Re: <q>

2008/10/26 Ben Boyle <>

> Taken to its fullest extent, this thinking leads to fully describing
> language grammar. Please excuse my crude example below, and I
> understand you are not proposing this. (But I can't held following
> through on the thinking and arriving at this conclusion)
> <p>
>  <sentence>
>    <phrases conjunction="and">
>      <phrase>
>        <subject>This</subject>
>        <stuff>is a</stuff>
>        <adj>seductive</adj>
>        <n>notion</n>
>      <phrase>it would be <n>convenient</n> if it <v>held</v>
> <n>true</n> <adv>generally</adv></phrase>
>  </sentence>
>  ...
> </p>

Not all parts of speech/language have multiple acceptable forms of
presentational decoration/styling. Paragraphs have: they can be indented or
not, closely-spaced or not, etc. Quotes have: they can have single quotes,
double quotes, angle-bracket style quotes, etc. Adjectives haven't: they
flow inline without any specific presentational style.

Think of a publisher with a set of "house style" rules. These may specify
some syntactic and semantic rules, like the famous Kansas City Star rules
followed by Ernest Hemingway: "Use short sentences. Use short first
paragraphs. Use vigorous English. Be positive, not negative." They may also
specify some presentational rules, such as: "Always use handed single-quote
marks to delineate quotations. Citations should use bold text." etc.

> I guess the line has to be drawn somewhere... in my previous post I
> was pondering why quotation marks fell into the spec.

I figure the line has been drawn where it has because, as I've explained
above, some parts of language/speech are conventionally open to a range of
styling decisions, whereas some are not. Those that are have, in some cases,
their own elements.

> It's quite
> useful being able to mark something as a quotation. Having the
> punctuation go awry across different browser implementations is just a
> headache.

It is, but that is the fault of the browsers' authors - and, perhaps, a poor
spec to begin with. I hope HTML 5 can be developed in a way that avoids both
these problems, but still includes a <q> element.

>> Thankfully, the q element is completely optional so there's nothing
> >> stopping me continuing to avoid using it. ;)
> >
> > Yep, and inline styling is still possible too, so you can style every
> > element individually if that's how you want to spend your time!
> Yes, and I maintain my position that it is extremely valuable for
> authors to have these choices.

I agree it's nice to have the choice. I'm not proposing <q> should be
compulsory. But I for one avoid inline styling except where the rules will
only be applied to one or two elements in the foreseeable future.

> I'm not looking for ways to waste my
> time though, and think comparing punctuation with inline styling is a
> bit amusing.

I think that choosing double, single or other quotation marks is a
presentational decision like choosing paragraph indentation or spacing. It
seems, therefore, to be a fair comparison.

> Hopefully I've clarified my position better. I take your
> point you find the q element useful. More power to you! I've no qualms
> with anyone who wishes to uses q. And you can quote me on that. haha
> :)


> Got a question ...
>  <p lang="en"><q lang="fr">Bonjour</q> he said.</p>
>  English or French quotation marks?

I'd say that's a matter of editorial taste. I could imagine a situation in
which I marked up a number of documents like this, chose French quotation
marks, and then had my editor decide she preferred English quotation marks
in these cases. If I'd marked up each quotation mark by inserting the
appropriate character in every case, I'd have to do global find/replace with
all the problems that can entail. If I'd used the <q> element as per your
code above, a small CSS tweak would take care of it instantly. I know which
I'd prefer :)


Received on Sunday, 26 October 2008 01:54:21 UTC