1

I'm trying my hand at editing a friends work, and I've got a little stumped.

They wrote the following:

'Thinks he's the smartest one in the room,' Henry wrote on a piece of paper.

(For context, when they write dialogue they use double quotation marks.)

So, on a piece of paper, Henry has written the words: "Thinks he's the smartest one in the room."

My initial thought was that the single quotation marks are incorrect. (Though I might be wrong about this.) I can only think of two alternative ways to go, and I don't know which of these three options would be correct:

  1. Single quotation marks (as my friend has):

    'Thinks he's the smartest one in the room,' Henry wrote on a piece of paper.

  2. Double quotation marks:

    "Thinks he's the smartest one in the room," Henry wrote on a piece of paper.

  3. Italics:

    Thinks he's the smartest one in the room, Henry wrote on a piece of paper.

Generally, I'd think to use double quotation marks for quoting words. However, I feel that that would make it look and read too much like dialogue--especially because there's a conversation happening around the line.

A reason I'm leaning towards the italics is because, even though "Thinks he's the smartest one in the room" is a quote, it's also a thought that Henry's having. If it was "Henry thought" instead of "Henry wrote" then I'd know to use italics.

So, am I to use single quotes, double quotes, or italics in this situation? Or something else? Or is it just a matter of style?

3

I too would recommend italics. Also, I'd avoiding single quotes as I find things can get a bit confusing if there are apostrophes in the material.

  • In the UK I believe the convention is to use single quotes for dialog and double quotes for in quote quote (I think that sentence makes sense). I.E. the reverse of how it's done here in the US. – Artsoccer Nov 20 '18 at 3:49
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It's usually just a matter of style. I'd use italics, but it honestly doesn't matter (but you shouldn't use single quotation marks like that in the US, that's normally done in Britain).
One example I have is with thoughts. Some use italics, some use quotes, and some write it like:

I hate this, thought Bob.

It's all just a matter of style.

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