W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-html@w3.org > February 2004

Re: Correct usage of the q element

From: Andrew Stevens <andrew-stevens@sbcglobal.net>
Date: Sun, 8 Feb 2004 01:35:18 -0800 (PST)
Message-ID: <20040208093518.48461.qmail@web80006.mail.yahoo.com>
To: www-html@w3.org

> But if any software ever starts making real use of 
> such markup, shouldn't it start from recognizing
> quotations as quoted text by the use of quotation  
> marks? It's not 100% sure of course, but quotation 
> marks are _far_ more common for years to
> come, anyway.

A couple years back, as an exercise, I made an effort
on a couple projects to try and use as many HTML
elements as possible.  Of course, when it came to <q>
I had to cope with the different visual renderings of
this element (most notably IE's failure to enclose
text with <q> with quotation marks).  To get around
this I placed the following in my style sheet:

q:before { content: no-open-quote; }
q:after { content: no-close-quote; }

and manually placed quotation marks before and after
the quotes.  I didn't continue to use this technique,
because I found it to be a little too hacky for my

Mark Pilgrim developed another hacky method to deal
with <q> elements by making IE italicize them.
You can read about his technique at:

He also has scrapped his CSS hack in favor of a
server-side solution when he learned that JAWS didn't
recognize the <q> element.

Reflecting on this issue now, I'd actually prefer it
if all browsers didn't put quotation marks around <q>
for a couple reasons.  First, as Jukka points out, the
use of quotation marks around quoted text isn't wanted
100% of the time.  Also, I can see uninformed authors
using the <q> element to attain the visual effect of
quotation marks for text that truly ins't a quotation.
 Thus, I'd prefer browsers to leave the <q> element
unstyled by default and leave it to a style sheet to
determine how the element will be presented visually.

 Andrew Stevens
Received on Sunday, 8 February 2004 04:47:28 UTC

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