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).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?
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.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?
Nope, that wasn't what I was asking but all this information is helpful so don't let me stop you!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).
is wrong because you would not write:"You smell like stilton," said Captain Hatescheesealot, "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. That annoys me."
"You smell like stilton," said Captain Hatescheesealot; "that annoys me."
You might even write:"You smell like stilton," said Captain Hatescheesealot. "That annoys me."
giving:"You smell like stilton, which annoys me."
"You smell like stilton," said Captain Hatescheesealot, "which annoys me."
Yes they are but it was late and I'd written Stilton so many times I couldn't be bothered to go back and change it. If I'd have started capitalizing half way through thepost it would have been inconsistant so I just left it!*Thinks... Hmm... are cheese names "proper" names, and therefore capitalized? )*
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.'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!
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....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.
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. That annoys me."
"You smell like stilton," said Captain Hatescheesealot, "that annoys me."
"You smell like stilton." Said Captain Hatescheesealot. "That annoys me."
You would not break the (emboldened) noun phrase:The naughty children are playing in the park.
but would use something like these (depending on the emphasis you wanted to give):'The naughty,' he said, 'children are playing in the park.'
orThe naughty children are playing in the park,' he said.
You could be tempted to break a noun phrase. This is phrase also in the Oxford Everyday Grammar:The naughty children,' he said, 'are playing in the park.'
givingThe naughty children who live next door are playing in the park.
I don't like this at all, and would prefer:'The naughty children,' he said, 'who live next door are playing in the park.'
'The naughty children,' he said, 'the ones who live next door, are playing in the park.'
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.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' )
FWIW, I believe you, Chris.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.
Disclaimer: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.