Quotations and Dialogue
Q. A question about paraphrased quotations. I am proofreading an artist monograph that includes substantial text. Much of the text comes from interviews with people who knew the artist. In many cases, the interviewees quote someone else, but in more or less every single case, these are paraphrased quotes and not exact reproductions of what someone said. The editor and I have not been able to come to a conclusion as to whether it would be better to set such quotes between double quotation marks, or to italicize them, or to simply capitalize the first word of the “quote.” We prefer to not simply capitalize the first letter for fear that it might cause some confusion, seeing as there are many different voices in the text. And we are hesitating about using quotation marks because (a) they are not exact quotes and (b) we feel that they divide up the text too much. We like the idea of using italics, as they maybe allow the text to flow better. However, italics are already in use for a number of foreign expressions in the text.
A. This is a sticky situation, but italics are probably not a good idea. Better to use a mixture of quotation marks when the syntax calls for them and no special treatment for paraphrases. Examples:
Interviewee 1 claimed that Mr. Rock Star enjoyed meeting his fans.
Interviewee 2 reported that Mr. Star said he enjoyed meeting some fans.
Interviewee 3 quoted Mr. Star as saying “There’s nothing I love more than meeting fans.”