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Direct speech - inverted commas

Back to the basics with regular Challenge winner, Ann Grover. Weekly lessons to help you hone your basic writing skills.

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Direct speech - inverted commas

Postby yarra » Sun May 20, 2012 12:29 am

Regarding the use of inverted commas around direct speech, I have been using single inverted commas ( eg: Jane said, 'Hello.' ) but someone commented on that and queried whether it is allowable. I looked at some other people's writing and saw that double inverted commas are used more often on FaithWriters posts (eg: Jane said, "Hello." )
It is the current convention here in Australia, in new publications, to use single inverted commas and apparently this is also so in Britain. Does FaithWriters have a 'style guide' type rule on this? And is America's current convention different so that double inverted commas are still usual?
And, after all that - which should I use.? My preference is to use what is acceptable by publishers and that is the single version here. In fact it would be quite hard to have to change back to the old way, and even harder to have to do some things one way and some the other.
Advice on this would be much appreciated. (As long as it's the advice I want to hear of course! :) )

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Re: Direct speech - inverted commas

Postby glorybee » Sun May 20, 2012 12:34 am

You're right that UK/US usages differ. Here at FaithWriters, it makes no difference whatsoever in the Writing Challenge; the judges are aware of differences like this and they don't factor into the judging whatsoever. If you're writing for Regular Submissions, it's also fine to use the single inverted commas. It's likely that your commenter was unaware of the differences in UK/US usage; you should feel free to disregard that comment (or to graciously inform him or her about the difference). Feel free to continue to use the style that is most familiar to you.
Jan Ackerson

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Re: Direct speech - inverted commas

Postby yarra » Sun May 20, 2012 1:28 am

Thanks for your very prompt reply. That's good to hear - that I can do it the way I'm used to doing it. Interestingly, after posting that I looked at a few books and the local newspaper and found that both ways are used here too, depending on the publishers I suppose. Thanks for clearing the issue up for me.

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Re: Direct speech - inverted commas

Postby Deb Porter » Sun May 20, 2012 1:50 am

Yarra, that's the crunch. Regardless of style guides for each country (and Jan is quite right, Aussies now technically use the single for direct speech), it depends on the publisher.

Ultimately, the important thing is that it remains consistent throughout. So whatever grammar or spelling you use, make sure it stays the same from start to finish.

Love, Deb
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