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Grammar help! - Lissa's Glade
Beneath the Trees
Grammar help!
Two grammar questions

"She had no sooner thought it then/than her hand was..."


How the hell do you triple-nest quotes?
22 thoughts : Have a thought?
maxxtx From: maxxtx Date: March 24th, 2009 02:37 am (UTC) (Link)
I do believe it's THAN

And I don't know the official way to triple nest but [Quote] "'quote'" [Unquote] is as close as I can think to being correct off the top of my head.
lissa_dora From: lissa_dora Date: March 24th, 2009 02:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. :-)
sad1225 From: sad1225 Date: March 24th, 2009 06:10 am (UTC) (Link)

I had always thought that "than" was for general comparison and "then" was for time sequence. (I'm not doubting you at all, my grammar skills are barely passable - I'm just asking)
thecamoninja From: thecamoninja Date: March 24th, 2009 02:49 am (UTC) (Link)
How the hell do you triple-nest quotes?

-- the fact that this comes up scares me more than any (insert number here) negative I have every seen, spoken, or otherwise been a party to.
lissa_dora From: lissa_dora Date: March 24th, 2009 02:58 am (UTC) (Link)
thecamoninja From: thecamoninja Date: March 24th, 2009 04:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Not that I can't see it happening, but it just seems like the limit as to how far that particular chain can go.

Now, negatives, i've strung together an impressive number of... but, being a math major, i'm more comfortable with repeated negation than i am with repeated quotes.

English hurts my head?
jmkiru From: jmkiru Date: March 24th, 2009 03:26 am (UTC) (Link)
I believe than is correct, but I'd wager it's the kind of correct no one would notice if you went the other way.

And you can't triple nest quotes, it's too dangerous - seriously, we're talking like a rip in space-time or dividing by zero; you just don't mess with that. Ever seen a flashback within a flashback? Same thing, only they didn't heed the warnings, and look what happened.
thecamoninja From: thecamoninja Date: March 24th, 2009 04:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Dividing by zero does cause a rip in space time.

I remember hearing about a mathematician that did it once. He almost (and i'm serious about this) screwed the number system beyond repair.
lissa_dora From: lissa_dora Date: March 24th, 2009 03:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
A flashback within a flashback? Damn, now I'm gonna have to do that (and, yes, it's called Mary Shelly's Frankenstein)

Or a vision within a vision?
digaazthehated From: digaazthehated Date: March 24th, 2009 03:30 am (UTC) (Link)
I would have to disagree, I think it is 'then', simply because... well, I don't know. Maybe I just want to be different/difficult.

I don't understand what you mean by triple-nest quotes.... Elaborate?
lissa_dora From: lissa_dora Date: March 24th, 2009 03:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
As discussed below by eruvanna.
eruvanna From: eruvanna Date: March 24th, 2009 04:02 am (UTC) (Link)

This suggests then

And this from Wikipedia:
Quotations within quotations
When a quotation includes another quotation (and so on), start with double quote marks outermost, and, working inward, alternate single with double quote marks. The following example has three levels of quotation: "She disputed his statement that 'Voltaire never said "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."'" Adjacent quote marks, as at the end of this example, can be difficult to read (e.g.: "'") unless kerned apart slightly with CSS; the {{" '}}, {{' "}} and {{" ' "}} templates will accomplish this; the example above is output by ...your right to say it.{{" ' "}} in edit space.

lissa_dora From: lissa_dora Date: March 24th, 2009 11:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Neat, thanks!

I'll fix that before I post it then.
qlipoth From: qlipoth Date: March 24th, 2009 01:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Although this is technically correct, I would suggest you use the media you're publishing in, and make use of italics for the internal level and make things easier on the reader.
lissa_dora From: lissa_dora Date: March 24th, 2009 03:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
So like...

" ' Smile and say thank you,' " she quoted back at him.

Spaces added for visual clarity here.
qlipoth From: qlipoth Date: March 24th, 2009 03:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
I suppose, but in that case, I don't think any of the extra quotes are needed.


"What did he say to you?" Bob asked
"Smile and say thank you."

double level of quotes:

"So then he came up to me and punched me in the stomach. The next thing out of his mouth was unbelievable: 'Smile and say thank You.'"

I wouldn't triple-level that at all, but then again I wouldn't double-level the following.

"smile and say thank you," he said, grinning.

I MIGHT go as far as:

"Smile and saythank you, he dais, grinning.

But probably not.

I don't believe that quotes need proper punctuation any more than they need proper grammar. Both the punctuation and grammar need to accurately represent how the person said it. If it doesn't serve to increase that understanding, it's just grammar nazi service.

I frequently use quotes like this, which drive GN's nuts:

"I... uh.. well.. thought you're gonna' flip out or somethin' about my grammar."
lissa_dora From: lissa_dora Date: March 24th, 2009 04:38 pm (UTC) (Link)

Game Nutter?

Oh, grammarnazi. See, I'd think that one was entirely correct... in the context in which it was used.

I guess I could take quotes out of the original (when he said it) so that when she quotes it back at her, there's no nesting. Well, less nesting.
eseme From: eseme Date: March 24th, 2009 01:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes! I was going to say, alternate single and double quotes. Yay, I feel learned!
logic_free_mind From: logic_free_mind Date: March 24th, 2009 11:29 am (UTC) (Link)
It would be effected by the context too. But, in this case I would have to go with 'than' also.

Normally in this case I'd swap the word order to double-check...

Turn "She had no sooner thought it,than her hand was..." into No sooner had she thought it, than her hand was..."

also using 'then' with 'had' kinda makes my tense alarms start to twitch.
lizreay From: lizreay Date: March 24th, 2009 03:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
Than, and don't. :)
lissa_dora From: lissa_dora Date: March 24th, 2009 03:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Aaaw.... but what if I want to?

Thanks, I knew I could count on you!

Edited at 2009-03-24 03:22 pm (UTC)
sad1225 From: sad1225 Date: March 25th, 2009 05:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was pretty confused about the then/than thing so I did a google search.

Of the first six results, all have something similar to this:

Than, a conjunction, is used to compare things.
Then, an adverb, is used with descriptions of time.
• Then, suddenly, Mr. Perez shouted, “I’m a better diver than you’ll ever be!”
• I think she looks dangerously skinny, but then, what do I know?


I did find this slight caveat though:

Most careful writers, however, will insist that than be used as a conjunction; it's as if part of the clause introduced by than has been left out:

He's taller and somewhat more handsome than I [am handsome].
You can play better than he [can play].
In formal, academic text, you should probably use than as a conjunction and follow it with the subject form of a pronoun (where a pronoun is appropriate).



Unfortunately, "Elements of Style" and "Style" are silent on this one.

Short answer?
use then
22 thoughts : Have a thought?