Learn Me Novel Gramma: He said, he said

Tower75

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Hi, all.

I know this is basically asking what is 2+2, but when you write character dialog, if you end it with he said, is this the the start of a new sentence?

What I mean is, let's take this sentence: "I like coffee cake."

Now, is that: "I like coffee cake." He said. Is he said a new sentence, or should this read: "I like coffee cake." he said.

Apologies, but I wasn't taught grammar in school; we mainly read Of Mice and Men and got spelling tests.
 

TheDustyZebra

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No.

"I like coffee cake," he said.

He said is part of the sentence, so you need a comma there. It's only a period if you start with a new sentence after the dialogue.

"I like coffee cake." He put down his fork.

It's also a new sentence, and therefore a period, if the next bit is not a way of saying something.

"I like coffee cake," he whispered.

"I like coffee cake." He shrugged.

See the difference? He can whisper the words, but he can't shrug them. That's a very common mistake, and one to watch for.
 

Jo Zebedee

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The sentence doesn't end until after the he said. So:

'I like coffee cake,' he said.

But! If you don't use he said and go to an action the sentence ends inside the speech marks:

'I like coffee cake.' He took a slice and scoffed it.

Either an ? Or ! Replace the comma or full stop inside the speech mark and work exactly the same way.

Basically what TDZ said. Quicker.
 

HareBrain

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It might be easier if you imagine that we used italics rather than quote marks to indicate dialogue.

I like coffee cake, he said.

versus

I like coffee cake. He said.

Hopefully the first looks right, since it's obviously all one sentence, and the second wrong. Now you can simply add the quote marks.

In other words, this isn't so much a matter of grammar as of punctuation.
 

Tower75

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Many thanks, Guys. Really appreciate it.

While we're on the subject of correct novel'ing. May I ask, am I right in thinking that you always put a comma before you address someone? For example: "Hi, all" would be correct, but not: "Hi all"?

If you address someone by nickname or rank, is it a capital? A husband says to his wife: "I love you, Moon Beam." or is that: "I love you, moon beam." And indeed, is it: "Yes, Captain"? Or is it: "yes, captain"?
 

Tower75

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That makes sense, thanks.

As to questions, would it be correct to write: "What are you talking about?" He said., or would it be he said.? As the question mark has replaced the comma, where do you stand on new sentences?
 

TheDustyZebra

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"What are you talking about?" he said.

It's still not a new sentence. He said is not a sentence by itself, so it's part of the previous one. The question mark replaces the comma, and everything else is exactly the same.


As for the previous question, what Jo said. And the other rank one not covered there, capitalize rank when used with the name.

Did you hear what Captain Anderson said?

There are authors who choose not to follow these conventions, and (barring publisher's requirements) that's their right, but it's absolutely vital to be consistent within your own book. And it disturbs the readers less if you do it the way they're used to.

Mom (or Mum) and Dad are similar -- when you're referring to the person in the same way you would use a name, capitalize it.

You know Mom told us not to do that.

But

You know my mom told us not to do that.


Pet names are a different breed of cat. Generally speaking, the universal ones such as sweetie, honey, darling, etc., are not capitalized. You may choose to capitalize unique ones such as your Moon Beam, but again, be consistent.
 

tinkerdan

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I submit that there might be occasion to leave off the comma.
Yes Captain.
Hi all.
Without too much impact and as a writer you might try to determine if it can be pulled off without causing the reader to bleed from the eyes. Usually it can work if the pause is slight.

Also you might stop to weigh things when you encounter this.
"Your the best," he said, with a gleam in his eye.
Might work as well with.
"Your the best." He said with a gleam in his eye.

But don't do this if you get a bloody nose every time you try.
 

TheDustyZebra

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Also you might stop to weigh things when you encounter this.
"Your the best," he said, with a gleam in his eye.
Might work as well with.
"Your the best." He said with a gleam in his eye.

But don't do this if you get a bloody nose every time you try.

I'll get a bloody nose if you try that -- or I might just pass it on instead.

First, "you're" = "you are".
"Your" = it belongs to you.

And it really doesn't work in the second instance, because "He said with a gleam in his eye" is not a sentence. He said what? Said is a verb that requires an object.
 

Danny McG

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Jo Zebedee

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I submit that there might be occasion to leave off the comma.
Yes Captain.
Hi all.
Without too much impact and as a writer you might try to determine if it can be pulled off without causing the reader to bleed from the eyes. Usually it can work if the pause is slight.

Also you might stop to weigh things when you encounter this.
"Your the best," he said, with a gleam in his eye.
Might work as well with.
"Your the best." He said with a gleam in his eye.

But don't do this if you get a bloody nose every time you try.

But the direct address comma doesn't denote a pause - it's there so the sentence has clarity. Eg

Do you see Rachel? And Do you see, Rachel? Are two different sentences.
 

HareBrain

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I do think it can be left off sometimes, though. "Hi all" and "Yes sir" are fine, since in speech they are sometimes practically run into one word ("Yes sir" is sometimes even written "Yessir") and no clarity is lost in those cases. It reads awkwardly to me if there's no comma before a name, but if it's meant to sound awkward (say the speaker is flustered) it's fine.

As with most things, the trick is to gauge the probable effect it has on the reader.
 

tinkerdan

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Now, now. They're doing things like that to get their own blood running there; not 'you'res' :)
I'll get a bloody nose if you try that -- or I might just pass it on instead.

First, "you're" = "you are".
"Your" = it belongs to you.

And it really doesn't work in the second instance, because "He said with a gleam in his eye" is not a sentence. He said what? Said is a verb that requires an object.
That'll teach me to post and then go to bed without proofing.

He said this with a gleam in his eye.
 
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