Everything changes, apparently

As regular readers will know, I’m in the very middle of writing my first commissioned piece of work (and it’s hard work, I can tell you, much harder than writing for myself But enjoyable).

Anyway, I submitted my first few chapters, and got my feedback. My writing style is lovely, but I’m making a basic punctuation mistake.

You see, I’ve been using ” ” for speechs, and ‘ ‘ for quotes. Apparently, it should be the other way round.

That can’t be right, I thought. Surely I, with an English degree, and years of reading and writing behind me, can’t be getting basic punctuation wrong. I grabbed the nearest book, and had a look.

They were using ‘ ‘ for speechs, and ” ” for quotes. So I had been getting it wrong all these years.

But then I had a look at a book published in the 1980’s. There it was – ” ” for speechs. Any books written pre-90’s, (and published in Britain, probably) had one rule for speech and quote marks – books written after, 1990’s another.

When I had learned basic grammar and punctuation, way back in the 70’s and 80’s, I thought what I had learnt stayed the same forever. But somewhere along the way, the rules changed, and I never even noticed.

Apparently grammar and punctuation is just as much in flux as language itself is. I’m going to have to learn to pay more attention to it.

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One response to “Everything changes, apparently

  1. Pingback: Everything Changes

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