8

Translated from German

Should German words in a discussion be formatted in "quotes", or should they be formatted as monospaced text?

Which format is the preferred one? Are there any other suggestions? Is there a need for a consistent format?


Sollten deutsche Wörter die man diskutiert in "Anführungszeichen" gesetzt werden? Oder als monospaced Text dargestellt werden?

Was ist die bevorzugte Variante?

Gibt es noch mehr?

Oder soll es keine einheitliche Variante geben?

7

My styleguide on this is:

  • When you are talking about a single word or a short phrase, mark it only with italics. (One type of mark suffices and italics are least disruptive.)

  • When you are referring to an entire sentence or longer parts of a sentence, preferrably use blockquotes (preceeded by >). The main exception to this is if this happens in a sidenote. In this case use quotation marks¹, but do not italicise (because a blockquote would break the textflow for those skipping the sidenote).

  • When referring to the specific spelling of a word or phrase in a specific sentence, use quotation marks¹ (see also my answer to this question).

  • In titles, always use quotation marks¹.

¹ The preferrable quotation marks depend on the language of the accompanying text, i.e., “” for English and „“ or »« for German.


Is there a need for a consistent format?

In most cases, no emphasis is needed at all. A subtile italics is imho fine.

The abbrevation in the last sentence was imho.

Was there a problem in understanding the last sentence?

Such formatting is almost never needed, but it helps reading. Also, it works best if we format consistently, as you quickly get used to it. This can be very well compared to spelling and why it is a good thing: If a writer uses a consistent spelling, this helps reading his texts enormously. If everybody uses the same spelling, this is even better.

Of course, this does not mean that we should radically enforce the above or any formatting standard.

  • HTML short reference for in-line quotations: “English”, „German“ or »German«. – Martin - マーチン Apr 25 '16 at 8:54
4

Monospaced font is the font of choice for programming languages or when the spacing is critical in tables.

To my opinion floating text looks awkward in monospace font. Therefore I always avoided using it but used italic or a combination of italic and quotes instead:

*"deutscher Text"* - will then render as "deutscher Text".

Whenever we make a quotation or have an example of a whole sentence or paragraph most people here use the quotation marks > rather than code format:

Dies ist ein Fließtext.

A consistent formatting may not only look better but it may also help to finally design the site once we graduate from beta.

  • 5
    Quotation marks and italics is overkill in my opinion, but otherwise +1. – chirlu Aug 13 '13 at 12:55
  • In most cases, no emphasis is needed at all. A subtile italics is imho fine. The abbrevation in the last sentence was imho. Was there a problem in understanding the last sentence? – user unknown Aug 20 '13 at 19:15
  • @userunknown: See the second part of my answer to this question. – Wrzlprmft Dec 5 '14 at 22:49
4

My recommendation here would be to use quotation with > for entire sentences or examples:

Er sprang über seinen Schatten.

And when discussing certain words or aspects, if you want to make a highlight or quote a single word the author used, italics are the way to go.

"Quotation marks", in my opinion, rather add to text being not easy to read on this page and I would avoid using quotation marks directly.

Single monospace can be made obsolote, preformatted text can still be interesting if you want to point out differences in a list

die Qual
die Wahl
der Gral
das Mahl
  • 1
    for Lists there is the list functionality. you can have bulleted and numbered lists. also you do not need preformatted text to have single line breaks ;) – Vogel612 Jan 23 '14 at 12:40
  • Yes, you can also use bulleted lists. Maybe my example as to when preformatted text is better is not the best. I'll try to come up with a better one @Vogel. – SentryRaven Jan 23 '14 at 12:48
  • Whenever you use some listing, you will always have the alternative of using a list. Whether that makes sense or not is for you to decide ;) – Vogel612 Jan 23 '14 at 12:54
  • I know, I actually wanted to show an example where using preformatted text held an advantage over conventional bulleted lists. I am still trying to think of a scenario here, bear with me. :) – SentryRaven Jan 23 '14 at 12:56
  • @SentryRaven: Take a look at the answers to this question. I also consider quotation marks necessary sometimes, if > breaks the text flow too much or draws too much attention to a quote in a side note. I would also use quotation marks for short verbatim quotes, as a lack-of-better-word indicator and in comments. – Wrzlprmft Jan 27 '14 at 6:35
3

Monospaced should only be used when you would be ok with the text being read out letter by letter, which is indeed what some screen readers might do.

0

This is what I used so far:

Working Example

Block references


Single sentence:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consetetur sadipscing elitr, sed diam nonumy eirmod tempor invidunt ut labore et dolore magna aliquyam erat, sed diam voluptua.

Multiple sentences:

  • Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consetetur sadipscing elitr, sed diam nonumy eirmod tempor invidunt ut labore et dolore magna aliquyam erat, sed diam voluptua.
  • Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consetetur sadipscing elitr, sed diam nonumy eirmod tempor invidunt ut labore et dolore magna aliquyam erat, sed diam voluptua.

Use Block Comments whenever it makes sense. That may be for example if you need to reference a long sentence or a sequence of sentences or whenever your question/answer is mostly just about one or few references.

Inline reference for sentences


This is why you wouldn't translate: "What have you got on your mind?" to: "Was hast du auf deinem Verstand?" If you do swap the words it would read "What have you got on your understanding?" sounds bad right?


Use Inline References whenever you feel it's right. Inline References work well in cases where you need to reference sentences multiple times inside of a floating text. In such cases Block Comments would blow your text into unreadable pieces. Just take the Inline Example and split it into multiple Block Comments - you'll end up with huge containers surrounded by fragments of words.

I use " instead of “”,„“, or »« for both German and English because " is on my keyboard, the other are not.

Word references


Whenever you read or hear the word 'Geist' keep in mind that it may refer to both 'mind' and 'spirit' and emphasize for yourself by context and of cause by your own like.


For word comments/references I would just use italic in most cases:

word

But in some cases that might not be enough and I would additionally wrap the word in " like this:

"word"

Why? Look at the example. The word mind appears two times. One time it's a reference and one time it is not. In cases where the referenced word and the sentence share the same language this can become confusing without a clear declaration and italic is not such a strong one. I could imagine cases worse than the one of the example.

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We should avoid a consistent format because it has to be trained, it must be communicated to newcomers and it might get in conflict with cultures from other sites.

But most importantly, you might need some markup for other purposes, for example quotation marks for direct speach, monospaced text as shown by SentryRaven, italics for person names or your citation uses italics.

As a general rule, use markup sparingly. In many cases you don't need it. Every form of emphasis is an interruption for the reading flow. For example, in the sentence "How do I use the word Tannenbaum?" you don't need any emphasis, because there is no possible form of misunderstanding the sentence. Many People don't understand, that emphasis should be used to clarify and help reading, not to interrupt and hinder the reader.

Elsewhere, italics will often be a good choice.

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