As a new reporter I'm still having a lot of trouble with quotes. I'm having a hard time deciding whether or not to quote this stuff and how to format some of it. The attorney was referring to documents. I've got lots of different examples that keep making me go back and forth and I'm going nuts. I'd appreciate any help!

And it says -- obviously at the top it says Office of the District Attorney, County of Sacramento. Then it says directed to Sacramento Police Department, and then it's got a name. Do you see that it says a Kirsten Ross?

This one is screwing me up because it actually says Office of the District Attorney and on the next line it's Sacramento County. I also don't know if I quote Kirsten Ross.

And to the right of that it's got a lab number. Do you see that? It's got a 08-003760?

Do I quote both lab number and the number? Or just the number? Or neither in this case?

And then the next line below that is date analyzed 4/16/08.

Similar to the last one, but more of a direct quote..

And then below that it's got -- there's a title that says blood alcohol report. Do you see that?

Do I quote this and cap it like it's written? Blood Alcohol Report?

And then the next line below that is date analyzed 4/16/08.

written on document as
Date Analyzed: 4/16/08

Sorry for the kinda stupid newbie questions.


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Mary Jo, I had never heard of Morson's until a few years ago, but I have seen it referenced many times by others in the industry. When I went to court reporting school, we were told to use Diane Castilaw's "Court Reporting Grammar and Punctuation." Today, I do a great deal of Federal Government work, and I am supposed to use the GPO Style Manual.

With all of the above said, I find what I deem as "flaws" in all three of the above-referenced style guides.

Working for a variety of companies in my younger work life, I learned very quickly that there is truly no right and no wrong on MANY issues when it comes to punctuation. I do not use ellipses, but there are many who do. I would NEVER -- and I emphasize NEVER, NEVER, NEVER -- type a syllable of a word, but I have read on this forum that there are some who do. I cannot ever bring myself to put the quotation mark before the period, but there are some who were trained to do it that way. I put a space before and after the double hyphen or dash, and there are many who do not put a space before and after the double hyphen.

Funny thing about Hill committees/subcommittees, each one has their own likes and dislikes when it comes to punctuation. Senate Finance Committee style states one must write out the numbers, like $1,000,000 for $1 million and $1,000,000,000 for $1 billion and $78,000,000,000,000 for $78 trillion. Then there are some committees who want the States (always initial-capped when referring to a State, as is Federal Government) written out and others who only want the acronym used. So it is either Annapolis, Maryland, in the transcript or Annapolis MD in the transcript. Notice the comma after "Maryland." Some people do insert a comma there, and others don't. The same holds true for "Inc." I was trained to insert a comma after "Inc." within a sentence, and I have seen it without the comma MANY times. Example: Miller Reporting Company, Inc., is located in Washington, D.C." (Yes, I put periods in "D.C." and use a comma after "Washington" for a specific reason, which is another style preference).

I have developed my own style sheet for "my" jobs. This way, when people are sharing a job with me, we will all be singing from the same song sheet. The spoken word does not come out of a person's mouth like camera-ready copy, and I believe one must be able to adapt their style. Of course, if you work for one entity and one entity only, it's pretty easy to adapt to that style. When I used to do court work, we ALWAYS had a period after the Q and A. Some courts require the Q and A to be flush left. I see Q's and A's located 5, 10, and 15 spaces in from the left margin today.

The point of my post is that I believe what separates the lions from the lambs in this industry is the capability to adjust your style to the style of the entity you are working for. I cannot tell you how many people I have given my style guide to follow, and they seem to just do it their way and don't make any effort to follow the style guide I provided them.

I applaud Heather and every single person like her who takes the time to inquire. It shows they have good work integrity and want to do a good job, as opposed to racing against the clock and seeing how many pages they can spit out in an hour.
Heather, I've got to tell you. After 25-plus years doing this, quotes still kill me. Glad to see you out here working.

Thank you everyone for the responses! I'm glad to see that all my fretting over this topic wasn't just that I was lost, lol. Seems like there's no straight-forward answer. I took a little bit from different suggestions and tried to stay consistant. I ended up using quotes where he was clearly reading something on the document. Just seemed like it didn't read right without them. Hopefully my proofer won't be yanking her hair out correcting me, lol. Allison, I totally know what you mean about Case making things screwy. Eclipse does some stuff like that too.


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