single quotes

Mark Mandel thnidu at GMAIL.COM
Fri Jun 12 03:16:24 UTC 2009

I use them when quoting something that contains American-style double
quotes, rather than redo all the little flyspecks.

m a m

On Thu, Jun 11, 2009 at 5:58 PM, James Harbeck <jharbeck at>wrote:

> I get (and relay) a lot of jokes by email, and one thing I've noticed
> -- I'm not sure if it's on the increase (I should take the time to go
> through archived emails and look), but it's really quite salient
> currently -- is the dominant use of single quotes for quotations
> rather than double quotes. It's not impossible that all the emails I
> get with single quotes in them came first from England or Australia,
> but, given who's relaying them to me, they are at the very least
> being passed around with single quotes by Canadians and Americans.
> Since many people seem altogether uncertain as to which kind of
> quotes to use where (I encounter a certain amount of business
> documents and emails, which, along with the student essays I used to
> grade, have given me this sense rather clearly), I'm interested to
> see whether use of single quotes for quotations is increasing in
> general, or will increase, in Canada and the US. I'm inclined to
> think that if they do, emailed jokes will be (and have been) a vector
> for this...
> Do my impressions match those of others here?
> James Harbeck.
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

Mark Mandel

The American Dialect Society -

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