SPOILER for _Dragon_...what's up with Vlad, again?

Mark A Mandel mam at theworld.com
Mon Feb 17 16:42:24 PST 2003

On Tue, 11 Feb 2003, Philip Hart wrote:

#On Tue, 11 Feb 2003, David Silberstein wrote:

	[attribution lost]
#>>That's what single quotation marks are for.
#> Only if it's an exact quote, which this wasn't.  Or is that a rule of
#> style that I am unfamiliar with?
#Double = exact, single = paraphrase, at least in the US, outside of quotes
#(i.e., M said, "Last Cycle Sethra said to me, 'Why should I not kill
#you?'").  The English tend to use a nested quote system starting from
#single going to double, the Germans often like "<< .. >>", the French
#(getting down Dumas) use the (Joycean?) leading dash system, the
#Dragaerans ...
#Anyway, the single/double distinction above is what they used to teach in
#intro formal logic.

And they probably don't teach it anywhere else; I grew up in the US and
have lived in it all my life (54 overeducated years), and this is the
first I've heard of it. In linguistics, in some usages at least, double
quotes enclose a form and single quotes a definition or meaning:

	Russian "konechno" 'of course'

Well, come to think of it, these two technical usages could be viewed as
being the same (logic and linguistics). But neither one is part of the
knowledge of the typical reader, and so they should not be relied on for
important distinctions such as this one. If you're paraphrasing, best to
say so explicitly:

	Joe Fan wrote, approx., that all people are created equal.

	As Joe Fan put it, "All people are created equal" OWTTE.*


(That initialism = "or words to that effect".)

-- Dr. Whom, Consulting Linguist, Grammarian, Orthoepist, and
   Philological Busybody
   a.k.a. Mark A. Mandel