opening quotes on the bottom).

I would guess most countries work like that, with the majority of people just using whatever the please.


Czech text processors automatically send the first quotation mark down, so people write like that without having to think about it. It makes it easier to forget when writing by hand though.

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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby dtobias » Tue Nov 05, 2013 4:39 pm UTC

Kit. wrote:
cjmcjmcjmcjm wrote:Since it was mentioned: seriously, why do people not like the Oxford comma? It prevents ambiguity.

Except when it doesn't:
But then again, the Oxford comma can be more confusing, too. “I’d like to thank my father, Elvis, and Marilyn Monroe” causes more trouble than “I’d like to thank my father, Elvis and Marilyn Monroe.”


Though if you say "I'd like to thank my parents, Elvis and Marilyn Monroe" without an Oxford comma, you're implying something entirely different...

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PinkShinyRose
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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby PinkShinyRose » Tue Nov 05, 2013 4:56 pm UTC

Kit. wrote:
cjmcjmcjmcjm wrote:Since it was mentioned: seriously, why do people not like the Oxford comma? It prevents ambiguity.

Except when it doesn't:
But then again, the Oxford comma can be more confusing, too. “I’d like to thank my father, Elvis, and Marilyn Monroe” causes more trouble than “I’d like to thank my father, Elvis and Marilyn Monroe.”

I'm not a native English speaker: how does the Oxford coma make this more ambiguous. Besides, who is Elvis Monroe?

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davidstarlingm
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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby davidstarlingm » Tue Nov 05, 2013 5:05 pm UTC

PinkShinyRose wrote:
Kit. wrote:
cjmcjmcjmcjm wrote:Since it was mentioned: seriously, why do people not like the Oxford comma? It prevents ambiguity.

Except when it doesn't:
But then again, the Oxford comma can be more confusing, too. “I’d like to thank my father, Elvis, and Marilyn Monroe” causes more trouble than “I’d like to thank my father, Elvis and Marilyn Monroe.”

I'm not a native English speaker: how does the Oxford coma make this more ambiguous. Besides, who is Elvis Monroe?

With the Oxford comma, it's possible to interpret ", Elvis," as a parenthetical statement equivalent to:

"I'd like to thank my father (Elvis) and Marilyn Monroe."

because a pair of commas is what's used to set off a nonessential phrase.

Of course, this ambiguity would be rare, because if you're actually saying your father is Elvis, you'd use em-dashes in place of commas to really make it stand out.

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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby PinkShinyRose » Tue Nov 05, 2013 5:12 pm UTC

davidstarlingm wrote:
PinkShinyRose wrote:
Kit. wrote:
cjmcjmcjmcjm wrote:Since it was mentioned: seriously, why do people not like the Oxford comma? It prevents ambiguity.

Except when it doesn't:
But then again, the Oxford comma can be more confusing, too. “I’d like to thank my father, Elvis, and Marilyn Monroe” causes more trouble than “I’d like to thank my father, Elvis and Marilyn Monroe.”

I'm not a native English speaker: how does the Oxford coma make this more ambiguous. Besides, who is Elvis Monroe?

With the Oxford comma, it's possible to interpret ", Elvis," as a parenthetical statement equivalent to:

"I'd like to thank my father (Elvis) and Marilyn Monroe."

because a pair of commas is what's used to set off a nonessential phrase.

Of course, this ambiguity would be rare, because if you're actually saying your father is Elvis, you'd use em-dashes in place of commas to really make it stand out.

Right, I understand now, but couldn't Elvis and Marlin Monroe still be interpreted as Elvis Monroe and Marlin Monroe?

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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby speising » Tue Nov 05, 2013 5:25 pm UTC

That's the problem with constructing a purposefully ridiculous example. It doesn't show a problem with the specific grammatical construct, but is just generally ambiguous. Oxford comma or not, you're probably better off with an entirely different formulation.

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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Tue Nov 05, 2013 6:08 pm UTC

I'd like to thank my father (Elvis) and Marylin Monroe.

I'd like to thank my father (Elvis), someone else, and Marylin Monroe.

I'd like to thank Elvis Presley, Marylin Monroe, and my father.

I'd like to thank my father and the Monroes (Elvis and Marylin).

I'd like to thank my parents: Elvis Presley and Marylin Monroe.

I'd like to thank my parents: Elvis Monroe and Marylin Monroe.

I'd like to thank my father: the Elvis Presley/Marylin Monroe fly chamber hybrid.

Did I get them all? Any even slightly ambiguous?
The thing about recursion problems is that they tend to contain other recursion problems.

keiyakins
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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby keiyakins » Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:00 pm UTC

That last one is ambiguous: is it the 1958 version or the 1986 version?

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PM 2Ring
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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby PM 2Ring » Wed Nov 06, 2013 5:19 am UTC

FWIW, the discussion on post-sentence spacing has spilled over into this old thread in the Language/Linguistics forum:
One space or two?

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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby orthogon » Wed Nov 06, 2013 4:51 pm UTC

Klear wrote:
orthogon wrote:Ok, es tut mir leid. As I say, the German system makes a kind of sense if you invert your concept of what needs to be delimited, and delimit the author's words instead of the quotees'. I'd love to know if that's how you think of the marks intuitively, or whether you really see the convex side of the marks as the inside.


Oh, that's what you found weird about them! Well, we don't really think of the shape. The important thing is that the first one is down and the second one is up. In handwriting, we simply write them as vertical lines that are the same, except for their position. I didn't even realize that the opening and closing quotation marks are supposed to be different in English. Good to know.

Well, as davidstarlingm says, that does depend on the font, and where they are different it's up to the word processor to make them that way since there's only one key on the keyboard. In writing I normally make them different: I don't curve them but they lean away from the quote at the top (i.e. the opening quote slopes down and right, the closing one down and left).

I think the realisation that punctuation is different in different languages often comes as quite a shock (see for example Diadem's reaction): instinctively I think we all expect it to be the same, at least in all left-to-right languages using Roman letters, even though the words are all different and even the letters often don't have the same or even similar phonetic values (I'm looking at you, J). Hence even fluent speakers and skilled writers in a language will often accidentally or unknowingly use their native language's punctuation rules. It's as if we feel that the punctuation operates at a lower layer of the protocol stack or something.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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davidstarlingm
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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby davidstarlingm » Wed Nov 06, 2013 4:56 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:It's as if we feel that the punctuation operates at a lower layer of the protocol stack or something.

When I was a kid and played around with creating ciphers, I always used normal punctuation simply because that was the easiest option. There's a notion in us monolinguals that other languages are really ultimately just varying representations of our own language.


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