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orphica in hp_britglish

Punctuation Question

One thing I've noticed from reading a good bit of HP fan fic (though perhaps all by American authors) is that even those who 'try' to use British English spelling and language/terms, they still punctuate their stories in the American way. I was looking at this website and I realized that I can't remember seeing any fan fic punctuated in this way. I read UK editions of the novels and it was where I first noticed these differences.

Considering I can't recall seeing a fan fic British English punctuated, is this punctuation not used on the internet? (Surely it is not out of date if books are still published with this punctuation, and I'm sure I've read some fics written by British authors) If anyone could point me to some fics they know are punctuated this way, that'd be great!

I suppose the most important question is, if someone from the UK were to read a fic that was punctuated in the American way, but otherwise was pretty flawlessly careful to ensure that no Americanisms or spelling crept in, would you consider this to be an incomplete attempt at 'writing British' or does it not matter?


I'm an English teacher in the UK and this website's version of British punctuation is not the one we teach in schools.

Whilst it is true that many printed books use ' instead of " for speech marks this is a fairly recent practice and does not reflect the way we use punctuation when we write.

I was a bit bewildered by the allegation that that was how we punctuate. It wasn't how I was taught either.

We used to use the " " marks. Now in published stuff we use ' '. However, for handwriting a lot of us still use " " (the old-fashioned way, that most of us learnt to use at school). So, by seeing double quotation marks, I don't automatically assume the author is not British. Just worry about the palcement of punctuation, as that always tend to be a give-away; when reading a book or article that was published in America, the placement of quotation marks in relation to full-stops and commas always makes me squirm.
I also put the punctuation within the quotation marks and that is the method laid down to be taught in schools in England and Wales.
I believe switchknife uses the single quote punctuation.

I've gone back and forth on the issue of how I should do it and from similar discussions elsewhere. I thought this was an american influence, but I've always preferred brit spellings and my mother does the quotes and spelling the same (she was born there and taught brit english, I was born in the US, but learned more from her, which caused me to fail spelling classes for years in grade school, even though I was spellign correctly, just, not american!)

Personally I find the double quotes easier to read, I'm not really sure why that is.
I know double quotes are easier to read for me because I don't get them confused with apostrophes. So they're easier to scan visually:

'To thwart the bolsheviks' nefarious plans, we must take up arms today, not tomorrow.'

My eye connects the apostrophe of the possessive with the first quotation mark. That generally dicks up my concentration, when I encounter the closing quote and have to go back to figure out what went where.

Double quotes is what I learned in English class, despite my teachers being generally read and educated in Britain. My native tongue alternates between using initial dashes with no quotes whatsoever to using guillemets (!).
*peeks at UK-edition of PoA*

Yep, single quotation marks.

But... I have to draw the line somewhere or my brain will explode. I fight to keep out Americanisms, and also to avoid overdoing it by loading my fic with every Anglicism I can dig up. I use a UK-English spellchecker. I've trained myself not to feel quite so painfully self-concious using 'arse' instead of 'ass'. But I'm only human, and not a very good example of the species at that. Unless someone can point me towards some UK-usage punctuation/grammar correction software, I'm just going to use the most correct punctuation I know, and if that means a bit of US influence, well, I'll just have to live with it.
what word processor do you use? in MS word, and I'm sure others, you can define your own grammar rules.
UK books use single quote marks, but newspapers use double quotes. Double quotes are also what you're taught to use when writing - one reason is to ensure that they're not confused with apostrophes.

Also, newspapers will bend the rules of grammar and punctuation for the sake of clarity.

When punctuating quotations, I punctuate inside the quote marks unless it is an incomplete quote, thus:

Hermione said: "That's a ridiculous idea, Harry."


Hermione said to Harry that it was a "ridiculous idea".
UK books use single quote marks, but newspapers use double quotes.

Ah yes, as a journalist, this is why I get confused as to what's actually correct. A lot depends on an individual newspaper's style sheet. I write for the Irish Times - we use double quotation marks, which is what I grew up using for everything - and I can never remember myself what to use in fiction now.
I've always understood that the biggest difference between American and British punctuation rules is that British is more flexible: there are lots of things that depend on context in British English, but which are RIGHT or WRONG in American usage. But I almost never notice the differences, and after eight years on the internet I can't honestly say that I punctuate in a pure British style rather than in a mixed up British/American style.
You know, I never really noticed.

I'm English, and what I notice is words spelt differently and the odd grammatical variation. Punctuation never really bothers me, not unless it's clearly wrong (commas in the middle of words, apostrophes in plurals, etc), or missing altogether.
I am so baffled by this (I'm coming at this from a Brit standpoint). Punctuation always comes inside quotation marks; printed books use single quotes but everybody else uses double in order not to confuse with apostrophes; thoughts would go inside quotes; never any punctuation after a dash, and always a comma:

"That's an idea," he said.
He said, "I really wouldn't do that if I were you."
I'm an American, but I attempt to follow the UK editions of the books in spelling and punctuation, which is why I use ' ' for dialogue. There are a few people in fandom who do likewise (switchknife is one, already mentioned), but I don't know that any of them are British. I think anyone who does it is just following the books.
The only British punctuation I try to pay attention to is the "Mr and Mrs" as opposed to "Mr. and Mrs."

Wow, I'm so confused now. Heh. I've been meaning to ask someone that, too, because I have UK copies of certain things and did notice the quotation mark thing. But I have never ever seen a UK fanfic writer use them. *headdesk*