Quotations Exercise (714)

For each sentence, revise the sentence as necessary to reflect correct capitalization and punctuation as well as positioning of quotation marks.

Answers and Explanations

1.
Original: They decided to make the movie because, "The crazy housing situation in the Bay Area is all we talked about and all anyone we know talked about."
Correct : They decided to make the movie because "the crazy housing situation in the Bay Area is all we talked about and all anyone we know talked about."

Just as no punctuation would interrupt the flow of this sentence if there was no quotation, the comma is an intrusive error. Also, because the quotation (though originally a complete sentence) has been integrated into the framing sentence, its first word should not be capitalized.

2.
Original: He referred to it as "nostalgia for the childhood he wished he’d had."
Correct : He referred to it as nostalgia for the childhood he wished he’d had.

The person referred to as "he" would not have referred to himself in the third person, so the quotation should be paraphrased. Another solution is silent correction (changing the writer’s erroneous version of what the speaker said to what the person likely said), which is acceptable if one doesn’t alter the meaning of what the person wrote: "He referred to it as ‘nostalgia for the childhood I wished I’d had.’"

3.
Original: John Smith tweeted that, "So much for religion when it comes to saving their own skin."
Correct : John Smith tweeted, "So much for religion when it comes to saving their own skin."

"That" is appropriate after an attribution for a quotation only when the quotation, as in the first example in this set, is folded into the framing sentence. Here, it is incorrect, because this quotation cannot be incorporated grammatically into the sentence.

4.
Original: According to the newsletter, the organization had made "Great strides in developing sound strategies for giving soldiers extra support after returning from a combat zone."
Correct : According to the newsletter, the organization had made "great strides in developing sound strategies for giving soldiers extra support after returning from a combat zone."

Here, a partial quotation (which, unlike the two similar examples above, was not originally a complete sentence before being inserted in the framing sentence) is erroneously capitalized.

5.
Original: She added that, "if the soldier doesn’t seek help, the family might" after attending the event.
Correct : She added that "if the soldier doesn’t seek help, the family might" after attending the event.

Just as in the third example above, the comma interrupts integration of a quotation into a framing sentence. The sentence would also be improved by moving the modifying phrase from after the quotation to before it: "She added that, after attending the event, ‘if the soldier doesn’t seek help, the family might.’"

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