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.


One response to “Everything changes, apparently

  1. Pingback: Everything Changes

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