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Re: Structure vs Semantics

From: Chris Mannall <chris.mannall@hecubagames.com>
Date: Thu, 11 Dec 2003 22:54:26 +0000
Message-ID: <3FD8F5A2.80205@hecubagames.com>
To: ernestcline@mindspring.com, www-html@w3.org

Ernest Cline wrote:
>>[Original Message]
>>From: Chris Mannall <chris.mannall@hecubagames.com>
>>
>>	Was so-and-so correct when he said "such and such?"
>>
>>	Was so-and-so correct when he said "such and such"?
>>
>>This could be seen as solvable by either including the question mark
>>in the <q> element or not, but I don't think it's as simple as that. The 
>>question mark isn't part of the quotation, so I don't see that it should 
>>be included in the <q> element, but I may still wish to *present* the 
>>quotation in the first form.
> 
> 
> Actually, no.  The usual rule in English  for punctuation other than
> "," and "," is that it is placed inside the quotation marks only if it is
> part of the quote.

After checking, I've discovered my example involving the question mark 
is indeed wrong - question marks are only included within the quotation 
marks if they are part of the quote. You're not strictly correct about 
the comma and full stop though (I assume you meant full stop) - there 
are differences between American English and British English.

Dictionary.com's take on the matter[1]:

<quote>

- In American usage, punctuation that goes inside the closing quotation 
mark includes a period or comma (but not a colon or semicolon). In 
British usage, the period and the comma go outside the quotation mark. 
The dash, question mark, and exclamation point fall inside quotation 
marks if they belong with the quoted matter but outside if they 
punctuate the sentence as a whole.

- For quotations which extend beyond one paragraph, a quotation mark 
begins each paragraph and the closing quotation mark is at the end of 
the last paragraph.

- Some writers leave periods and commas outside of quoted material if 
that punctuation belongs to the sentence as a whole.

</quote>

So there *is* a presentational difference that has to be taken into 
account here.


> That the usual rule is often violated is a problem, but not one that
> is solvable by XHTML.  However, your example has given me
> yet another thing to think about.

I agree it's not the place of XHTML to try to force the correct use of 
language; on the other hand though, I'm not sure that we should be 
talking about adding algorithms for determining the placing of quotation 
marks. I don't want to find us arguing in three to four years time about 
having to *remove* that feature due to the natural evolution of the 
English language.


- Chris Mannall


[1] http://dictionary.com/help/faq/language/p/punctuationmarks.html
Received on Thursday, 11 December 2003 17:45:40 GMT

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