Monday, March 19, 2007

My little old American gramma

I quite happily use program & disk in my regular writings, remember to use color & center when I'm writing html but stick with colour & centre the rest of the time. Occasionally I succumb & use -ize when I don't realise what I'm doing or am trying to extemporise. I have no problems publishing a magazine where one poem title has grey in it & another has gray.

None of that I consider in any way wrong, just different jargons if you like. But I cannot come to terms with the American way of using punctuation inside quotation marks. (& quotation marks are another Americanism I have succumbed to. I learnt at school that only speech or a direct quote should go into quotation marks. Otherwise it should be 'quotation marks'. & please note where that fullstop went.)

I grew up having drummed in to me that only if you were quoting a complete sentence did you put the fullstop inside the quotation marks, singular or plural. So…

In the sentence above I used the words "quotation marks". The fullstop is there to signal the end of a sentence. " doesn't do that. It doesn't make sense to me to write "quotation marks." If I was asked to say what I had written three (now four) sentences ago I would respond:
"In the sentence above I used the words 'quotation marks'."
It's one of those piddling little things that irritate the shit out of me, makes me almost mad enough to launch a pre-emptory strike on whoever the arbiters of grammar in the U.S. are. & you can quote me on that.

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