In Reply to: Quotation marks posted by Baceseras on April 30, 2009 at 12:04:
: : : : : Pls tell me the differences between 'x' and "x". My understanding is that in the UK single quotation marks are usually used and double quotation marks are often used to attract attention to ironic words. In the States, it seems that double quotation marks are used without such an implication. This means single quotation marks are rarely used in the US or are they used to imply certain things there?
: : : : In the U.S., single quotes are used for a quote within a quote. She said, "He wrote me a letter and said, 'I'll be home on Friday.'" Double quotes are used for direct quotes -- the exact words of a speaker, either the whole statement or a fragment -- and to enclose words like nicknames or unfamiliar terms.
: : : In the UK these days single quotes are the norm and double quotes are normally used only as "quotes within quotes" - the reverse of US practice. (VSD)
: : Thanks for your clarification. I'm still unsure about scare quotes which implies irony etc...(that is what I wanted to know). In the UK double quotes are used for this purpose but how about in the States? You use single quotes for simple quotation as well as quotation with more complicated implications such as irony, sarcasm, satire, i.e. there is no differentiation between simply quoting what someone said and scare quotes, unlike the UK?
: [Editorial practice in the US is still, as it has been since the time of Webster, to use "double" quotation marks for scare-quotes, except when within a quotation, then the single marks are to be used. As Victoria said, it appears to be just the opposite of British practice. And it's pretty uniform throughout the publishing biz. It will be interesting to see if it changes under pressure from the anything-goes multitudinous styles in internet-based publishing; we all seem to make up our own rules and break them without a qualm. When publishing on-line I take my cue from the amount of visual clutter the receiving web-page can bear - a subjective judgment if ever there was one, and it varies with my mood. - Bac.]
Never heard of "scare quotes." Regards U.S. usage: In addition to the use of double quotes to mark quoted words and phrases, they are used to set off any emphasized word or short phrase (He had a "now-or-never" look on his face.) and to indicate an ironical use of words (He "borrowed" some money from my purse.). It seems to me that newspaper editors in my day discouraged the use of quote marks in this manner. But that was a long time ago. The Elements of Grammar by Margaret Shertzer.