Monday, December 13, 2010

THE "END." . . . OR IS IT?

“Open” quotation marks.
There’s never an issue with them…
No one challenges it…
Probably because there’s no option where to put it.
But an “end” quotation mark…
Now that’s a different issue.
Of course if you are using quotation marks…
To indicate dialog in a sentence…
You end the sentence with either  .” or ?” or !”
But what if you are not using dialog…
And the last word of your sentence…
You want to be in quotes”…
You want to be in quotes…”
See?
Doesn’t it look odd to put the ellipse inside the quotation marks?
And why you may ask, am I even asking?
Because in my newly revised query letter…
The opening “hook” sentence…
Ends with a word in quotes for emphasis, but it's not dialog.
Let’s say the word is end”.
Let’s say the word is end.”
My inclination is to put the period outside the "end" quote
Because the word is not dialog.
So, of course checked The Elements of Style
Didn't find an answer there, so I Googled it…
And found there's a choice
Depending on where you live.
Here in the States, the punctuation is inside the "end" quote
While over in Britain…
It’s preferred the way I prefer…
Keeping the quotation marks…
Right next to the word if the word is not dialog, no matter what.
So, big deal, and who cares, you might say. 
Well, if I punctuate my way…
It’s going to look like I’ve made a mistake in the first line…
And the agent will either thing that I’m sloppy and didn’t proofread or…
I’m an idiot!
And I can’t very well put a disclaimer saying,
Oh, by the way, don’t mind my punctuation, 
I’m using British grammar rules.
So…
How do you think I should punctuate
The first line in my query?
1)   end.”   -  The American way?
2)   end”.    -  The British way?


Always, Em-Musing

3 comments:

Anne Gallagher said...

The American way. I've gone through fights and fits with my grammar and puncuation books. Even my own computer wants me to write the British way. But I've checked some web sites and they all say, if you are American, living in America, write the American way.

If you are British living in America, they'll cut you slack.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Well, for some reason the British way looks right to me. LOL
Hmmm...did you think about putting the emphasis in italics instead?

T. Anne said...

The American way! I didn't realize there was another way. Nice to know.