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Rick Barry

Edie, this is not nitpicking at all. Punctuation is part of a writer's toolbox. The mark of a professional is knowing how to use the tools of the trade correctly. I appreciate each point you make.

As a small addition, I might mention that, in fonts like Times New Roman, a beginning single quotation mark at the beginning of a word (e.g., 'bye) is not an acceptable substitute for an apostrophe, which indicates something left out. (The difference won't be visible in the font used in this comment, but in many common fonts like Times Roman these are two totally different punctuation marks.)


Great post. Thanks for sharing. I love reading this blog and learning from it as well.

I struggle when there's a quote within conversation. For example:

"Look at verse three. "Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.""

Would I use double quotation marks? It doesn't look right.

Thanks. Blessings always, Renee-Ann

Alton Gansky

Hi Renee-Ann. In American English, you start with a double quote (") and if the speaker quotes someone else, the embedded quote is set off by a single mark ('). If there is another embedded quote in an embedded quote--rewrite the sentence. (Okay, you'd use a double quotation mark, but you run the risk of confusing the the reader.)

Your example sentence ("Look at verse three. "Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans."") would look like this: "Look at verse three. 'Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.' ") I added a space at between the ' and the " for clarity.

British English rules are different. In general they are the reverse of the American practice.

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