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58
votes
4answers
109k 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
597 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
4k 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
21k 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
273 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
659 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
835 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
93 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
786 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
240 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
906 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
684 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
2k 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
53 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
138 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
47 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
41 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
337 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
119 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
210 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
2answers
107 views

Does the word “brownie” have the same implication as the N-Word?

I was watching the latest episodes of The X-Files a couple of weeks ago and in one of the episode a middle aged white man driving down the road in Texas stares at a Mid Eastern/Asian guy at a traffic ...
2
votes
2answers
664 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
228 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
1answer
189 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
74 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
117 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
49 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
304 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
93 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
392 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
52 views

I don't understand drama “Madam Secretary” dialogue

guys. I am whatching American Drama "Madam Secretary" season1, episode 13. And there are some dialogue I can't understand. Pat: It's a little fancy for a civil servant, but then, you came from a ...
1
vote
1answer
60 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
67 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
275 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
1answer
25 views

Word for when a writer uses alternate spelling and grammar to immitate a dialect

What is the word for when a writer spells words of a character's dialogue differently for a character in order to express an accent or dialect? I think it starts with a 'd'.
1
vote
2answers
102 views

How do you show someone is crying in dialogue?

How do you show someone is crying in dialogue? (as in, is there an onomatopoeia that can show crying well? I ask because "(insert dialogue)..sniffle..(insert dialogue)..snifle..", does show that the ...
1
vote
2answers
97 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
61 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
288 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
52 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
92 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
720 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
2answers
18 views

How do I write dialog where list items are prefixed with letters?

I am a little stymied by this. I have dialog with a list of reasons in it that prefixes each reason with a letter of the alphabet. How am I suppose to write this, as spoken by a character in a book? ...
0
votes
1answer
34 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
2k 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
312 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 ...