Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login

This happened in Canada.

The truth was reported. My mother said that. She could not honestly claim to have been misquoted.

The quote was slimy, misleading, manipulative, and many other derogatory things. However the one thing that it was not was illegal.

Moving periods around inside of a direct quote is not the truth.

When quoting it is permissible to use ... to indicate that you omitted part of the sentence. Standard grammar guides also say that when you end your sentence on a quote, the punctuation mark should move inside of the quotes. Even if it wasn't originally the end of the sentence.

That is exactly what the journalist in question did. The omitted section of sentence was the word not, and it appeared at the end of a sentence.

I don't have a style manual in front of me, but here are some sources that disagree.

If words are left off at the end of a sentence, and that is all that is omitted, indicate the omission with ellipsis marks (preceded and followed by a space) and then indicate the end of the sentence with a period … . http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/marks/ellipsis.htm

The Chicago Manual of Style says that "other punctuation [besides the ellipsis, that is] may be used on either side of the three ellipsis dots if it helps the sense or better shows what has been omitted." Then, later, it says "When the last part of a quoted sentence is omitted and what remains is still grammatically complete, four dots — a period [or exclamation/question mark] followed by three ellipsis dots — are used to indicate the omission." And finally, "Three dots — no period — are used at the end of a quoted sentence that is deliberately and grammatically incomplete." http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/grammarlogs2/grammarl...

Wikipedia implies strongly that The Chicago Manual of Style, as well as the MLA and the Bluebook, have different syntactic rules for using ellipsis within a sentence versus at the end of the sentence. That makes no sense if Retric is correct in his/her claim about ellipsis only being licit at the end of a sentence.


Also, I have no CMS subscription, but here's a public-facing FAQ that seems relevant:


These sources appear to confirm my uneducated belief, which agrees with btilly, that ellipses may be used to mark any omission, of any size, including within a sentence or spanning sentences (wp's comment on CMOS implies omitting entire paragraphs is legal).

In that case it is likely that I've misremembered that bit of it. After all this is an incident that happened over 25 years ago.

But I guarantee that the journalist deliberately omitted the word "not" to completely reverse the meaning of the sentence.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | DMCA | Apply to YC | Contact