Sunday, 18 January 2009

Quotations, Quotations, Quotations

Is writing speech in quotation marks like 'this' such a difficult habit to acquire, when one has been used to "these"? Apparently so. I have the double quotations branded into my brain; however hard I try to give the treacherous buggers the slip, they sneak into my pages and conceal themselves. I've gone cross-eyed with the effort of trying to locate them amongst the letters that so effectively harbour them. It's a conspiracy, I tell ye.

Farewell, John Mortimer, without whose sterling work in the name of free speech we would never have known our beloved friends John Thomas and Lady Jane from Lady Chatterley's Lover. Which means that maybe there would never have been a Black Lace. Yikes!

So I'm raising a glass to Sir John. I was a big fan of Rumpole of the Bailey as well.


  1. Oh God, the double quotes. How they destroy my world! I got into the habit of using single quotes years ago (thank you, GAFF), but it took forever. And now every single one of my creative writing students either argues with me or looks stunned when I tell them that a large amount of publishers will only accept single.

    I have to take books along with singles in them. That's how little it registers in the mind.

    I curse you, double quotes!

    (and sympathise, mah dahlink)

  2. I blame my English teachers of yesteryear. I shall have my revenge - maybe my making them characters in my stories, heh.

  3. Now, Alison Tyler says double quotes are standard for the US and single quotes for UK. Dunno. I'm a single-quotes gal but that's a Black Lace habit.
    (Ooh ... imagine a black lace nun's habit...)

  4. I'm imagining it...and it's giving me ideas...

    I'm hoping I can get into the more prosaic habit of the single quotes; it's actually much easier to do once you've relearnt, I think. (Or should that be 'relearned' - I know there's a house style thing about that too...)