Quotations Exercise (485)

Revise each sentence to indicate correct use of quotation marks.

Answers and Explanations

1.
Original: Was it Stevenson who said that, "the cruelest lies are often told in silence"?
Correct : Was it Stevenson who said that "the cruelest lies are often told in silence"?

When the lead-in to a direct quotation ends in that or as, no comma is needed.

2.
Original: "At the height of the Arab Spring," Jones said, he started an underground civil-society organization in the hopes of sparking the kind of change in Gambia that was sweeping through Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya.
Correct : At the height of the Arab Spring, Jones said, he started an underground civil-society organization in the hopes of sparking the kind of change in Gambia that was sweeping through Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya.

Placing a partial quotation within the grammatical structure of a paraphrase to form a statement that was not actually uttered but accurately reflects the speaker’s intention is appropriate, but here, the quoted material is not distinctive, so the entire statement should be treated as a paraphrase.

3.
Original: In America, by contrast, "You see great people in politics or with money get their comeuppance because they did something to the little person," Smith explained.
Correct : In America, by contrast, "you see great people in politics or with money get their comeuppance because they did something to the little person," Smith explained.

When a partial or a full quotation is grammatically integrated with a paraphrase constituting the head of the sentence, as here, the quotation is treated as an incomplete sentence even if it is complete in isolation, and the first word is not capitalized unless it’s a proper name.

4.
Original: The building likely would be razed due to what he called "unrepairable damage."
Correct : The building likely would be razed due to what he called irreparable damage.

It’s unclear why a reporter chose to use direct quotes around the two-word phrase, but it’s likely because "unrepairable" is not a standard word and the reporter wanted to indicate that he or she was merely reporting that part of the source’s comment verbatim. However, it would be better to simply omit the quotation marks and use the proper wording as part of the paraphrase.

5.
Original: "This city is an amazing place with terrific weather, job opportunities and this project is located in a prime area," she added.
Correct : "This city is an amazing place with terrific weather and job opportunities, and this project is located in a prime area," she added.

Because the original sentence is grammatically flawed, but only minimally, silent correction (revising a direct quote without acknowledging the changes) is a simple solution. For those who believe that such alteration is ethically inappropriate, paraphrase is an alternative: "He cited the city’s pleasant climate and abundant job opportunities and the site’s prime location as factors in the project’s appeal" (without quotation marks).

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