Quotes on Punctuation

*  The writer who neglects punctuation, or mispunctuates, is liable to be misunderstood. … For the want of merely a comma, it often occurs that an axiom appears a paradox, or that a sarcasm is converted into a sermonoid.  ~ Edgar Allen Poe

*  Cut out all these exclamation points. An exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke.  ~  F. Scott Fitzgerald

*  No iron can pierce the heart with such force as a period put just at the right place.  ~ Isaac Babel

*  You practically do not use semicolons at all. This is a symptom of mental defectiveness, probably induced by camp life.  ~  George Bernard Shaw

*  Sometimes you get a glimpse of a semicolon coming, a few lines farther on, and it is like climbing a steep path through woods and seeing a wooden bench just at a bend in the road ahead, a place where you can expect to sit for a moment, catching your breath.  ~  Lewis Thomas

*  In the family of punctuation, where the full stop is daddy and the comma is mummy and the semicolon quietly practices the piano with crossed hands, the exclamation mark is the big attention-deficit brother who gets over-excited and breaks things and laughs too loudly.  ~  Lynne Truss

*  A period is a stop sign. A semicolon is a rolling stop sign; a comma is merely an amber light.  ~  Andrew Offutt

*  Used sparingly, the semicolon emphasizes your crucial contrasts; used recklessly, it merely clutters your page.  ~  Sheridan Baker

*  If the semicolon is one of the neglected children in the family of punctuation marks these days, told to stay in its room and entertain itself, because mummy and daddy are busy, the apostrophe is the abused victim.  ~  John Humphrys

*  From now on, ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put.  ~  Winston Churchill

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Quotes on Spelling

*  My spelling is Wobbly. It’s good spelling but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places.  ~  A. A. Milne

*  I don’t give a damn for a man that can only spell a word one way.  ~  Mark Twain

*  When our spelling is perfect, it’s invisible. But when it’s flawed, it prompts strong negative associations.  ~  Marilyn vos Savant

*  A synonym is a word you use when you can’t spell the word you first thought of.  ~  Burt Bacharach

*  Take care that you never spell a word wrong. Always before you write a word, consider how it is spelled, and, if you do not remember, turn to a dictionary. It produces great praise to a lady to spell well.  ~  Thomas Jefferson to his daughter

*  Correct spelling, indeed, is one of the arts that are far more esteemed by school ma’ams than by practical men, neck-deep in the heat and agony of the world.  ~  Henry Louis Mencken

*  … the English alphabet is pure insanity…, It can hardly spell any word in the language with any degree of certainty.  ~  Mark Twain

*  The English have no respect for their language, and will not teach their children to speak it. They spell it so abominably that no man can teach himself what it sounds like. It is impossible for an Englishman to open his mouth without making some other Englishman hate or despise him. German and Spanish are accessible to foreigners: English is not accessible even to Englishmen.  ~   George Bernard Shaw

And here’s a nice one on English spelling – attributed to Oscar Wilde

If GH can stand for P as in Hiccough
If OUGH stands for O as in Dough
If PHTH stands for T as in Phthisis
If EIGH stands for A as in Neighbor
If TTE stands for T as in Gazette
If EAU stands for O as in Plateau

The right way to spell POTATO should be: GHOUGHPHTHEIGHTTEEAU!

What do you have to say of the English spelling?

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Quotes on Poetry by Poets

*  Poetry is a deal of joy and pain and wonder, with a dash of the dictionary.  ~ Khalil Gibran

*  Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.  ~ Carl Sandburg

*  Poetry is plucking at the heartstrings, and making music with them.  ~ Dennis Gabor

*  Poetry is boned with ideas, nerved and blooded with emotions, all held together by the delicate, tough skin of words.  ~ Paul Engle

*  Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.  ~ Robert Frost

*  Poetry is an orphan of silence. The words never quite equal the experience behind them.  ~ Charles Simic

*  Poetry lifts the veil from the hidden beauty of the world, and makes familiar objects be as if they were not familiar.  ~ Percy Bysshe Shelley

*  Poetry should be great and unobtrusive, a thing which enters into one’s soul, and does not startle it or amaze it with itself, but with its subject.  ~ John Keats

*  Poetry is the revelation of a feeling that the poet believes to be interior and personal which the reader recognizes as his own.  ~ Salvatore Quasimodo

*  A poem should not mean but be.  ~ Archibald MacLeish

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Punctuation – Inside or Outside Quotation Marks

There is general confusion on the use of punctuation with quotation marks. Should the punctuation be inside or outside quotation marks? The confusion is understandable since it is seen written both ways – inside and outside. So, which is correct? The answer is – both. Here’s why –

According to the American style, the commas and periods (or full stops) always go inside the quotation marks. For example:

“Sam,” he said, “your dinner’s on the table.”

I like Shakespeare’s line “to be or not to be.”

So, the American rule is – always place the comma and the period inside the quotation marks.

In the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth countries where there is British influence, it’s different. Here instead of following a rule, logic is used. In other words, the placement of the comma or period depends on whether it belongs to the quotation or to the sentence that contains the quotation. For instance in the examples above, the first example remains as it is –

“Sam,” he said, “your dinner’s on the table.”

This is because the comma after the Sam and the period after the table belong to the quote.

The second example, however, changes to

I like Shakespeare’s line “to be or not to be”.

The reason for the change here is that the period belongs to the complete sentence and not the quoted material.

So, the British rule is – place the comma and period inside the quotation marks if they are part of the quoted material, otherwise place them outside.

But the rules for the question mark, exclamation mark, colon and semicolon are the same in both the American and British systems.

The question and exclamation marks follow the rule of logic – they are placed inside the quotation marks if they are part of the quoted material , otherwise outside. For example:

She asked, “Am I late?”

He screamed, “Help!”

But –

Did you hear him say “I don’t want to go”?

I can’t believe he said “I am scared”!

The colon and semicolon are always placed outside the quotation marks. For example:

I found three things in the new magazine “The World Today”: quality, information, and attractiveness.

The guard said “Stop”; I stopped.

Do you know of any other rules pertaining to punctuation and quotation marks?

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Humorous Quotes

For a change, here are some quotes by writers that I found quite humorous:

* I am the literary equivalent of a Big Mac and Fries.  ~  Stephen King

* In literature as in love, we are astonished at what is chosen by others.  ~  Andre Maurois

* NOVEL, n. A short story padded…  ~  Ambrose Bierce

* Journalism largely consists in saying “Lord Jones Dead” to people who never knew that Lord Jones was alive.  ~  G.K. Chesterton

* A stupid man’s report of what a clever man says is never accurate because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand.  ~  Bertrand Russell

* I have been commissioned to write an autobiography and I would be grateful to any of your readers who could tell me what I was doing between 1960 and 1974. ~  Jeffrey Bernard

* My main reason for adopting literature as a profession was that, as the author is never seen by his clients, he need not dress respectably. ~  George Bernard Shaw

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New Year Quotes

Hello, Friends.  Hope the festive season is keeping you healthy and happy. Here things have been extremely busy. I’ve hardly had time to post anything. But I promise to make up for all the lost time as soon as the new year begins … uh, is that a new year resolution? Well, sort of.

Talking of new year, here are some interesting quotes on the new year:

*  Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man.  ~ Benjamin Franklin

*  New Year’s Day is every man’s birthday.  ~ Charles Lamb

*  Never tell your resolution beforehand, or it’s twice as onerous a duty.  ~ John Selden

*  Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.           ~  Alfred, Lord Tennyson

*  New Year’s Day:  Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions.  Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.  ~ Mark Twain

*  For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make beginning.                   ~ T.S. Eliot

*  Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account.  ~ Oscar Wilde

*  One resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this:  To rise above the little things.  ~ John Burroughs

*  May all your troubles last as long as your New Year’s resolutions.  ~ Joey Adams

*  A happy New Year! Grant that I
May bring no tear to any eye
When this New Year in time shall end
Let it be said I’ve played the friend,
Have lived and loved and labored here,
And made of it a happy year.                                ~ Edgar Guest

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Quotes on Grammar

Some interesting quotes on grammar:

*  I never made a mistake in grammar but one in my life and as soon as I done it I seen it.  ~ Carl Sandburg

*   Only in grammar can you be more than perfect.  ~ William Safire

*  English usage is sometimes more than mere taste, judgement, and education — Sometimes it’s sheer luck, like getting across the street.  ~ E. B. White

*  American grammar doesn’t have the sturdiness of British grammar, but it has its own scruffy charm.  ~ Stephen King

*  When I split an infinitive, god damn it, I split it so it stays split.  ~ Raymond Chandler

*  Do not be surprised when those who ignore the rules of grammar also ignore the law.  After all, the law is just so much grammar.  ~ Robert Brault

*  Grammar is a piano I play by ear. All I know about grammar is its power.  ~ Joan Didion

*  It is well to remember that grammar is common speech formulated.  ~ William Somerset Maugham

*  I will not go down to posterity talking bad grammar.  ~ Benjamin Disraeli

* Grammar: n. A system of pitfalls thoughtfully prepared for the feet for the self-made man, along the path by which he advances to distinction.  ~ Ambrose Bierce

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