Traditionally, paragraphs in speech are rendered like this:

The professor harumphed. "It's not as easy as that.

"English grammar is surprisingly complicated. Why, only yesterday..."

That is, only having a closing quotation mark at the end of the block and omitting the ones in paragraphs inside the spoken text.

Is this still a thing these days? Text rendering does change over time --- why, I remember the days when you pluralised numbers with apostrophes ('Personally, I quite like 4's and 5's.') and was quite glad when that went away.

It does look kind of weird, and as a whole I tend to rearrange my prose not to need it (e.g. adding a 'he said' to the first paragraph), but I dislike changing my writing style just because of a text rendering issue. If it's not a thing, what's the current approach?

(Note to mods: I've tagged this with 'grammar' because I can't think of anything more appropriate --- feel free to retag.)

  • 1
    What research have you yourself done? Apr 12, 2015 at 22:45
  • 1
    It's still the practice; but hey, you're a grownup and can make your own rules. Now if somebody wants to pay you to do it their way, and wants to pay a starving graduate student to proofread it, that's another story. Apr 12, 2015 at 23:20
  • Related: english.stackexchange.com/q/96608
    – tchrist
    Apr 13, 2015 at 2:12

1 Answer 1


Yes, fiction authors are still using it.

  • 1
    This is a terribly spartan answer. Furthermore, it gives too small a piece of the truth: this practice is by no means whatsoever limited to works of fiction. It is standard written English. Documenting that with proper references would make this comment an actual answer.
    – tchrist
    Apr 13, 2015 at 2:15

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.