In each case, the same short/single, long/double quote rule was followed.Then I returned to my students’ papers and saw it again, this time in the margins, flowing from my own fingertips—What have I become?!? I found a copy editor lamenting on her blog that “approximately 20% of the writing” she receives puts single quotes around “important concepts or key phrases.” The copy editor’s post served to explain the rule, but I discovered that part of the reason this hybrid quote practice is spreading is that people aren’t seeking experts.
It’s still pretty simple, but nothing so straightforward as here.
Yet some of us don’t seem happy with what we’ve got.
It’s clear the Yahoo answerers read widely, but many seem unaware of different customs across the ocean. One writer recommends using single quotes to clearly differentiate between the words of a “a real or fictional entity” and those of “the author of the surrounding text.” A user of the forum Quora writes, “I use ‘scare’ quotes”, to acknowledge that the word is not my own.
They routinely describe quotation choice as entirely a matter of “personal preference” or “style.” One writer says, “The only writer I know who uses the single quotations is Terry Pratchett. It is inappropriate to use real quotes so I’ve started using single quotes.” They’re reacting to a subtle quirk of quotation marks.
When dashing off a quick word in a chat or marginal comment, I sometimes just don’t work up the energy to reach for that shift key.
One online commenter is surprisingly calculating about his usage preferences: “It’s also one key-press cheaper for me to type a single as opposed to double-quotes (shift quote key).Then I saw them in another friend’s manuscript—this time, of an academic book.Then I turned to the Internet and they were everywhere—in a local news story, in a paper by a college professor, in a blog on social marketing, in a blog on the education system, on the website of the Children’s Literacy Foundation.Unlike some linguistic novelties—like labeling all books “novels”—this one could actually add useful nuance.suggests hitting shift to follow double quote style is “of small consequence among all key strokes used in typing a document.” But several commenters cite labor-saving as a justification for singles, and I believe that’s why I’ve found myself using them.I can also amortize the cost of the two key-presses out over longer phrases, which seems to justify the effort.” People type more now than ever before.We like to take it easy now and then, and hitting shift to capitalize or properly punctuate can sometimes feel like a hassle—if the most trivial in human history.You don’t put two colons in a sentence, not because you were taught this but because you never see it done.This regurgitation helps maintain written consistency, but it also might allow this change.For several years now in teaching writing classes to college freshmen, I’ve noticed some students adopt another rule: double quotes for long quotations, single quotes for single words or short phrases.They’ll quote a long passage from But then I looked up from their papers to find this usage in the manuscript of a friend’s novel.