to italicize or not to italicize...

Jane McGary
Tue, 16 Sep 2008 17:54:51 PDT
Roger asked,

> > Cultivar names are roman and enclosed in single quotes
>Single quotes 'like this' or primes 'like this'?
>For some reason I have a faint memory that it's primes, not true quote marks.

It is single quotes, which appear as vertical ticks in some typefaces and 
as curved ones in other typefaces (the latter are called "smart quotes" 
because they reverse depending on which end of the word they are placed 
at). There are also other kinds of vertical ticks, including what Roger is 
calling "primes," and the usually slanting similar marks used for "minutes" 
in the geographical sense.

To respond to Iain's comments on what variety of English spelling and 
punctuation one should use in a publication with an international audience, 
this normally is determined by the publisher. I edit for both Oxford and 
Cambridge university presses, and authors are often surprised that for 
their books and journals published out of New York, they prescribe American 
rules. However, Oxford now publishes the Grove arts reference books, and 
for those we have to use British conventions.

This may remind many of you of things that drove you crazy in high school 
English classes, but if we didn't have stylesheets, we could not get our 
texts proofread.


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