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Do I need quotation marks when naming an educational discipline?

For example:

An analysis of the educational discipline "English Language for Professional Purposes" has been conducted.

Or is it correct without them?

An analysis of the educational discipline English Language for Professional Purposes has been conducted.

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    Which is easier to construe? Feb 14, 2020 at 16:55
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    Italicising would also work. Feb 14, 2020 at 17:39
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    Quotes or italics also tell the reader when the title ends. But if the abstract is all italics, doesn't that make it hard to read? Feb 14, 2020 at 17:42
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    '... how it's correct grammatically' No. Grammaticality and correct punctuation are totally separate issues. 'Is it correct to use quotes here?' Yes. And a good idea (though note that some style guides / editors have different preferences). Feb 14, 2020 at 18:00
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    If the rest is italicised, make that part not italicised. Feb 14, 2020 at 18:20

1 Answer 1

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It depends on the discipline: if the discipline were 'mathematics', say, you do not need such quotes because everyone knows that mathematics is a discipline, but if it is some very specific, unfamiliar, and potentially confusingly named discipline then the use of quotes is a way of warning the reader that the words are being used in a special sense.

So, if you wrote "An analysis of making friends and influencing people has been concluded" the reader might not understand that you were referring to an academic discipline with that name. (I am not claiming that such a discipline exists, but all sorts of oddly named disciplines do exist).

But in the specific example quoted, the introductory words "...the educational discipline...' warn the reader that what follows might not be the same as the natural meaning of the words. So quotes are not necessary for removing possible ambiguity or misunderstanding.

But there are style guide issues here too. For all I know, in some institutions it may the custom always to denote academic disciplines by using quotes, or, equally, never to do so.

If there is a relevant style guide follow it, otherwise write in ways that minimise the scope for confusion or misunderstanding on the part of the reader.

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