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.