You're a bit of a mathematician, all right! I'd be interested in knowing if any other authorities condone that [?'?] atrocity!
Well, language has its all-important "engineering" component as well as the "musical," as I opined earlier. But the way I balance it out, these offered examples would never see the light of day-- or lurk in a closed book.
[CODE] The pause is followed by Richard’s demanding ‘will no man say ‘‘Amen’’?’.
Why does Shakespeare give Malcolm the banal question ‘Oh, by whom[b]?’?[/b] [/CODE]
By the way, the first example is so contorted that this maven of style had to deface the Shakespearean text to make his point. That should tell you something. When Richard says "will no man say Amen?" he does not use quotation marks.
Yes, I left the commas out when I inserted that short quote. It's a matter of style that is arguably "wrong," easily so. To me the ear dictates whether there's a pause befor the quote-- some quotes are an indirect recitation, some are just terms in a sentence. Richard says something. Richard says, [and here you draw a breath and speak in Richard's stead]. To the highly-educated members here, I'm sure I seem to be making things like this up in defiance of what's "right." But I believe written language is a simulacrum of what is spoken, and voices have inflections, personalities. On the audible level, the convention of a comma is to indicate a pause-- and sure, there are times when it belongs "on the page," to avoid confusion.
I agree there are conventions one might as well be consistent about-- the placement of a question mark inside a quotation mark is a matter of logic that doesn't affect inflection. So is the convention of placing punctuation marks outside of parentheses. Until punctilious adherence to the convention creates clutter-- in this case clutter that interferes with clarity (other than in the mathematical sense) because it stops the eye and interrupts the writer's message. At least for some readers. "Incorrectly" simplifying a convention to keep it from calling attention to itself-- purely a judgment call.
We live in a time of incredible upheaval in usage. Fragmentary and run-on sentences are commonplace, and children learning English as their native language can't be expected to arm themselves with a rulebook and do battle against such odds. Hate it all you like, the mass communications industry in general (and advertising in particular) is wreaking fundamental changes. People who write such copy are trying to catch the "feel" of the spoken language, and their mimetic efforts in turn influence the way language is spoken. Academic resistance isn't futile-- I just come down, more than most here, in favor of the idea that conventions of punctuation and style are a little more optional and a little less mandatory.
If you think that's bad, wait till mass-marketing homogenizes pronunciation a little more, and the conventions of spelling are swept away in a tsunami of "reform." In that case, I'll be among the diehards. Yes, that's jarringly inconsistent.