Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Is anybody reading? I need help!

A brought home this homework assignment today where they are to ask a parent questions and then record our responses using proper punctuation for the quotation marks. The only problem is that the example is not punctuated properly, unless we are suddenly British, that is.

The example: "What is your favorite food?" asked Chad. (correct)
"My favorite food is Mexican", said mom. (incorrect)*

* see this link: http://www.writersblock.ca/tips/monthtip/tipmay96.htm for explanation.

So, before I make an *ss of myself and send the teacher a copy of the American grammar rules concerning quotation marks, tell me....is anyone aware of any movement in schools to change the acceptable way of doing things? Or is this a late April Fool's Day joke?

By the way, I learned something interesting while I was double checking. The reason we put the punctuation inside quotation marks is as follows:

There are peculiar typographical reasons why the period and comma go inside the quotation mark in the United States. The following explanation comes from the "Frequently Asked Questions" file of alt.english.usage: "In the days when printing used raised bits of metal, "." and "," were the most delicate, and were in danger of damage (the face of the piece of type might break off from the body, or be bent or dented from above) if they had a '"' on one side and a blank space on the other. Hence the convention arose of always using '."' and ',"' rather than '".' and '",', regardless of logic." This seems to be an argument to return to something more logical, but there is little impetus to do so within the United States.


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