I actually deal with the problem of finding quotations (i.e. "this is a quotation") in larger texts of different languages, mostly German and English. Unfortunately there are several ways to fill text in quotation marks (marks differ in various languages). I tried StringCases, but this did not work as expected:

test = "This is a „real“ test, even wit a „really longer“ citation!"


StringCases[test, "„" ~~ __ ~~ "“"]
(* {"„real“ test, even wit a „really longer\
“"} *)

which is correct, but not what I intended. I also tried with RegularExpression but could not get it to work as expected, so I got back to my "handmade" StringPosition which gave immediate success ;-)

pos = StringPosition[test, {"„", "“"}]


Partition[First /@ pos, 2]


StringTake[test, %]

This works, but I think this should be no problem with a RegularExpression or StringCases, only, ... I could not get it to work. Can anyone give me a hint (maybe it is obvious - but I do not see it)?


Perhaps Shortest is the key here:

str = "This is some text with \"quotations\" in «various styles», \
including \[OpenCurlyDoubleQuote]double curly quotes\

 Alternatives["\"", "'", "«", "\[OpenCurlyDoubleQuote]"] ~~ 
   Shortest[x___] ~~ 
   Alternatives["\"", "'", "»", "\[CloseCurlyDoubleQuote]"] :> x]

{"quotations", "various styles", "double curly quotes"}

Note this makes no attempt to pair the open and closing quotations so will not work with nested quotes.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you so much! I missed the Shortest.. I always though that there must be simple solution, but I wouldn´t have found this. $\endgroup$ – mgamer Dec 13 '15 at 11:46

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