Ah, the quotation mark. It takes many forms…in the air, overused, underused, absent, and just plain wrong. Some use it for “emphasis.” (Hint: don’t.) Some put quotation marks common phrases in signs or marketing collateral. The short answer on all this is, of course, that quotation marks are marks for notating quotations. Not for emphasis. We might use them to set off a phrase someone said or their misuse of a phrase (such as a liar’s version of the “truth,” for example). But otherwise, they only work for quotes.
But within that, how are they treated? In American English, double quotations go around an actual quote. Punctuation (periods, commas, dashes, etc) go inside. It’s different in British English, but that’s beyond the point. When in doubt, consult this APA table.
There is an argument for logical punctuation, but as an old English major having two major publication styles chiseled into my head, this sort of thing makes my skin crawl.
I often run across numbered lists, bulleted lists, and in-sentence lists, known either as seriation or enumeration, depending on what style one uses. The three major style guides (APA, Chicago, MLA) are very clear on how to do these.
APA Style Blog: Lists (a 6-part series including both lists and seriation within a sentence)
Purdue OWL: APA Lists
For those disciplines that require Chicago or Turabian, as well as non-academic manuscripts:
Middlebury College: Vertical Lists (Chicago style)
MLA format does not recommend the use of vertical lists; rather, seriation by comma is suggested.
This is the week that most residents of South Carolina will spend their time talking trash about either Carolina or Clemson, depending on their allegiances.
Rather than say anything negative about USC, I’d like to draw attention to one of the greatest entrances in college football. Last year’s home opener against Georgia featured a pregame segment on ESPN that documented the bus ride the players and coaches take from one end of the stadium to the other. It’s a tradition that began when the team dressed in the old Fike Fieldhouse then walked to the stadium and ran down The Hill. The facilities are now on the other end of the stadium, under the West End Zone, but the tradition remains. It’s part of the pregame pageantry that makes Clemson’s entrance “The Most Exciting 25 Seconds in College Football,” to quote Brent Musberger. I have to say, as a Clemson alumnus and football fan, there is nothing like this. Being in the stadium while this is going down, after singing the Clemson Alma Mater with my dad and 80,000 others, is a memory I get to relive every year for all the home games.
Sylvia Plath would have turned 82 last month, and this article in The Atlantic makes some observations on Ted Hughes’ editorial contributions to Ariel‘s arrangement.
After her death, Plath’s husband Ted Hughes rearranged her manuscript to reflect his wife’s biographical arc: Placing her strongest, most outwardly masochistic poems (“Ariel”) at the beginning, Hughes filled the middle in with optimistic work, then punched up the end with poems about female death and a writer’s obsession (“Contusion,” “Edge,” and “Words”). After his editorial contributions, the oven was the logical conclusion to the collection’s tale of downward spiral, the final defeat in its losing battle.
In 2006, I had an article published in Lifewriting about the inevitable difficulties biographers had, and would continue to experience, with the Hughes estate. It was based on one central thesis:
Regardless, with respect to her suicide, Plath and Hughes are not two separate individuals. They are one concept, fused together by their mutual experiences and held in an infinite moment.
I also questioned Hughes’ dual roles as both widower and what appeared to be puppeteer. Despite passing the executor role to his sister Olwyn, there was little doubt that he was still acting by proxy. His actions, detailed in the Atlantic article, certainly suggest a certain level of manipulation.