mailing list archives
Re: [OT] Re: can a brother get some disclosure?
From: Valdis.Kletnieks () vt edu
Date: Wed, 25 Jan 2006 13:47:06 -0500
On Wed, 25 Jan 2006 12:14:51 CST, Kevin Ponds said:
On 1/25/06, Tim <tim-security () sentinelchicken org> wrote:
Did you mean "grammar"?
The ? should go inside the quotation marks.
That's actually debatable, and tends to be an American-only usage. Many tech
writers put the question mark *outside*, specifically to avoid the issue of
disambiguating a ? that belongs to the sentence, versus a ? that's part of a
8-glyph literal string "grammar?".
"Hackers tend to use quotes as balanced delimiters like parentheses, much to
the dismay of American editors. Thus, if "Jim is going" is a phrase, and so are
"Bill runs" and "Spock groks", then hackers generally prefer to write: "Jim is
going", "Bill runs", and "Spock groks". This is incorrect according to standard
American usage (which would put the continuation commas and the final period
inside the string quotes); however, it is counter-intuitive to hackers to
mutilate literal strings with characters that don't belong in them. Given the
sorts of examples that can come up in discussions of programming,
American-style quoting can even be grossly misleading. When communicating
command lines or small pieces of code, extra characters can be a real pain in
Consider, for example, a sentence in a vi tutorial that looks like this:
Then delete a line from the file by typing "dd".
Standard usage would make this
Then delete a line from the file by typing "dd."
but that would be very bad - because the reader would be prone to type the
string d-d-dot, and it happens that in vi(1), dot repeats the last command
accepted. The net result would be to delete two lines!
The Jargon File follows hackish usage throughout.
Interestingly, a similar style is now preferred practice in Great Britain,
though the older style (which became established for typographical reasons
having to do with the aesthetics of comma and quotes in typeset text) is still
accepted there. Hart's Rules and the Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors
call the hacker-like style 'new' or 'logical' quoting. This returns British
English to the style many other languages (including Spanish, French, Italian,
Catalan, and German) have been using all along."
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