My friend (David) was writing a paper on Kafka. In the story he was writing about, a character quotes what another character has said. Now David needs to quote this passage. The problem is that introducing a quotation requires 1 set of quotation marks. Then, another is required when the character starts speaking, and a third is needed when he starts quoting. But there are really only 2 types of quotes, double and single. His solution was to make it a block quote, and this avoid the outer set of quotation marks.

This solution works for him, but what happens when this section of his paper gets quoted? To indent another level might work, but it wouldn't scale to more levels of quoting. I propose a different solution: Use an inside-out method.

Here's what I mean:

"I loved the part of Slow River in which Lore says 'kittens should be round' (Griffith, 1995)" (Turner, 1996)

Morrow's commentary on this passage was:
"Turner is a nutcase. Clearly, the line is nothing more than derivative tripe." (Morrow, 1997)

Bester commented on Morrow, saying,
"Morrow's insult of Turner was unprofessional and ignorant." (Bester 1998).

This solution scales to any level of commentary, without an excessive number of parentheses. In practice, it is very similar to the process of converting infix to postfix, and reading it is very much like postfix evaluation.

Uhh, not quite. This is how you do it:

"My best friend said, 'Like, yeah, and so he said, "Quote marks are dumb," like, so he went on and said, "my professor said that, 'John Barth was a bane on editors everywhere.' he said." she said,' my best friend said."

Got it? It's basically alternating " and ' (double and single) quotes. Go ahead and read some of John Barth's stuff, which uses this all the time, for some examples.

Now if only our schools would move away from their Spanish fixation, we could start doing things the German way.

In German, they don't use the foolish methods of quotation that we Americans have arrived at. They start out with a single quote (') and move upwards in number as they move outwards in quote order. Let's say I quote a quote: Jim Bob said, 'Did you hear that Billy Joe said, "Hey, how are you?" to Tammy Sue yesterday?' See? Nice and simple-like.

And this method goes on as long as it needs to. Let's say we need a quote within a quote within a quote within a...ah hell, let's just say that it's possible to end a line with something like "" '" " ' if needbe. Just like tables...but I know you'd never try something like that with tables... Anyway, it certainly is a lot easier than remembering if you're closing a quote from two times ago, or opening a new one, or whatever. Hell, I get confused just thinking about it...

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