Here is the example that I have:

"Mother," I said with clenched teeth, "I said I don't want to talk about it."


I'd like to express the fact that each word in the second part of the sentence is said with a hard break or pause. Example:

"I. said. I. don't. want. to. talk. about. it."

I'm sure there is a better way, so any help would be appreciated. Also, what is this type of pause called?

  • 1
    There is a writers.stackexchange.com that might provide you with more ideas too.
    – Frank
    Aug 8, 2014 at 14:44
  • 1
    Best. Question. Ever. (Thanks to The Simpsons, I've seen this speech construct represented with single-word sentences.)
    – J.R.
    Aug 8, 2014 at 15:50
  • Actually, you are almost there: "I-said-I-don't-want-to-talk-about-it."
    – Kris
    Aug 11, 2014 at 6:39

2 Answers 2


How about some judicious italics:

"Mother," I said with clenched teeth, "I said I don't want to talk about it."

  • 1
    Yup. Or boldface or both. Or. Periods. And. Capitals. Or ALL CAPS (though that's shouting, not clenched-teeth). Writing is creative technology; channel and chop that sentence till you get what you want. Aug 8, 2014 at 14:39

Instead of trying to convey it through typing characters, I would write:

"Mother", I said with clenched teeth, word by word/stressing each word, "I said I don't want to talk about it."

Then again, there are other ways such as the ones mentioned above.

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