said Jack/Jack said

HareBrain

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Mostly when tagging dialogue I've gone for the action first (said, asked etc) and then the name (though obviously not with a pronoun: "said he" would be comical). I've assumed this was just down to personal preference, and I'm not even wholly consistent -- sometimes it feels better the other way round.

Today, though, it was suggested to me that my way round is old-fashioned and not current, and checking a few books on my shelves seems to bear this out. Those from the last century (Tolkien, Garner etc) seem to go with "said Jack", but those from this century are more likely to go with "Jack said".

Was anyone aware of this change over the years, and does anyone have any idea why it's happened?
 
I thought it was mostly a "which side of the Pond are you** on" thing...


...although there is, obviously, more of a cross-Pond consensus that it's old-fashioned to have the verb first when the speaker is identified by a pronoun, as in:
"I'm going down the pub," said he.


** - Or which side of the Pond is your publisher and/or the majority of your readers.
 
Was anyone aware of this change over the years, and does anyone have any idea why it's happened?

No and no.

But I can say that on revising an old WiP recently I seem to have spent most of my time changing one way round to the other, even changing them both ways (ie from "said X" to "X said" and vice versa) in the same chapter. I've gone for feel and rhythm rather than consistency!
 
said he seems to be the only antiquated version, for some reason. The other variations all sound contemporary.

"Bow down before me!" said he.

"Bow down before me!" said Jack.

"Bow down before me!" he said.

"Bow down before me!" Jack said.
 
As a reader I don't mind either way, so long as it's clear who's speaking - I abhor long conversations with speech marks where it doesn't say who's actually speaking.
I find myself reading around in alternate growly voice and squeaky voice to try to follow the discussion!
 
At least these are better that the conversations where the attribution is before the spoken sentence:

He said "Bow down before me!"

Jack said "Bow down before me!"
Bill said "Bow down before you?"
Jack said "Yes, bow down before me!"
Bill said "Why?

To other thing that really, really bugs me in these situations is where the program assumes that a word after a punctuation mark requires capitalisation. I've lost count of the conversations I've read that have this:

"Bow down before me!" Said he.

"Bow down before me!" Said Jack.

"Bow down before me!" He said.

:sick:
 
As a reader I don't mind either way, so long as it's clear who's speaking - I abhor long conversations with speech marks where it doesn't say who's actually speaking.
(y)(y)(y) Especially if there is a group talking together, or a pause in conversation and then same person speaks again.

I also don't care if they said, explained, told, asked, discussed, questioned, complained, blurted, shouted, whispered, just as long as they are named.
 
Just looking through my current WIP it seems like I mostly use 'X said'
Heh, Heart Blade was one of the "modern" ones I checked. But it took a while to find what you did, as you seem to mostly use actions. (Maybe you've been talking to Jo.)

To other thing that really, really bugs me in these situations is where the program assumes that a word after a punctuation mark requires capitalisation. I've lost count of the conversations I've read that have this:

"Bow down before me!" Said he.

"Bow down before me!" Said Jack.

"Bow down before me!" He said.
MS Word at least doesn't do this.

If it makes you stop when reading it back then change it...come back later and see if you have to stop again.
The impetus for this thread was someone saying that they "bumped" on "said Jack", whereas I'm fine with it. If it's true that it's a fashion that has changed, then whichever I personally prefer, I'd be better off adopting the current method.

The point of this thread wasn't to ask for guidance or advice (though thanks to those who've given it) but to ask how many people were aware of this apparent change, and to wonder why it's happened.

For example, was it always "Jack said" in the US, and that has now spread to the UK?
 
"Bow down before me!" Said he.

"Bow down before me!" Said Jack.

"Bow down before me!" He said.
These actually work this way.

-----------------------------------------------
"Bow down before me," said he.

"Bow down before me," said Jack.

"Bow down before me," he said.
when using the comma it should be like this

--------------------------------------
"Bow down before me!" said he.

"Bow down before me!" said Jack.

"Bow down before me!" he said.

This works in a sense that the exclamation point could be used to replace the comma(you could assume the comma here).
.------------------------------------------------
"Bow down before me." said he.

"Bow down before me." said Jack.

"Bow down before me." he said.

This not so much and needs to be:

"Bow down before me." Said he.

"Bow down before me." Said Jack.

"Bow down before me." He said.
---------------------------------------------

This does not account for special rules when the exclamation point and even question marks might have to be outside the quotes.

And now after reading the above post I'm out of here..................................................................................
 
"Bow down before me!" Said he.
I've heard it said that some software does this... and the result is really irritating.

A few years back, I read a series of SF ebooks in which things were fine on this front until the last book, at which point every single "said", and its speech tag equivalents, was spelt with a capital first letter.

It seems most unlikely that anyone who has read any fiction would think this was the correct way of doing it, let alone a published author, and even less likely that they would do this with only the last book in a series without changing the previous volumes (I bought the series over a period of a few days).
 

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