In correcting a non-native speaker's English, I'm not quite sure what to do with the expressions in quotes below. Should they be capitalized, as they are below, or should they begin with lower case letters?

I already heard the correct expressions were "Thank you for talking to me" or "Thank you for talking with me."

I'm unsure because the function of the quotation marks here isn't really to quote what someone said or might say, but merely to demarcate the expressions from the rest of the sentence and each other.

  • Generic convention is not to capitalize such quotations within sentences. You can get a practical idea if you see how the members here are writing their answers and comments to various questions on this website. May 26 '17 at 22:37
  • Where a quote is obviously the start of a sentence (or even a complete utterance), a capital letter is usual. I'd also add a comma in the first quote similar to the full stop in the second.
    – Andrew Leach
    May 27 '17 at 8:25
  • Yes, where a quote is obviously the start of a sentence (or even a complete utterance), a capital letter is usual. I would not add a comma in the first quote… Jun 18 '17 at 20:08
  • Be aware that there are doubtless older books giving different diktats on punctuation. And that modern style guides probably don't agree among themselves either. Aug 17 '17 at 22:36

I would prefer these uncapitalised, though I think it is a matter of style and others may have different preferences.

I think the grammar is slightly wrong. Either "or" should be replaced with the word "and", or "the correct expressions were" should be replaced with "the correct expression was". The latter substitution is my preferred one.

  • Hello, rjpond. Though your answer may contain good advice, ELU prefers answers which are backed up by some reasonable reference/s, even if they are only style guides. Opinion is not sufficient in an answer. Aug 17 '17 at 22:20

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