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56
votes
4answers
95k views

Why does the multi-paragraph quotation rule exist?

The answer to this question clearly explains the standard rule that when you have multiple quoted paragraphs, each new paragraph starts with an opening quotation mark, but only the final quoted ...
32
votes
7answers
2k views

Can a statement be “hissed” without any sibilants?

Is using hissed as a replacement for said technically acceptable in dialogue without the presence of any sibilants? "You fool!" she hissed. I understand that hissed could be used to indicate a ...
14
votes
7answers
1k views

Stealing the topic from another person when he or she is going to tell you something

When someone is starting to tell you something from his or her life, some persons are immediately interrupting and starting to talk about the same topic, but from their own perspective instead. ...
12
votes
5answers
572 views

Was the BrEng term “coloured” derogatory in the 1970s?

SAM Look... I owe it to myself to say this to you, okay? Leave Tony Crane. Just go far away from him. He's gonna ask you to marry him and he's gonna make you a business partner. EVE Is ...
9
votes
5answers
3k views

Did they say “hand job” in the 1800s?

Did they say "hand job" in the 1800s? I was watching an episode of Deadwood, and they just said it. For example, from episode 6 "Plague": (Al enters the back room, Dolly is scrunched up on the ...
8
votes
1answer
19k views

How should I use quotation marks in sections of multiline dialogue?

If I want to introduce a “pause” between lines of dialogue from the same person by inserting a spacing line, how should I use the quotation marks correctly to indicate continued dialogue? I really ...
6
votes
2answers
255 views

Dramatic hijacking of a sentence

A common trope in movies. What's it called? Person A: The President was a brilliant man! A truly one-of-a-kind-- Person B: killer, who used his ruthless abandon to get ahead!
5
votes
3answers
641 views

Ironic phrase like Russian’s “no, didn’t hear”

Here’s a bit of dialogue which I literally translated from Russian: ― You should get a girlfriend! ― Girlfriend? Didn’t hear. . . . The idea of the answer is to self-ironically point out ...
5
votes
2answers
813 views

Differentiating comma/period use in mid-dialogue

Best shown by example: (From Haruki Murakami's The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle) "But I still felt bad," she went on. "So I dragged myself all the way to your house later--like an idiot. "Don't worry," I ...
5
votes
3answers
80 views

Do I put a comma or a period after a mid-quote dialog tag?

Okay, so I have this sentence. "He's where?" Suzy demanded "And what happened to your rig? The whole front is bashed in!" As you can see, I did not put in a comma or a period after demanded ...
4
votes
3answers
690 views

Is there a difference between “Joe said” and “said Joe”?

Does the subject/verb order make a difference when writing a dialog tag? "The sky is blue," Joe said. "The sky is blue," said Joe. Is one preferable over the other? Does one emphasize the ...
4
votes
2answers
182 views

Comma splices in dialogue

At university, it was drilled into us to avoid comma splices like the plague, but I keep seeing them in all different types of famous, best-selling novels. I read things (all in dialogue, in inverted ...
4
votes
1answer
857 views

Term for Indirect Dialogue

There are two different types of dialogue I'm aware of, that for the moment I'll refer to as 'direct' dialogue and 'indirect' dialogue. However, I know these terms aren't the correct ones, and it's ...
4
votes
4answers
531 views

Why do some people say “My name is Doctor / Dr. X” instead of “I'm Doctor / Dr. X”?

I'm Portuguese and I live in Portugal. Here it's (still) common to see some people using their academic/professional title in introductions: "Hi, I'm Doctor / Dr. / Eng. X". However, when watching ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

About using said in dialogue

I want to know if there are any rules regarding using said before or after a name. For example, "I am going to the bank," said John. or "I am going to the bank," John said. Which is ...
3
votes
1answer
50 views

Analysis of following writing pattern

Is there a name for following writing/dialogue pattern? We ride into the future. A future where ... In the world you grew up. A new world with ... It's just a theory. A game theory.
3
votes
2answers
112 views

Addressing an unmarried woman, 1930s

How should a character address an unmarried woman in conversation in the 1930s: would they use Mrs., Miss, or Ms? Example: "Good evening, Ms. Smith." Thanks in advance!
3
votes
1answer
3k views

What is the origin of “uh”, “um”, “erm” and “er”?

This question may be a better fit on linguistics.SE, but it pertains specifically to English fillers. Also, the question may have a more straightforward answer than what I'm expecting. TL;DR: Are ...
3
votes
3answers
34 views

How do you convey that something is said slowly in written dialogue?

I am writing a dialogue and I want a word to be said slowly so it is clarified. The dialogue goes like this "What's this?" "It's a Bellis perennis." "What?" "Bellis perennis." (I want this to be ...
3
votes
1answer
33 views

When not to use a comma before dialogue

I'm struggling with when to omit the comma before dialogue (as well as when to use capitals) in fiction writing. My understanding is that you would omit the comma before/after something like "he says" ...
3
votes
1answer
292 views

“you” in spoken, quoted dialogue

My partner and I have been having a debate about the proper way of relating dialogue in spoken English. Our problem is as follows: It often happens in conversation that one wishes to relate a ...
3
votes
1answer
110 views

simultaneous dialogue [closed]

[[The question has been edited in an attempt to address the reason it was originally put on hold.]] Suppose that several individuals are speaking. There are two conversations occurring at once in the ...
3
votes
2answers
204 views

How to punctuate spoken dialog with multiple levels of nested clauses?

I'm trying to do an audio transcription (for fun—I'm a complete amateur at this) and struggling with how to punctuate this part. Could anyone please help? We've designed this around the functions of ...
2
votes
1answer
174 views

Who is being referred to in this dialogue from the motion picture “Captain America: The First Avenger?”

There was this scene in the motion picture "Captain America: The First Avenger" where Steve Rogers and Agent Peggy Carter are driving through Brooklyn. The following dialogue ensued: Steve Rogers: ...
2
votes
2answers
562 views

Capitalizing First Letter of Word in Continuing Dialogue

I have a rather tricky question - I'm a writer, about to send my manuscript off to agents and publishers, and have noticed I have a rather strange writing style, particularly when it comes to ...
2
votes
1answer
149 views

Is the second part of dialogue capitalized or not?

i.e. "It is important," his mother replied, "(a/A)nd we will all have a great time."
2
votes
1answer
113 views

Dialogue responding to Narration

What is it called, or how would you describe, when a character utters a line of dialogue in response to information contained within the preceding narrative? Example: At sunrise Thelma peered ...
2
votes
1answer
40 views

What is the proper punctuation and structure to place around an action that implies dialogue?

What is the proper punctuation and structure to place around an action that implies dialogue, such as the example below? Double quotations does not seem correct, because the dialogue is unspoken. ...
1
vote
1answer
183 views

Is It Correct to Say ‘I Care Not’?

I was watching the film ‘The Devil’s Violinist’ (which takes place a long time ago) when I noticed the following sentence in a dialogue: I need not and I care not. Here, need is used as a modal ...
1
vote
2answers
81 views

Using colons and semi-colons in dialogue

I've often heard writers say they don't like using colons and semi-colons in dialogue specifically and I don't often see colons and semi-colons in dialogue, but sometimes it just seems like it's by ...
1
vote
3answers
367 views

How to semi-formally address a senior academic? [closed]

What is a proper way to address a person with the title of a Professor in a way which is less formal than "Dear Professor", but still conveys some respect? For example, suppose I am talking to ...
1
vote
1answer
65 views

Can time breaks be shown using dialogue breaks

By ending a set of quotation marks and starting a new set, can this show a break in time? E.g. "I need to read the letter before I can comment." "It looks like he's determined to come here." Here, ...
1
vote
2answers
261 views

Term for the identification of the person speaking in a dialogue

Consider the following piece of dialogue: Peter: Hello, Mary! How do you do? Mary: Hi, Peter! Fine, and you? What is the term for the part in bold, the specification of who is to speak a ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

Reported speech question

What would be the indirect speech form of the following sentence? John told Sean, "Let me help you" (It's not a homework question, I'm preparing for my exam tomorrow. I just stumbled upon this ...
1
vote
2answers
85 views

Dialogue from the motion picture “ Captain America - The First Avenger”.What is she implying in this sentence?

This is a dialogue from the motion picture " Captain America - The First Avenger": Steve Rogers: Well, what about you and Stark? How do I know you two haven't been...fonduing? [she turns to ...
1
vote
1answer
66 views

Can you end a multi-sentence quotation with a comma?

This is correct: "Rats," he said. But this looks wrong to me: "I left the oven on. Rats," he said. I can't find any rules about whether you can end a quotation with a comma when there are periods ...
0
votes
1answer
60 views

A Sentence in Lost Series [closed]

I was watching Lost (again) yesterday and someone said: " - Well, then. I guess I won't have to convince you after all." " - I'm not going to kill -spoiler-, Ben. You are." My question is: I was ...
0
votes
1answer
260 views

Dialogue: “had” or “have”

She: I had an awesome time yesterday. He: Haha. I'm glad you have! Did I use the wrong word? Is it suppose to be had?
0
votes
2answers
49 views

Asking for a name. Ellipsis or not?

In dialogue, when a character is asking for another's name by saying, 'Mister...?' (expecting the other character to answer with their surname), is it written: 'Mister...?' or 'Mister?' The first ...
0
votes
1answer
86 views

Meaning of 'It is to the feminine as the hug of a bear is to the scratch of--well;--anything with claws.'

"A man's sense of humor is a barbarous and a cruel thing, Miss Innes," he admitted. "It is to the feminine as the hug of a bear is to the scratch of--well;--anything with claws. Is that you, ...
0
votes
1answer
596 views

When i can use “Copy that”? [closed]

When i can to use copy that, just to response of "do you copy" ? tanks for your helps
0
votes
1answer
43 views

Is “conquer fear” the same as “facing fear” in this example

The following dialogue is from the movie Batman Begins: Ra's Al Gul to Bruce Wayne To conquer fear, you must become fear. You must bask in the fear of other men. So when Ra's Al Gul asks ...
0
votes
1answer
27 views

How to punctuate words we reference from other sources or that we think or say inwardly [closed]

I've read a few punctuation guides but am still having a very hard time differentiating between when inverted commas should be used over italics for certain words we reference but do not actually say ...
0
votes
3answers
1k views

“I'm always going by bike” vs. “I always go by bike”

Premise I hate translation work. On the other hand, proofreading a non native's English written work is fine as long as I can speak to that person face-to-face. Nuances, ambiguities, false friends ...
0
votes
2answers
279 views

Present tense: “saying” vs. “says” [closed]

I am translating an ebook for A1-German learners. Most of it is written in the present tense. I am writing a lot of dialogue. Is it correct to use the present progressive or not? Your help will be ...
0
votes
1answer
95 views

Dialogue tags with a mute speaker

The rules of punctuation of dialogue tags and interruptions without a dialogue tag are quite different. The two types of interruptions usually can be distinguished by the verb used - if it describes ...
0
votes
2answers
669 views

If quoting only an extract of dialogue from a fiction book, do you still need to have quotes within quotes? [closed]

I need to show kids how to write a book review. I am writing a book review as an exemplar to show them how it's done. However, I got stuck when it came to citing extracts of dialogue. My question is ...
0
votes
1answer
43 views

What does “a bit unfortunate” mean?

I'm translating dialog with "bit unfortunate" phrase: Sasha:"It's a bit unfortunate about Antony's final take." (final take corresponds to final record in sound-recording studio. He had a lot ...
0
votes
3answers
60 views

When to put a comma after an ellipsis in dialogue

Having read a style guide recently, I was under the impression that you don't add commas after the ellipsis when the ellipsis indications pauses or thoughts trailing off, followed by "he says" or the ...
0
votes
1answer
55 views

Where does the comma go in dialogue? [closed]

"Whatever," says Peyton. I understand the comma needs to be after "whatever" to indicate that is what Peyton is saying but.. Peyton says, "Whatever." can a period go there because that's ...