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I'm not sure if I should leave out quotation marks in names of events. Should it be:

Choir competitions “Legnica Cantat”, “Canti Veris Praga”, “IFAS Pardubice”, “Advent and Christmas Music Festival Praga”, “Folk Festival” in Bratislava, “Tonen 2000 International Choir Festival” and the International Choir Festival "Per Musicam ad Astra" in Toruń, among others.

or

Choir competitions Canti Veris Praga, IFAS Pardubice, Advent and Christmas Music Festival Praga, Folk Festival in Bratislava, Tonen 2000 International Choir Festival and the International Choir Festival Per Musicam ad Astra in Toruń, among others.

One more example: International Festival of University Choirs "Universitas Cantat" or International Festival of University Choirs Universitas Cantat? I'm confused, because it seems like leaving it without some quotation marks blurs the difference between a title of an event (Universitas Cantat) and the features of the festival (International Festival of University Choirs). What do you think about?

I found one source which openly forbids inverted commas in such circumstances (here is the link https://www.wmich.edu/writing/punctuation/quotationmarks), other style guides focus on book titles, names of academic papers etc. I hope you can help me resolve this problem.

Thanks in advance,

Mariusz.

  • Which version shows the names more clearly (contrast “Advent and Christmas Music Festival", Praga, “Folk Festival in Bratislava")? Don't assume people are familiar with these names. And find a different style guide (that's guide, not book of the law) unless you're at Western Michigan University. – Edwin Ashworth Apr 14 '14 at 22:00
  • Hi, Edwin. I don't agree with what they say on Western Michigan University's page. I understand that you'd recommend using quotation marks for the sake of clarity, is that correct? – Mariusz Listewnik Apr 14 '14 at 22:14
  • I do not know what the 'official' rule is for this, but the option with quotation marks is certainly easier to read and understand. – badpanda Apr 14 '14 at 22:15
  • Yes, U72. Someone will doubtless have the unshakeable opinion that italics should be used, forgetting that some people still use pens and are not criminals for so doing. Punctuation is here to be useful not to add to the problems of communication. I can't see that marking off the names with quotes can introduce more problems than not using them causes (Folk Festival in Bratislava: is that “Folk Festival in Bratislava" or “Folk Festival” in Bratislava?) – Edwin Ashworth Apr 14 '14 at 22:22
  • Thanks! It seems that the key lesson here is using common sense and looking at the problem from a reader's perspective. I agree that misunderstandings may occur with 'run-on proper names'. – Mariusz Listewnik Apr 14 '14 at 23:29
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I'm assuming this is for a CV, based on the examples you've given. If it's for academic work, follow Andy256's advice and use an academic style guide.

Andy is also correct that the function is what is important. In your first example, you have a list of items. I would clarify that list with three small tweaks.

1) Add a colon between the introductory text and the list and an Oxford comma before the last list entry. This sets off the list; each list entry then becomes more clearly independent.

2) Change the Bratislava entry. "Folk Festival" in English is a generic term, not a title.

3) Use quotation marks only where you need to distinguish between two types of description in a single list entry; here, this is only for the last entry.

This leaves you with:

Choir competitions: Legnica Cantat, Canti Veris Praga, IFAS Pardubice, Advent and Christmas Music Festival Praga, Bratislava Folk Festival, Tonen 2000 International Choir Festival, and the International Choir Festival "Per Musicam ad Astra" in Toruń, among others.

  • Hi, you were right about the CV. The excerpt looks so much better now. Thank you! Now I understand how it works. – Mariusz Listewnik Apr 15 '14 at 21:04
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The purpose of punctuation is to break text into chunks of meaning. Using the quotes does that in your example. One other option is italics, which in handwriting is shown as underlined text, but your example would not become clearer. A third option is to rewrite the text so that the competitions are a list of points.

The purpose of a style guide is to give you a framework that you can apply consistently to help you convey your message clearly. You have to understand it, and apply it to your message. There can always be cases that fall outside of the style guide, and that's where your understanding of the rest of the framework helps.

If your are writing a piece for academic assessment you should seek advice from the academic concerned.

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