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!standard 1.1(0)          20-10-14 AC95-00334/00
!class confirmation 20-10-14
!status received no action 20-10-14
!status received 20-09-09
!subject Periods inside or outside quotes?
!summary
!appendix

[Editor's note: This topic is a meta-topic in that it concerns the rules used
when creating ARG documents including Standard. It came up during the ARG 
meeting of September 9th, 2020, and led to a lot of discussion. Ultimately, we
did not make any changes to the policies used in the Standard and AIs, as 
moving punctuation inside of quotes can often be incorrect or ambiguous as
noted in this thread.]

***************************************************************

From: Tucker Taft
Sent: Wednesday, September 9, 2020  3:09 PM

This seems to be a British vs. American English situation.  The Modern 
Language Association (http://mla.org) indicates that even in the digital era,
the convention in the US is to put periods inside quotes.  I believe the Ada 
RM has followed that rule since the beginning, and just because the Brits 
don't like it doesn't mean we should change.  Below find a longish quote from 
the MLA's website (https://style.mla.org/punctuation-and-quotation-marks/).

------------------------------------

Why do periods and commas go inside quotation marks in MLA style?

The MLA Handbook notes, “By convention, commas and periods that directly 
follow quotations go inside the closing quotation marks” (88). Thus, in the 
following sentence, the comma is placed after taught:

“You’ve got to be carefully taught,” wrote Oscar Hammerstein II.

The rule is the same for a list of titles:

Julio Cortázar wrote many short stories, including “La noche boca arriba,” 
“Casa tomada,” and “Babas del diablo.”

It is also the same for instances where a title within a title comes at the 
end of a sentence:

A new approach to Flannery O’Connor’s short story can be found in the essay 
“The Uncanny Theology of ‘A Good Man Is Hard to Find.’” This placement is 
traditional in the United States. William Strunk, Jr., and E. B. White, 
writing in 1959, noted that “[t]ypographical usage dictates the comma be 
inside the marks, though logically it seems not to belong there” (36). In 
other words, in the predigital era, when fonts were fixed-width, setting a 
period or comma outside the quotation marks would have created an unsightly
gap: 

<illustration>

But Robert Bringhurst, writing in the era of digital fonts, maintains that it 
generally “makes no typographic difference” if quotation marks “follow commas 
and periods or precede them” (87). Digital typographers can close up the gap:

<another illustration>

The convention nonetheless remains.

In British style, spacing issues are less pronounced because it uses single 
quotation marks instead of double, and commas and periods are placed outside
the quotation marks:

‘You’ve got to be carefully taught’, wrote Oscar Hammerstein II.

Julio Cortázar wrote many short stories, including ‘La noche boca arriba’, 
‘Casa tomada’, and ‘Babas del diablo’.

A new approach to Flannery O’Connor’s short story can be found in the essay 
‘The Uncanny Theology of “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”’.

Those who prefer the British style argue, as does Ben Yagoda in Slate, that 
“[i]nsinuating a period or comma within the unit alters it in a rather 
underhanded manner.” It’s important to note, however, that other conventions 
for altering the typographic display of quotations exist. For example, note 
numbers are omitted, end-of-line hyphenation is not reproduced, and double 
quotation marks in the source are converted to single marks.1 The imperative 
to transcribe the wording of quotations exactly, in other words, is 
compatible with conventions for integrating them into one’s own prose.

Yagoda also points to the inconsistency of the method used in the United 
States, which places “other punctuation marks—semicolons, colons, exclamation 
points, question marks, dashes” outside quotation marks. But the editors of 
The Chicago Manual of Style note that “[e]xceptions” to the British style 
“are widespread” (309), so in terms of consistency, neither approach is 
better than the other.

The point of conventions is that they provide common tools for understanding, 
so if you are preparing material in a British context, follow British rules. 
But if you are preparing a paper for a class or for publication in the United
States, place periods and commas inside quotation marks. 

***************************************************************

From: Randy Brukardt
Sent: Wednesday, September 9, 2020  3:49 PM

When we discussed this the last time (not precisely sure when that was, but 
this seems to come up periodically), it was noted that the so-called British
style is much more compatible with the mindset of programmers, who are never
going to move unrelated punctuation inside of a literal. An Ada programmer 
does not write:

     A : constant String := "This is a string;"

or

     Put_Width ("A string," 3);

!!!

As such the "American" quoting style seems out of place in prose that 
primarily is supporting Ada code. That's especially true in the comments on 
Ada examples -- it effectively changes the meaning of the comment. Not 
everyone is going to mentally move a comma outside of a quoted entity and 
the confusion is not worth meeting some arbitrary style. Thus, one has to use 
the British style anywhere near Ada code for sanity's sake.

If we were writing novels, this wouldn't be so clear-cut.

In any case, I was directed to be consistent, and I have been, eliminating 
that nasty "American" quoting style whenever I find it anywhere in ARG work.
That was pretty rare until recently; not sure what's changed but there 
certainly is a lot of it appearing lately.

***************************************************************

From: Jeff Cousins
Sent: Wednesday, September 9, 2020  3:55 PM

It’s also a function of time.

John and I have argued about this.  I was taught to put the period inside the
quotes, which seems to have been the norm in pre-WW2 English English (sic), 
but I believe that John, despite being 20 years older than me, would put it 
outside.

The possessive of “it” also seems to have changed about WW2 time.  In post-WW2 
English English it is “its”, but in pre-WW2 it seems to have been “it’s”, even 
in “set works” in original editions by great authors which are supposed to be 
an example of how to write.

I was also taught to use double quotation marks not single, but certainly most 
English people would use single.

The start of a new paragraph used to be indented (my mother would have), and 
some people would have inserted a space before a question mark, both of which
I think improve readability, but are definitely archaic.

***************************************************************

From: Tucker Taft
Sent: Wednesday, September 9, 2020  4:07 PM

> When we discussed this the last time (not precisely sure when that was, but 
> this seems to come up periodically), it was noted that the so-called British
> style is much more compatible with the mindset of programmers, who are never
> going to move unrelated punctuation inside of a literal. An Ada programmer 
> does not write:
>
>     A : constant String := "This is a string;"
> 
> or
> 
>     Put_Width ("A string," 3);
>
>!!!
...

I can accept this reasoning, but I do not remember making such a decision at 
the ARG level.  I might have just missed the meeting, or "Tucker prime" was 
attending in my stead.  

Last time John complained about this, I thought he was making a point that 
*certain* sorts of references should not have a comma or period stuffed 
inside them, but I was glad to see that the MLA believes this is an American 
vs. British thing.

I was certainly taught (one might say, had drummed into me) that commas and 
periods go inside the quotes, so *every* time I don't do that I still feel 
like my English teacher is going to pop out of the grave and give me a good 
tongue lashing.  It is amazing how deep some of these lessons go!  Two spaces 
between sentences is one of those same lessons, by the way...

I agree with the general principal of consistency, though I wouldn't mind 
seeing an AARM note somewhere, perhaps Chapter 1, saying that this is a 
conscious choice, not just some subtle British influence creeping into the 
manual. ;-)

***************************************************************

From: Gary Dismukes
Sent: Wednesday, September 9, 2020  4:11 PM

...
> As such the "American" quoting style seems out of place in prose that 
> primarily is supporting Ada code. That's especially true in the 
> comments on Ada examples -- it effectively changes the meaning of the 
> comment. Not everyone is going to mentally move a comma outside of a 
> quoted entity and the confusion is not worth meeting some arbitrary 
> style. Thus, one has to use the British style anywhere near Ada code for 
> sanity's sake.

Yes, I can recall having this discussion before, and I think the British 
style is definitely preferred in programming sorts of contexts.  Quotations
for in other contexts, like for dialogue and quotations is another matter, 
but that's not the concern here.

> If we were writing novels, this wouldn't be so clear-cut.

Right.

> In any case, I was directed to be consistent, and I have been, 
> eliminating that nasty "American" quoting style whenever I find it anywhere 
> in ARG work. That was pretty rare until recently; not sure what's changed 
> but there certainly is a lot of it appearing lately.

I think that was the right choice, at least for the RM, and one that we've 
been following for a long time, AFAIK.  So let's keep doing it.

***************************************************************

From: Bob Duff
Sent: Wednesday, September 9, 2020  4:15 PM

> This seems to be a British vs. American English situation.  The Modern 
> Language Association (http://mla.org) indicates that even in the 
> digital era, the convention in the US is to put periods inside quotes.

But those folks are not writing technical material about programming language 
text.  This:

    The dereference operation in Ada is ".all."

is just plain wrong.  It has to be:

    The dereference operation in Ada is ".all".

> I believe the Ada RM has followed that rule since the beginning,...

Has it?  I just searched for comma quote, and quote comma, and found several 
of both.  And we have better things to do that fix that inconsistency (in 
either direction).

> This placement is traditional in the United States. William Strunk, 
> Jr., and E. B. White, writing in 1959, noted that “[t]ypographical 
> usage dictates the comma be inside the marks, though logically it 
> seems not to belong there” (36). In other words, in the predigital 
> era, when fonts were fixed-width, setting a period or comma outside 
> the quotation marks would have created an unsightly gap:

That last sentence does not repeat the previous one "in other words".
It is rationale for the previous.

And variable-width fonts long predate the "digital era".  I just pulled the
oldest looking book off my shelf, which happened to be "Joan of Arc" by Mark 
Twain, printed in 1896.  Variable width.  This book was owned by my 
Grandmother when she was young, along with all the other works of Mark Twain.

> In British style, spacing issues are less pronounced because it uses 
> single quotation marks instead of double, and commas and periods are 
> placed outside the quotation marks:

I never noticed that British style is to use single quotes.
Interesting.

> The point of conventions is that they provide common tools for 
> understanding, so if you are preparing material in a British context, 
> follow British rules. But if you are preparing a paper for a class or 
> for publication in the United States, place periods and commas inside 
> quotation marks.

Following conventions can aid understanding, but this particular convention is 
just pedantry.  I won't believe it aids understanding unless I see a scientific
study.  I think British people can understand American novels just fine, and 
vice versa.  If Sherlock Holmes sends someone to gaol, that doesn't harm my 
understanding in the slightest.

***************************************************************

From: Brad Moore
Sent: Wednesday, September 9, 2020  4:30 PM

[Editor's note: This was part of a message from another thread, but it belongs
here.]

> I don't think the first comma in this replacement ought to be there. 
> That is,
> 
>   "View conversions to an unrelated type with the Default_Value
>   aspect specified are unlikely to occur in existing code,
>   since the aspect is new in Ada 2012."

Definitely Agree.

And on an aside,  I notice you put the period after "Ada 2012" inside the 
quotes, which is needed here. :-)

Perhaps that's another reason why we go against the apparent US norm. When we 
are in the businees of wordsmithing, we need to know precisely which 
punctuation is in the wording inside the quotes. It might be confusing in 
certain situations if we were to put punctuation from the outer context 
inside the quotes, but not sure if that is a possibility or not.

TBH, I am not sure what we do in Canada, probably a mixture of the US and 
British style, but it is not something I recall encountering before, so I just 
assumed it was a typo, and not intentional.

***************************************************************

From: John Barnes
Sent: Thursday, September 10, 2020  4:33 PM

O dear. For perhaps forty years I have been trying to persuade Tuck that 
putting your commas inside quotes is curious.

Excuse me if I have a rant for a bit.

It's a complex historic story I think. It's not simply a UK v US thing -  
it is also time related. British practice was to put the comma before the 
closing quote until perhaps around 1940 or 1950. The US just lagging a bit.
Give it another 100 years.

Without trying to be clever, note that the US has lagged on many of these sort 
of things. Still use Fahrenheit for example. And still use pounds and ounces. 
The only old imperial measures we use are the pint just for milk and beer 
(illegal for anything else). And the mile for distances. Petrol is always sold 
by the litre never the gallon. And the US is stuck with the pre 1824 gallon 
as well.

How did this comma thing arise. It may have been to do with punctuating 
speech. Suppose Bob says

"Oh bother, my compiler is broken"

In a novel, we need to put "Bob said" somewhere. It is foolish to put it at 
the beginning, it makes it harder to read and seems a bit like reading a play.
And we don't want to put it right at the end because with a long speech  we 
need to know who is saying it early on. So aha, break it at a convenient 
place, typically where there is a pause in the speech, such as just after
the comma. Thus we get

"Oh bother," said Bob "my compiler is broken."

So it is not that the comma is in the wrong place, it belongs in the quote, 
it is part of the speech.  Now using quotes for anything other than speeches
must be a very new thing. I suspect that it just got done that way more out of
habit. and the Brits have shaken off the bad habit earlier.

The same sort of change with time occurs with hyphens. In the 1950s, today and 
tomorrow were spelt to-day and to-morrow. Maybe the UK changed before the US. 
Certainly I remember that the Boston Globe spelt teenager with a hyphen thus 
teen-ager.

One thing that has annoyed me is that around 1980, the UK stopped using z in 
words such as optimize and switched to optimise. That was bonkers, no doubt 
influenced by the French.

I have recently started to use a comma with and in a list. I used to write 
"cat, dog and rabbit" but I now write "cat, dog, and rabbit". I remember that
Robert Dewar liked the comma. I have changed to reduce possible ambiguities 
to avoid any implication that dog and rabbit are one thing.

Using the comma before "and" is sometime known as the Oxford comma. Being a 
Cambridge graduate that might have put me off in the past. Anyway, enough of 
this ranting. Please put the comma outside the quotes in lists. 

And incidentally it is not uniform UK practice to use single quotes for 
speech. Some publishers do, some don't.

***************************************************************

From: Tucker Taft
Sent: Thursday, September 10, 2020  4:54 PM

Thanks for clarifying! ;-)

***************************************************************

From: Jeff Cousins
Sent: Thursday, September 10, 2020  5:13 PM

So at least John and I agree there was a time-related change to English 
English. I did once do a trawl of all BAE naval code and everyone used 
-ise endings, not one person used -ize. And on a further tangent, I think 
most people over here are a bit offended when Americans talk about British,
we think of ourselves as English, Scottish, Welsh, or Irish.

***************************************************************

From: Richard Wai
Sent: Thursday, September 10, 2020  5:22 PM

> How did this comma thing arise. It may have been to do with 
> punctuating speech. Suppose Bob says
> 
> "Oh bother, my compiler is broken"
> 
> In a novel, we need to put "Bob said" somewhere. It is foolish to put 
> it at the beginning, it makes it harder to read and seems a bit like 
> reading a play. And we don't want to put it right at the end because 
> with a long speech  we need to know who is saying it early on. So aha, 
> break it at a convenient place, typically where there is a pause in the
> speech, such as just after the comma. Thus we get
> 
> "Oh bother," said Bob "my compiler is broken."

In fact, this is exactly how I was taught! It was no hard-and fast rule. If 
the punctuation was naturally part of what was being quoted, and it also made
sense outside of the quotations, than it should be inside the quotations, as 
above. Otherwise, it would go like this:

Since Bob's "compiler is broken", we cannot not update the binary.

Maybe it has something to do with being Canadian. Here we use metric for 
everything except people's height and weight!

***************************************************************

From: Randy Brukardt
Sent: Thursday, September 10, 2020  6:07 PM

It seems pretty clear what the consensus is here. I will proceed as I always 
have on this, and make the corrections asked for at the meeting.

I'm assuming that Tucker will not insist on a formal AI and vote on this 
topic. It would take twice as long to resolve as Global. ;-)

***************************************************************

From: Edmond Schonberg
Sent: Thursday, September 9, 2020  6:42 PM

> Maybe it has something to do with being Canadian. Here we use metric for 
> everything except people's height and weight!

The French and the French Canadians have detailed rules (of course!) about 
this issue, you can find a full description in

    https://www.btb.termiumplus.gc.ca/tpv2guides/guides/clefsfp/index-fra.html?lang=fra&lettr=indx_catlog_p&page=9CF4N3hwqwVQ.html

to summarize : when quoting some other text, the period goes outside of the 
quotes. However, if the quote ends in a question mark or an exclamation
mark it stays inside (never had to worry abut this in the RM!).

***************************************************************

From: John Barnes
Sent: Friday, September 11, 2020  11:15 AM

> In any case, I was directed to be consistent, and I have been, eliminating 
> that nasty "American" quoting style whenever I find it anywhere in ARG work.
> That was pretty rare until recently; not sure what's changed but there 
> certainly is a lot of it appearing lately.

It may be because we didn't do editorial reviews for a long time and if I 
spotted a rogue comma I would normally have remarked on it'

***************************************************************

From: Tucker Taft
Sent: Friday, September 11, 2020  3:45 PM

> ...
> And on a further tangent, I think most people over here are a bit offended 
> when Americans talk about British, we think of ourselves as English, 
> Scottish, Welsh, or Irish.

Sorry about that!  How about "non-American English"?  Or perhaps "Proper 
English"? ;-)

***************************************************************

From: Pat Rogers
Sent: Friday, September 11, 2020  4:24 PM

> Sorry about that!  How about "non-American English"?  Or perhaps 
> "Proper English"? ;-)

The Queen's English?

***************************************************************

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