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E.g.

I am writing about a book and I am quoting the author on how he reacted on Nov 8.

Is

He hugged an "FT columnist, a fellow bruised, battered and besieged liberal-minded metrosexual, and therefore the nearest thing [he] could find to family".

or

He hugged "an FT columnist, a fellow bruised, battered and besieged liberal-minded metrosexual, and therefore the nearest thing [he] could find to family".

more preferable?

Edit: to make it clear why I am putting the phrase in quotes.

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  • 1
    It depends on what's being quoted. Here, the use of quotation marks at all looks strange. Why are they being used in the first place? Oct 30, 2018 at 18:26
  • Are these "scare quotes"? Oct 30, 2018 at 19:01
  • As Jason and Michael say: if it’s a quote, the marks go around the entire quoted material but no more. If it’s a scare quite, then it doesn’t matter, and it’s up to you. There is no rule to follow or contravene.
    – Dan Bron
    Oct 30, 2018 at 19:06
  • The edit is cooperative, thank you, but the advice is the same. Did the word “an” come from the source? If so, you most quote it. If not, you must not quote it.
    – Dan Bron
    Oct 30, 2018 at 20:02
  • It is included in the source. From what I gather this is just a matter of personal preference.
    – superato
    Oct 30, 2018 at 20:15

1 Answer 1

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You can quote any part you choose, and replace the rest with your own words.

Your own words can be identical to the author's words - but I believe it is customary (and fair) to attribute them to the original in such case.

Therefore your sentence should be:

He "hugged an FT columnist, a fellow bruised, battered and besieged liberal-minded metrosexual, and therefore the nearest thing [he] could find to family".


To answer the question as asked: I believe it is a matter of style. Personally, I would find it jarring to separate the article from the following noun, so I would choose:

He embraced "an FT columnist, a fellow bruised, battered and besieged liberal-minded metrosexual, and therefore the nearest thing [he] could find to family".

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