Quotations (§9.2.2)

Quote marks

The <q> element provides a language‐independent way of specifying quotations.

A visual Web browser must produce quotation marks at the beginning and end of the <q> element. Depending on its capabilities, it could use curly left and right quotes instead of straight ASCII quote marks. It could also use different quote marks appropriate to the text’s language (for example, guillemets in French documents).

Authors can recommend which quote marks <q> should use through style sheets. In CSS level 2, the quotes style description specifies which characters to use.

XHTML 2.0: The W3C is considering replacing <q> with a <quote> element in XHTML 2.0. The difference between them is that <quote> would not generate quotation marks like <q> does. Web browsers that do not support <quote> would still render the quotation marks in the content.

Example:

This document has style rules specifying language‐dependent renderings for quotation marks, to various depths:

:lang(en-gb) { quotes: "\2018" "\2019" "\201C" "\201D" }
:lang(en-us),
:lang(es) { quotes: "\201C" "\201D" "\2018" "\2019" }
:lang(fr) { quotes: "\2009" "\2009" "\201C" "\201D" "\2018" "\2019" }
:lang(de) { quotes: "\201E" "\201C" "\201A" "\2018" }
:lang(it) { quotes: "" "" "\2039" "\203A" }
:lang(no) { quotes: "" "" "\2018" "\2019" }

These paragraphs declare the language of their contents. Each should invoke the style rule for that language and set the quotation marks appropriately:

<p><q>What is this thing called <q>love</q>?</q></p>
<p lang="es"><q>Cul es esta cosa llamada <q>amor</q>?</q></p>
<p lang="fr"><q>Qu&rsquo;est&#8208;ce que c&rsquo;est que <q>l&rsquo;amour</q>?</q></p>
<p lang="de"><q>Was ist dies Ding, das man <q>Liebe</q> nennt?</q></p>
<p lang="it"><q>Che cosa questa cosa chiamata <q>amore</q>?</q></p>

It should be rendered similar to this:

“What is this thing called ‘love’?”

“Cul es esta cosa llamada ‘amor’?”

« Qu’est‐ce que c’est que “l’amour”? »

„Was ist dies Ding, das man ‚Liebe‘ nennt?“

«Che cosa  questa cosa chiamata ‹amore›?»

Your Web browser renders it like this:

What is this thing called love?

Cul es esta cosa llamada amor?

Qu’est‐ce que c’est que l’amour?

Was ist dies Ding, das man Liebe nennt?

Che cosa questa cosa chiamata amore?

Feel free to send me translations and the quote conventions for other languages, to add to the above example.

Related Mozilla bug reports: Nested-Quotes, Default-Quotes.

Related Konqueror bug reports: #29576.

Related Internet Explorer bug reports: Channel9 Wiki: Internet Explorer Standards Support.

Source citations

The cite attribute of the <q> and <blockquote> elements is intended to give information about the source from which the quotation was borrowed, according to the standard. It could be used to link to a quotation’s source or to other information about it.

Some Web browsers allow you to access the source of the quotation by clicking on the quotation or selecting an option from a context menu.

Example:

This block quotation cites the URL of its source:

<blockquote cite="//www.geocities.com/~rosemarylake/stories/ft-frogmanor.html" title="&ldquo;The Well at the World&rsquo;s End&rdquo; by Rosemary Lake">
<p>One day when Marianne had finished scrubbing the kitchen floor and was putting cakes and fruit on a plate to take to old Nurse, her Uncle threw a sieve at her and commanded: <q>Here, go and fill this with water from the Well at the World&rsquo;s End.</q> For he was sure there was no such place, and if there were, no one could fill a sieve with water anyway.</p>
</blockquote>

You should be able to navigate to the source of this quotation:

One day when Marianne had finished scrubbing the kitchen floor and was putting cakes and fruit on a plate to take to old Nurse, her Uncle threw a sieve at her and commanded: Here, go and fill this with water from the Well at the World’s End. For he was sure there was no such place, and if there were, no one could fill a sieve with water anyway.

Example:

This block quotation is about quotation marks:

<blockquote cite="//www.suck.com/daily/2000/03/20/" title="suck: The Jawbone of a Scare Quote (20 Mar 2000)">
<p>The scare quotes let you know the jury&rsquo;s still out&mdash;the euphemism may become reality if it&rsquo;s tenacious enough to get the nod from the dictionary someday or to shed the scare quotes in the paper. A reader caught <cite>The New York Times</cite> at this practice in its 5 May 1993 edition and used Orwell&rsquo;s &ldquo;Politics and the English Language&rdquo; as the bag of oranges for the beatdown. The Gray Lady had suddenly dropped the scare quotes around the obvious doublespeak &ldquo;ethnic cleansing,&rdquo; thereby legitimizing a term for genocide favored by killers looking to cast their murderous policies in a less sinister light. The upshot is that today we all know what ethnic cleansing is, and &ldquo;genocide&rdquo; somehow seems a PC fallback&#8208;word for whiners. The terms have changed places and the legit description now reads as suspect.</p>
</blockquote>

You should be able to navigate to the source of this quotation:

The scare quotes let you know the jury’s still out—the euphemism may become reality if it’s tenacious enough to get the nod from the dictionary someday or to shed the scare quotes in the paper. A reader caught The New York Times at this practice in its 5 May 1993 edition and used Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language” as the bag of oranges for the beatdown. The Gray Lady had suddenly dropped the scare quotes around the obvious doublespeak ethnic cleansing, thereby legitimizing a term for genocide favored by killers looking to cast their murderous policies in a less sinister light. The upshot is that today we all know what ethnic cleansing is, and genocide somehow seems a PC fallback‐word for whiners. The terms have changed places and the legit description now reads as suspect.

Example:

A quotation within a quotation, both with source citations.

<blockquote cite="//www.wired.com/wired/archive/4.01/white.paper_pr.html" title="Wired: The Copyright Grab (Jan 1996)">
<p>Universal and Disney once sued Sony to stop distribution of its videotape machines, arguing that private noncommercial copying of their motion pictures by purchasers of Betamax machines was no more excusable than the theft of a necklace because the thief intended to wear it only at home for noncommercial purposes. The Supreme Court pointed out that the person who steals a necklace deprives its owner of possession and use of the item, whereas the copying of programs off the air <q cite="//cyber.law.harvard.edu/metaschool/Fisher/integrity/Links/Cases/sony.html" title="Sony v. Universal Studios">does not even remotely entail comparable consequences for the copyright owner.</q> The Court held that it was fair use for consumers to copy programs off the air for time&#8208;shifting purposes.</p>
</blockquote>

You should be able to navigate to the source of both quotations:

Universal and Disney once sued Sony to stop distribution of its videotape machines, arguing that private noncommercial copying of their motion pictures by purchasers of Betamax machines was no more excusable than the theft of a necklace because the thief intended to wear it only at home for noncommercial purposes. The Supreme Court pointed out that the person who steals a necklace deprives its owner of possession and use of the item, whereas the copying of programs off the air does not even remotely entail comparable consequences for the copyright owner. The Court held that it was fair use for consumers to copy programs off the air for time‐shifting purposes.

Related Mozilla bug reports: Metadata.

Related Internet Explorer bug reports: Channel9 Wiki: Internet Explorer Standards Support.