Thursday, January 31, 2008

Giving A Title Its Due

Well, I'm determined I'm going to get an entry in here before the day is officially over!

I've been playing around with several ideas for entries, but then Amanda left a comment in the previous entry that I feel I just MUST address.  Let's see what we can find out, shall we?

Amanda asked how to "properly give a book title its due recognition",  and she wondered "how to properly do speech in writing."  She wondered if she could put the actual quote on another line to emphasize it.  Let's deal with the second question first. 

I don't see why you can't put a quote on a separate line to emphasize it, but I wouldn't (like the example you used in your comment) put She said, on one line, and then the quote on another line.  I'd just go ahead and put the words She said and the quote on the same line, or I'd just let the quote stand alone without using the words She said.  I couldn't find anything that addressed this particular question, but I did find this nifty video about using quotation marks: Nifty Video About Using Quotation Marks.  The only thing I'll add is that when you're writing in your journal or in any personal writing I don't see why you can't style your writing any way you want.  If you're looking to get published, you'll have an editor (or team of editors) rearranging anything that needs to be rearranged, anyway.

Now, as for the first question dealing with properly giving a book title its due recognition:  Unless things have changed since my proofreading days, the preferred method is to underline the title of a book or magazine.   ONE CAN ALSO WRITE THE TITLE IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS.  I have also seen cases where a book or magazine title is typed in italics, but I was not taught to do so.  (I must offer a bit of a disclaimer here.  I was a proofreader for a newspaper, and sometimes journalism has its own rules and regulations when it comes to these things.)  I believe that it is more acceptable to underline titles.  However, two exceptions to this are the Bible and the Koran.  I don't think it's acceptable to underline these names, or to write them in all caps, nor would I italicize them.  Often when I'm writing online I will use all caps for the title of a book, simply because underlining may make it look like a hyperlink, but otherwise I prefer underlining.  Never underline and italicize a title at the same time.  It just isn't done.

I found one source that mentioned that The New Yorker uses quotation marks around everything whether it's a novel, a TV show, or a short story.  I think the main thing is to be consistent within your writing.  Decide which you are going to do, and then stick with it.

If I find anything more definitive about this, I'll post it at a later time, and if there is anyone out there who knows what the current rules are, please leave a comment or email me.



emeraldcalf said...

Ok. Being I have the bible version of English writing rules, I think I have all the answers:

Never underline, bold or italicize the Bible, Koran, or any of the books inside. (Chapters)

Italicize or underline titles of books, journals, magazines, newspapers, plays, films, TV series, long poems, musical compositions, web sites, and works of art.

Underlining is supposed to only be appropriate for the above if it is handwritten. Otherwise, it should be italicized.

The only time quotations should be used is with quotes or dialouge. Again, this is more formal writing. One's personal journal could be different; the authors style can shine as long as their is consistency.

Oh, and the way to quote within a quote is like this: "Amanda asked, 'how to properly give a book title its due....'"

Do you all see it? Double quotes around the original speaker, with a single quote around the second person's speech.

Hope that helps!


emeraldcalf said...

Good grief. I should proofread myself.

'Their' should be changed to 'there.'


helmswondermom said...

Oh joy!  Someone else who does that (and who uses the phrase "good grief")!!
Don't you just hate to hit that "save" button and then realize you've misspelled something?  I do, and I do it often!

Thank you for your comment below, though.  That's pretty much what I found, also, although I was taught that italicizing was not correct and that all caps was (but that was 30 years ago).  Like I said, I will do all caps so that the title isn't mistaken for a hyperlink, but I don't like italicizing titles.  So unless I am writing online, I will underline.

The quotes within quotes is correct as you state it, but it is also acceptable the other way around.  In other words, you can use a single quotation mark for the first quote (which I've seen in a lot of older books published in the UK), and then you would use the double quotation marks for the quote inside the quote.  The video that I linked to shows this as well.

(But when I was quoting Amanda I just quoted a portion of her comment, so I put the double quotation marks around only the part I was quoting.)


gdireneoe said...

Here  is a blog I REALLY respect and enjoy.  I have another link to share, and, of course, I can't open the file it's in...get that shared later. ;)  C.

manda2177 said...

Man, you are the BEST!  lol... I need to get a fastlink to you so that anytime I have a question about things in my life I can jsut refer it right to you! lol  

Turly, your wisdom and grace impress every time I read your words.

God bless-and thankyou!