First question would be: is it ok to use quotation marks for a paraphrase in casual (text-based) conversation?

Here's my current example:

  • A: You were insulting people.
  • B: I'm going to get angry. Deal with it. <NOTE: implicit agreement>
  • A: But how can you say "I'm going to insult people" and then...

Assuming that it is not, is there a proper way to delineate a paraphrased as opposed to quoted statement?

I know I could write it:

A: But how can you say that you're going to insult people and then...

But what I would like is to be able to delineate it in some way, like the quotation marks do.

I suppose I could use italics or bold or something

A: But how can you say that you're going to insult people and then...

But that doesn't seem like an official standard way of separating it and seems more like it's emphasizing the statement rather than offsetting the statement from the rest of the sentence.

  • In speech it can be done by pauses and intonation, so in writing you could use punctuation to indicate a break at the end of the paraphrase. Or you use constructions like "But how can you say that you're going to insult people and then having said that you go on to...", but there's not a standard technique akin to italics/quotes. If you want an exact representation of what someone said, quote them directly.
    – Stuart F
    Oct 23, 2021 at 19:49
  • Are you writing a script? Because in novels, this is provided with the verbs: "blah blah blah", he said [some phrase]. There is no way to show intonation in the actual speech.
    – Lambie
    Oct 23, 2021 at 19:49
  • @StuartF this is in text-based conversation, like these comments. I could say you said "something in quotes" but am I stuck with the rule that quotation marks = verbatim? and so if I change it at all I have to use a dependent phrase 'you said that xyz...'. I want to use quotation marks in a text-based conversation while paraphrasing, but I don't think I can, but then what is the alternative. I would like to delineate the phrase somehow. even using something non-standard like ~s. you said ~it's the best thing ever~ but I disagree...etc. Oct 23, 2021 at 20:02
  • Two points: U said this is casual texting and want proper? Also, while Pat did not say the actual words "I'm going to insult people," Pat did convey just that. U want pie...Sure. So you said "I want pie?" Said no such thing, I said Sure. Oct 24, 2021 at 0:21


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