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Ursa major

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Thanks for that, Pyar.

(I'm glad that link gives an example of where the punctuation mark falls outside the quotes.)
 

Granfalloon

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Apologies, that's my fault for using a poor example. My intention was to ask about something like:

"Dialogue." said Frank. "More dialogue."

Another question I've thought of now, is there a rule regarding the use of the " or ' to contain dialogue? Is it simply a writer's preference or is one preferred over the other?
It would seem from my humble point of observation that Matty was simply asking about the technicality of stopping during a piece of dialogue to explain who is talking. (If I'm mistaken, then just ignore this post).

What appears to be the question is: What's the difference between "Hit the brakes! You don't want to go down there!", Frank shouted. and, "Hit the brakes!" Frank shouted, "You don't want to go down there!" and , Frank shouted, "Hit the brakes! You don't want to go down there!"

I sometimes use this same device in other ways - for instance:

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"I always eat lunch before noon on fridays." Jack Hammer reached down and adjusted the cuff of his trousers before continuing. "It might seem superstitious to some, but it's a rather harmless quirk of mine."

"That's not superstitious, It's plain stupid.", Julian replied.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It's also a rule of thumb as I understand it to indent any dialogue when it is a new person speaking, but only at the beginning of the paragraph. (the indentation doesn't show up here). But potentially you could have a character rambling on and on with stops where some 3rd person omniscient action occurs and then have the character continue talking. Is that bad form or just a style preference?
 
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The Judge

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I'm not sure if that is what Matty was asking, but if he was , you're right: the attribution can come at the beginning, in the middle or at the end. Where to put it depends on personal preference and sentence rhythm, though I think it makes sense to vary it from time to time to avoid a kind of boring effect of every sentence looking/feeling the same.

I'm afraid, though, your punctuation's a bit wrong, Granfallon.

What's the difference between
"Hit the brakes! You don't want to go down there!"[,] Frank shouted. The comma here is wrong - the exclamation mark is enough on its own, and anyway any punctuation should be inside the quotation marks.

and
, "Hit the brakes!" Frank shouted[,][.] "[Y][y]ou don't want to go down there!" You can do this in one of two ways. Either full stop after 'shouted' and the the capital 'Y' for 'You', or the comma and a lower case 'y'. But it must be one or the other, not a mixture.

and , Frank shouted, "Hit the brakes! You don't want to go down there!" Strangely enough, the comma and the capital letter are, I think, right here - but I stand ready to be corrected by anyone who has examined this point in depth. I think the comma could be a colon if you wanted, but the capital letter for 'Hit' would remain.

I sometimes use this same device in other ways - for instance:

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"I always eat lunch before noon on fridays." Jack Hammer reached down and adjusted the cuff of his trousers before continuing. "It might seem superstitious to some, but it's a rather harmless quirk of mine." This is fine (except Friday should have a capital!).

"That's not superstitious[,]. It's plain stupid[.],"[,] Julian replied. The first comma should be a full stop (or possibly a colon - whereupon the following letter has to be lower case not a capital). The full stop after 'stupid' should be a comma, but this should be inside the quotation marks. The comma outside the marks is redundant no matter what the punctuation inside.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It's also a rule of thumb as I understand it to indent any dialogue when it is a new person speaking, but only at the beginning of the paragraph. (the indentation doesn't show up here). But potentially you could have a character rambling on and on with stops where some 3rd person omniscient action occurs and then have the character continue talking. Is that bad form or just a style preference?
A new speaker should get a new paragraph as you did with Jack Hammer and Julian but there's no need to indent. If there is action from the speaker's POV then you can continue in the same para, but whether it is wise to do so depends on what the action is and whether it is related to what was being said and how long it is. If the action is from the omniscient narrator perspective, then I think definitely a fresh para and then again a new para when the speaker starts talking again.

Hope this helps clarify things.

J
 

Ursa major

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The only rule I can recall with regard to dialogue and paragraph breaks is that if a paragraph (Para A) ends in dialogue and the new one (Para B) starts with dialogue from the same speaker, you do not place a closing quote ( ' or " ) at the end of the Para A but do at the beginning of Para B.

Beyond that, the usual "rules" for paragraphs apply, in which I'd include using a new paragraph for a new speaker**.




** - Some old books - such as The Castle of Otranto - do not do this, which is one of the reasons my latest reading of this book may have stalled some months ago.
 

MattyK

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Cans of worms! Get them while they're open! Cans or worms!....

My lord, what have I started!? Not complaining, I originally thought I had one or two questions about dialogue. Turns out I had a lot more I didn't know about but the resulting conversation has answered pretty much everything (well, that and a chat or two with Chrispy!).

It would seem from my humble point of observation that Matty was simply asking about the technicality of stopping during a piece of dialogue to explain who is talking. (If I'm mistaken, then just ignore this post).
Nope, that wasn't what I was asking but all this information is helpful so don't let me stop you!

What I was asking was about the punctuation and capitalisation of a sentence when the narrative interrupts the dialogue. For example, if dialogue containing two seperate sentences such as...

"You smell like stilton. That annoys me."

...is broken up like...

"You smell like stilton," said Captain Hatescheesealot, "that annoys me."

...I was curious about the punctuation after stilton, the lower case said, the comma after Captain Hatescheesealot and the lower case that. I originally thought it would be...

"You smell like stilton." Said Captain Hatescheesealot. "That annoys me."

...which I now believe is wrong. I think!

P.S The view on smelling like stilton in this post is the opinion of Captain Hatescheesealot only. Well...and MattyK too. No offense is intended to anyone who actually does smell like stilton....but seriously, you could just take a bath!
 

Ursa major

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"You smell like stilton," said Captain Hatescheesealot, "that annoys me."
is wrong because you would not write:
"You smell like stilton, that annoys me."
You might write
"You smell like stilton; that annoys me."
or
"You smell like stilton. That annoys me."
giving:
"You smell like stilton," said Captain Hatescheesealot; "that annoys me."
"You smell like stilton," said Captain Hatescheesealot. "That annoys me."
You might even write:
"You smell like stilton, which annoys me."
giving:
"You smell like stilton," said Captain Hatescheesealot, "which annoys me."
 

Granfalloon

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Gah! Back to the drawingboard!

Hmm, what's that smell?
Well, I'd rather it be Stilton than Limburger! (I've most likely opened a can of something.) *Thinks... Hmm... are cheese names "proper" names, and therefore capitalized? :confused:)*
 

The Judge

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Ursa has done an excellent job, but just to confirm (in case it's needed):

What I was asking was about the punctuation and capitalisation of a sentence when the narrative interrupts the dialogue. For example, if dialogue containing two seperate sentences such as...

"You smell like stilton. That annoys me." This is right (except for the missing capital).

...is broken up like...

"You smell like stilton," said Captain Hatescheesealot, "that annoys me." This is wrong in this particular sentence.

...I was curious about the punctuation after stilton, the lower case said, the comma after Captain Hatescheesealot and the lower case that. I originally thought it would be...

"You smell like stilton." Said Captain Hatescheesealot. "That annoys me." This is wrong for the first half; right for the second.

...which I now believe is wrong. I think!
I think where you went wrong, Matty, is in ignoring the punctuation in your original sentence. You had a full stop there, indicating that there was a longish pause between the two thoughts. You therefore should have continued with that pause by full-stopping after the attribution and starting with a new sentence. If, as Ursa says, your original sentence only had a comma in eg 'I am happy today, as the sun is shining for once.' then you can continue the comma use even if it is split by the attribution eg 'I am happy today,' said Dolores, 'as the sun is shining for once.'

Don't try to memorise the rules as rules, learn to read the rhythm of what you're writing. Read it out loud to yourself. Short pauses need commas; slightly longer pauses need colons or semi-colons; longer pauses need full stops.

And Ursa is right about the continuation of speech over two or more paragraphs - you don't end the quotation marks at the first (or subsequent) para but you do start them with the next one eg

'... and if you think that coming in at midnight is acceptable, you've another think coming. No closing quotations marks as speech continuing in next para.

'And another thing, young lady, go tidy your room.'
Opening quotation marks to show continuation and closing marks as speech ended.

Dolores slunk off.


Hope that helps.

J
 

Ursa major

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...learn to read the rhythm of what you're writing. Read it out loud to yourself. Short pauses need commas; slightly longer pauses need colons or semi-colons; longer pauses need full stops.
This is important whatever you're writing, I think. (I only wish I remembered how important it is when I write.) But it's particularly so with dialogue, in my honest opinion. You're trying to convince a reader that they're hearing a (specific) character speak: the words they use and don't use, the rhythm, which may be peculiar to them**, etc. Clumsy speech attribution may pull the reader away from the dialogue and the way that character would talk, endangering the effect.




** - Though as with slang/dropped Hs/an ing turnin' into an in'/whatever, a little can go a long way.
 

Interference

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"You smell like stilton. That annoys me."

"You smell like stilton," said Captain Hatescheesealot, "that annoys me."

"You smell like stilton." Said Captain Hatescheesealot. "That annoys me."
Completely concur with the bear on this one, but I'd go a little further to say that if you check the sense of the sentence, it gives you a better clue how to punctuate it, whether in or out of dialogue. By which I mean ...

"You smell like Stilton," said Captain Hatescheesealot, "that annoys me." could suggest that there's a kind of Stilton that annoys him and you smell like it.

On whether Stilton or stilton, I'd actually suggest "stilton", so as not to be confused with the name of a person named Stilton like whom our interlocutor smells.
 

Ursa major

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You're right about the other possible meaning of that in this case, Interference. I would suggest that you would not normally break the spoken sentence between stilton and that, because - I think, bear with me - it's a noun phrase.

From my copy of Oxford Everyday Grammar :)o):
The naughty children are playing in the park.
You would not break the (emboldened) noun phrase:
'The naughty,' he said, 'children are playing in the park.'
but would use something like these (depending on the emphasis you wanted to give):
The naughty children are playing in the park,' he said.
or
The naughty children,' he said, 'are playing in the park.'
You could be tempted to break a noun phrase. This is phrase also in the Oxford Everyday Grammar:
The naughty children who live next door are playing in the park.
giving
'The naughty children,' he said, 'who live next door are playing in the park.'
I don't like this at all, and would prefer:
'The naughty children,' he said, 'the ones who live next door, are playing in the park.'
 

Granfalloon

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I agree with the fluffy bear, but I will admit I get most of my "guidelines" from experience in reading and writing. After having read 1000 books, one begins to get a "feel" for usage when attempting to write. I went back to read more of the earlier sections of this thread today, and it has congered a question out of me. Concerning the use of the apostrophe and alliteration:

Peter Piper Graham picked a peck of pickled peppers, A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper Graham picked; If Peter Piper Graham picked a peck of pickled peppers, Where's the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper Graham picked?* So in this example we find only 2 cases; one of ordinary plural (peppers), and one of contraction (Where's). But It leaves me wondering if they were even Peters' pickles (possesive + plural) to be picked. And given that Peter's last name is Graham, there is the case where we we would invite the Grahams' over for a pickle fest given that they now posses so many pickles. (Would that be Graham's or Grahams' ?) This is a case that I didn't see mentioned when we refer to a group in in the plural without reference to something they own even there is a reference to the ownership of something later in the sentence. (i.e. The Queen invited the Obamas / Obama's /Obamas' over for tea.) Which of those is correct? (Obamas / Obama's /Obamas' )

*You could simply ask Peter where the peck of pickled peppers is.
 

Ursa major

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The Queen would invite the Obamas.

(The Queen's corgis might invite the Obamas' dog**; the Queen might invite President Obama's wife.)







** - Remember, this is an SF and Fantasy site.
 

chrispenycate

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Granfoolan said:
This is a case that I didn't see mentioned when we refer to a group in in the plural without reference to something they own even there is a reference to the ownership of something later in the sentence. (i.e. The Queen invited the Obamas / Obama's /Obamas' over for tea.) Which of those is correct? (Obamas / Obama's /Obamas' )
But the Obamas in that statement are not possessed; or at most, self possessed in the presence of royalty (although I guess they possess each other mutually.) Before the apostrophe could make its entrance, the queen's corgis would have to invite the Obamas' dog (or possibly the Obamas' children's dog) over for tea and grahams.

I swear that I had not seen Ursa's post when I started mine, or in any way modified mine afterward except to add this postscript.
 
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MattyK

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Just a quick question, can anyone point me to a discussion on formatting writing when a character is thinking? I'm sure it will already have been discussed here somewhere but I couldn't find it using the Advanced Search (more my fault than the search tool, I should think).
 

Ursa major

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I swear that I had not seen Ursa's post when I started mine, or in any way modified mine afterward except to add this postscript.
FWIW, I believe you, Chris.

It's not really that spooky. Despite the veritable torrent of words about Obama since before the start of the primary season, most of us on this side of the Pond would be hard pressed to remember anything the Obamas owned apart from that dog.
 

Granfalloon

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The Queen would invite the Obamas.

(The Queen's corgis might invite the Obamas' dog**; the Queen might invite President Obama's wife.)


** - Remember, this is an SF and Fantasy site.
Disclaimer:

In no way whatsoever did I intend, or do I intend, or will I intend in any possible version of the future to turn anything here in "The Toolbox" into a political discussion. I was merely using an example that I considered to be somewhat universal in the sense that all post viewers would recognize the names.

It seems the answer to the question is, there is no apostrophe even though the narrator is referring to a group -hence plural - unit of people. But I'm almost certain I've seen it done, but possibly only in cases where the name being used ended in an s or two. For instance:
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
"The Dumas family are nice people. Do you think we should invite the Dumas' over for Din-dins?"

"Yes, we should definitely invite them over, but we should be extremely cautious about how we pronounce their last name."

----------------------------------------------------------------------

...or would it be Dumas's?
 

HareBrain

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I have long made it my policy to have no contact with anyone whose surname is Dumas, precisely because this kind of difficulty might arise.

If the name were Simmons, then you would invite the Simmonses. But Dumas being French, you perhaps should invite les Dumas?

In any case I really think the apostrophe - the Dumas' - is incorrect, and if you have seen it done, then you have seen it done wrongly.
 
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