GWAS: Lessons in The Elements of Style #2 (Quotations)

GWAS: Lessons in The Elements of Style #2 (Quotations)

Quotations. Formal quotations cited as documentary evidence are introduced by a colon and enclosed quotation marks.

The United States Coast Pilot has this to say of the place: "Bracy Cove, 0.5 mile eastward of Bear Island, is exposed to southeast winds, has a rocky and uneven bottom, and is unfit for anchorage."

A quotation grammatically in apposition or the direct object of a verb is preceded by a comma and enclosed in quotation marks.

I am reminded of the advice of my neighbour, "Never worry about your heart till it stops beating."

Mark Twain says, "A classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read."

When a quotation is followed by an attributive phrase, the comma is enclosed within the quotation marks.

"I can't attend," she said.

Typographical usage dictates that the comma be inside the marks, though logically it often seems not to belong there.

"The Fish," "Poetry," and "The Monkeys" are in Marianne Moore's Selected Poems.

When quotations of an entire line, or more, of either verse or prose are to be distinguished typographically from text matter, as are the quotations in the book, begin on a fresh line and indent. Quotation marks should not be used unless they appear in the original, as in dialogue.

Wordsworth's enthusiasm for the French revolution was at first unbounded:
Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
But to be young was very heaven!

Quotations introduced by that are indirect discourse and not enclosed in quotation marks.

Keats declares that beauty is truth, truth beauty.
Dickinson states that a coffin is a small domain.

Proverbial expressions and familiar phrases of literary origin require no quotation marks.

These are the times that try men's souls.
He lives far from the madding crowd.

Edited extract from The Elements of Style (Illustrated), Strunk, White, Kalman, $19.95, Penguin

See also: Lessons in The Elements of Style #1 (Omit needless words)

Your truly,
Girl With a Satchel