About Hal’s Quotes & Notes: Typography

skip to content

Q&N introduction:
index pages
topical chains
page data

Index pages:

Quotes from plays identify the speaker, as in the script. Most stage directions are omitted. Comic-strip dialogue, being equally dramatic, receives the same treatment. In other material, I use the appropriate quotation marks when a character is speaking, but don’t add any identification of the speaker.

I try to follow source spelling, punctuation, and emphasis (except where otherwise noted). Bold face, italics, larger and smaller text sizes usually imitate corresponding effects in the sources. When an entire quote comes from within an italicized passage, I skip the italics because they are harder to read online.

My practices have changed as the collection, and my awareness of potential ambiguities, developed. Treatment of quotation marks, ellipses, paragraphing, and other enhancements varies, although I am attempting to reverify and correct my files against the sources wherever possible, and to document these changes in typography notes.

Quotation marks

Contextual quotation marks are shown, even if, in the source, they appear outside the scope of the quote.

I started out using the ASCII quotation marks, which lack any distinction between left- and right-hand versions, except where a large font (as in titles, and some poetry) made the difference readily apparent. I thought the HTML encoding (six characters for one) required to make the distinction too wasteful. Because available space seems to be increasing faster than this collection, I have begun to move in the other direction.

I do try to follow the source conventions; it’s often possible to tell from single or double quotation marks whether I am using a U.S. edition or a U.K. or Canadian import.

Although I continue to list titles of long works (novels, full-length plays, etc.) in italics, I no longer use quotation marks around the titles of shorter works, except where the context requires them for clarity.


I have used ellipses to indicate my own editing of quotes. Some sources use them as well; the combination can be confusing and imprecise. I now surround my own ellipses with brackets like this [...] to indicate they are not the author’s; ambiguities remain in older, unchecked parts of the collection.

I add an ellipsis (with the brackets, of course!) when I begin a quote in the middle of a sentence. In drama files, the ellipsis is added if a quote begins in the middle of a speech. Again, these are newer practices, which cannot be relied on in older, unchecked material.


On material that’s been checked recently, if I indent the beginnings of paragraphs, it is possible to tell (by the indentation’s absence) if the quote begins in the middle of a paragraph.

Typography notes

Some material has been reverified against the sources, or has been transcribed under my newer, more careful practices. Some carries over earlier approaches. Details are documented – if at all! – by a link from the foot of the table of quotes, to an entry in the typography notes. If there’s no such note, the typography is unreliable.

top of page

Background graphic copyright © 2005 by Hal Keen