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Quotation marks also known as quotes , quote marks , speech marks , inverted commas , or talking marks [1] [2] are punctuation marks used in pairs in various writing systems to set off direct speech , a quotation , or a phrase. The pair consists of an opening quotation mark and a closing quotation mark, which may or may not be the same character.

The single quotation mark is traced to Ancient Greek practice, adopted and adapted by monastic copyists. Hanc scriptores nostri adponunt in libris ecclesiasticorum virorum ad separanda vel [ad] demonstranda testimonia sanctarum Scripturarum. Our copyists place this sign in the books of the people of the Church, to separate or to indicate the quotations drawn from the Holy Scriptures.

The double quotation mark derives from a marginal notation used in fifteenth-century manuscript annotations to indicate a passage of particular importance not necessarily a quotation ; the notation was placed in the outside margin of the page and was repeated alongside each line of the passage. After the publication of Filelfo’s edition, the quotation marks for literal quotations prevailed.

In most other languages, including English, the marginal marks dropped out of use in the last years of the eighteenth century. The usage of a pair of marks, opening and closing, at the level of lower case letters was generalized. By the nineteenth century, the design and usage began to be specific to each region.

In Western Europe the custom became to use the quotation mark pairs with the convexity of each mark aimed outward. In France , by the end of the nineteenth century, the marks were modified to an angular shape: «…». Some authors [8] claim that the reason for this was a practical one, in order to get a character that was clearly distinguishable from the apostrophes, the commas, and the parentheses.

Also, in other scripts, the angular quotation marks are distinguishable from other punctuation characters: the Greek breathing marks , the Armenian emphasis and apostrophe , the Arabic comma , the decimal separator , the thousands separator , etc. Other authors [8] claim that the reason for this was an aesthetic one. The elevated quotation marks created an extra white space before and after the word, which was considered aesthetically unpleasing, while the in-line quotation marks helped to maintain the typographical color , since the quotation marks had the same height and were aligned with the lower case letters.

In Central Europe , the practice was to use the quotation mark pairs with the convexity aimed inward. Alternatively, these marks could be angular and in-line with lower case letters, but still pointing inward: »…«. The French tradition prevailed in Eastern Europe Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus , whereas the German tradition, or its modified version with the convexity of the closing mark aimed rightward, has become dominant in Southeastern Europe , e.

The reemergence of single quotation marks around came about as a means of indicating a secondary level of quotation.

In American writing, quotation marks are normally the double kind the primary style. If quotation marks are used inside another pair of quotation marks, then single quotation marks are used. For example: “Didn’t she say ‘I like red best’ when I asked her wine preferences? If another set of quotation marks is nested inside single quotation marks, double quotation marks are used again, and they continue to alternate as necessary though this is rarely done.

British publishing is regarded as more flexible about whether double or single quotation marks should be used. Different varieties and styles of English have different conventions regarding whether terminal punctuation should be written inside or outside the quotation marks.

North American printing usually puts full stops and commas but not colons, semicolons, exclamation or question marks inside the closing quotation mark, whether it is part of the original quoted material or not. The closing single quotation mark is identical in form to the apostrophe and similar to the prime symbol.

The double quotation mark is identical to the ditto mark in English-language usage. It is also similar to—and often used to represent—the double prime symbol. These all serve different purposes.

Other languages have similar conventions to English, but use different symbols or different placement. Contemporary Bulgarian employs em dash or quotation horizontal bar followed by a space characer at the beginning of each direct-speech segment by a different character in order to mark direct speech in prose and in most journalistic question and answer interviews ; in such cases, the use of standard quotation marks is left for in-text citations or to mark the names of institutions, companies, and sometimes also brand or model names.

Air quotes are also widely used in face-to-face communication in contemporary Bulgarian but usually resemble ” The standard form in the preceding table is taught in schools and used in handwriting. Neutral straight quotation marks, ” and ‘ , are used widely, especially in texts typed on computers and on websites. Although not generally common in the Netherlands any more, double angle guillemet quotation marks are still sometimes used in Belgium.

Some fonts, e. Verdana , were not designed with the flexibility to use an English left quote as a German right quote. Such fonts are therefore typographically incompatible with this German usage. Double quotes are standard for denoting speech in German. Double right-pointing angular quotes, »…» , can also be used. Alternatively, an en-dash followed by a non-breaking space can be used to denote the beginning of quoted speech, in which case the end of the quotation is not specifically denoted see section Quotation dash below.

A line-break should not be allowed between the en-dash and the first word of the quotation. French uses angle quotation marks guillemets , or duck-foot quotes , adding a ‘quarter-em space’ [a] within the quotes. Many people now use the non-breaking space , because the difference between a non-breaking space and a four-per-em is virtually imperceptible but also because the Unicode quarter-em space is breakable , and the quarter-em glyph is omitted from many fonts.

Even more commonly, many people just put a normal breaking space between the quotation marks because the non-breaking space cannot be accessed easily from the keyboard; furthermore, many are simply not aware of this typographical refinement. Using the wrong type of space often results in a quotation mark appearing alone at the beginning of a line, since the quotation mark is treated as an independent word.

This parallels normal usage in other languages, e. They were different from English quotes because they were standing like today’s guillemets on the baseline like lowercase letters , and not above it like apostrophes and English quotation marks or hanging down from it like commas.

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, this shape evolved to look like small parentheses. The angle shape appeared later to increase the distinction and avoid confusions with apostrophes, commas and parentheses in handwritten manuscripts submitted to publishers.

Also there was not necessarily any distinction of shape between the opening and closing guillemets, with both types pointing to the right like today’s French closing guillemets. They must be used with non-breaking spaces , preferably narrow, if available, i.

Legacy support of narrow non-breakable spaces was done at rendering level only, without interoperability as provided by Unicode support. In old-style printed books, when quotations span multiple lines of text including multiple paragraphs , an additional closing quotation sign is traditionally used at the beginning of each line continuing a quotation; any right-pointing guillemet at the beginning of a line does not close the current quotation.

This convention has been consistently used since the beginning of the 19th century by most book printers, but is no longer in use today. Such insertion of continuation quotation marks occurred even if there is a word hyphenation break.

Given this feature has been obsoleted, there is no support for automatic insertion of these continuation guillemets in HTML or CSS, nor in word-processors. Old-style typesetting is emulated by breaking up the final layout with manual line breaks, and inserting the quotation marks at line start, much like pointy brackets before quoted plain text e-mail:.

Unlike English, French does not set off unquoted material within a quotation by using a second set of quotation marks. The French Imprimerie nationale cf. The use of English quotation marks is increasing in French and usually follows English rules, for instance in situations when the keyboard or the software context doesn’t allow the use of guillemets.

But the most frequent convention used in printed books for nested quotations is to style them in italics. Single quotation marks are much more rarely used, and multiple levels of quotations using the same marks is often considered confusing for readers:.

Further, running speech does not use quotation marks beyond the first sentence, as changes in speaker are indicated by a dash, as opposed to the English use of closing and re-opening the quotation. For other languages employing dashes, see section Quotation dash below.

The dashes may be used entirely without quotation marks as well. In general, quotation marks are extended to encompass as much speech as possible, including not just nonverbal text such as “he said” as previously noted , but also as long as the conversion extends. The quotation marks end at the last spoken text rather than extending to the end of paragraphs when the final part is not spoken.

A closing quotation mark, » , is added to the beginning of each new quoted paragraph. In Hungarian linguistic tradition the meaning of a word is signified by uniform unpaired apostrophe-shaped quotation marks:. A quotation dash is also used, and is predominant in belletristic literature. The PWN rules state:. In specific uses, guillemets also appear. Guillemet marks pointing inwards are used for highlights and in case a quotation occurs inside a quotation.

Guillemet marks pointing outwards are used for definitions mainly in scientific publications and dictionaries , as well as for enclosing spoken lines and indirect speech, especially in poetic texts. In Polish books and publications, this style for use of guillemets also known as »German quotes« is used almost exclusively. In addition to being standard for second level quotes, guillemet quotes are sometimes used as first level quotes in headings and titles but almost never in ordinary text in paragraphs.

Another style of quoting is to use an em-dash to open a quote; this is used almost exclusively to quote dialogues, and is virtually the only convention used in works of fiction. An en-dash is sometimes used in place of the em-dash , especially so in newspaper texts. Neither the Portuguese language regulator nor the Brazilian prescribe what is the shape for quotation marks, they only prescribe when and how they should be used.

In Portugal , the angular quotation marks [53] [58] ex. They are the Latin tradition quotation marks, used normally by typographers. It is that also the chosen representation for displaying quotation marks in reference sources, [57] [75] [76] and it is also the chosen representation from some sites dedicated to the Portuguese Language.

The usage of curved quotation marks ex. This can be verified by the difference between a Portuguese keyboard which possesses a specific key for « and for » and a Brazilian keyboard. The Portuguese-speaking African countries tend to follow Portugal’s conventions, not the Brazilian ones.

In case of quoted material inside a quotation, rules and most noted style manuals prescribe the use of different kinds of quotation marks. Pushkin wrote to Delvig: “Waiting for ‘Gypsies’, and publish at once. One of my acquaintances, a poet and literary critic, once jokingly said: ‘I prefer to read dictionaries than poems. The dictionary has the same words as in the poem, but is presented in a systematic way’.

It’s a joke, but ‘reading dictionaries’ is not as amazing and bizarre as it may seem. Spanish uses angled quotation marks comillas latinas or angulares as well, but always without the spaces. And, when quotations are nested in more levels than inner and outer quotation, the system is: [80]. Hispanic Americans often use them, owing to influence from the United States. Corner brackets are well-suited for Chinese , Japanese , and Korean languages which are written in both vertical and horizontal orientations.

China, South Korea, and Japan all use corner brackets when writing vertically. Usage differs when writing horizontally:.


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