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Questions tagged [dialogue]

Questions about authored conversations between two or more people as found in books, plays, or films. Please use the "conversations" tag for natural spoken conversations

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2 answers
58 views

Quotation marks vs colon & comma vs dash (dialogue)

I'm trying to write the following dialogue in one sentence and here's what I have: If she asks "Why?" tell her "Something came up." If she asks: Why?-tell her: Something came up. ...
1 vote
0 answers
54 views

Do I use a quotation mark at the end of a blockquote of dialogue?

"Sing it to me," said Jane. I answered, "Here goes: Row, row, row your boat Gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, Merrily, merrily, Life is but a dream. "That was nice," ...
0 votes
1 answer
82 views

Sequence of tenses in dialogue: why is "No, can't say I had" used in response to "Perhaps you didn't notice?"?

From the movie "No Time to Die": Nomi: The world's moved on since you retired, Commander Bond. Perhaps you didn't notice? Bond: No, can't say I had." Why did Bond use "had" ...
0 votes
1 answer
56 views

What punctuation is used to indicate paraphrased dialogue?

I'm translating a prose work about an epic poem. Instead of quoting dialogues in the original verse form, the author sometimes paraphrases them. What is the standard punctuation for such paraphrased ...
3 votes
2 answers
4k views

Should a stutter at the start of a sentence retain the capital letter?

When writing dialogue for characters that stammer or stutter over the first letter of the first word in their speech, should the first letter remain a capital or become lowercase when repeated? My ...
3 votes
2 answers
45k views

How is "but of course" different to just "of course"?

I've seen in writing and on screen the phrase "but of course" used as a stand alone sentence. If one were to substitute just "of course" would the meaning change?
3 votes
2 answers
10k 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 ...
0 votes
1 answer
43 views

Meaning of "inspecting the truce" in this context

No matter how many times I watch the SWOR trailer "Return", I can't grasp this interaction: -Bounty hunter peeks at a what seems to be an attractive female. +Eyes front. -Just inspecting ...
0 votes
1 answer
256 views

Should I use a period or comma in the dialogue preceding "nodded" or "gestured"? [duplicate]

Not the first time the question appears. I was wondering about usage of commas and periods in dialogues. Here’s an example from the recent book I chanced upon: “The tea,” she gestured. “Snakes are ...
0 votes
0 answers
26 views

Punctuating Dialogue That Runs with Sentence [duplicate]

How would I punctuate this line of dialogue? Example 1 (minimal punctuation): Jane handed me the phone with a “here she is” before leaving the room. Example 2: (comma): Jane handed me the phone with a ...
0 votes
2 answers
305 views

Formatting English Translation in Foreign Dialogue

This short paragraph of German dialogue needs to be translated into English within a larger work: “Zurück bleiben! Fenster schliessen!” Stay back! Close the window! shouted the man on the roof. ...
9 votes
1 answer
7k views

Meaning of "Buck ten, buck fifteen, tops"

These lines are from the movie Mr and Mrs Smith. What is the meaning of the phrase buck ten, buck fifteen, tops? You get a look at him? Little thing. Buck ten, buck fifteen, tops. Maybe he’s Filipino....
12 votes
2 answers
5k views

What does "I'm catching a 4:00 at Logan" mean?

What does this phrase mean? I'm catching a 4:00 at Logan Does it mean "I'm taking off a 4 o'clock"? This is coming from the movie "Scent of Woman". Al Pacino says: "…but I'...
0 votes
1 answer
110 views

Dialogue in the TV series "Billions"

While I was watching the TV series "Billions," there was a dialogue between two people working for Axe Capital. They argue about smart guns and say: (A says smart guns can be a ten-bagger. ...
0 votes
1 answer
52 views

How to break a quote with narrative in a single sentence?

In creative writing (US English), what is the most appealing way to insert a bit of narrative within dialog in a single sentence? For example: “The unified kingdom of my childhood,” Lucy hoped to ...
-1 votes
1 answer
44 views

How to multi-paragraph quote within quote?

When a speaker's words in dialogue extend to more than one paragraph, we use an opening quotation mark at the beginning of each paragraph and use a closing quotation mark only at the end of the person'...
2 votes
2 answers
97 views

What was the reference to 'federal case' in the movie Air Force One

In the movie Air Force One, there is a scene where the President makes a call to the White House switchboard, Where the operator says Okay, sir. You want to make a federal case out of this, fine by ...
1 vote
1 answer
92 views

What's it called when, instead of saying 'you,' you say the name of the person you're talking to?

Let's say you're talking to Sarah and you make her upset so you say to her "I would hate to make Sarah upset." Is there a term for using 'Sarah' instead of the usual 'you' here?
0 votes
1 answer
145 views

How to punctuate overheard dialogue with a noise interrupting it?

How would you punctuate dialogue when it's overheard by others (who only hear it) and when there is a noise that interrupts it? (same as action?) Been flailing about with this but does this look right?...
0 votes
6 answers
5k views

What does it mean by the phrase "not my story to tell"?

I recently heard the phrase in the season 3 of Blindspot series. One of the characters used this phrase: Well, if I knew it, I'd swear that I'd tell you, but it's not my story to tell, so, sorry. ...
3 votes
3 answers
12k views

onomatopoeia for taking a deep breath before speaking

I'm writing a comic, and a character is about to ask another character for help, but it's taken her a lot of effort to be able to ask for help. So, before she finally asks she takes a deep breath and ...
6 votes
3 answers
452 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!
0 votes
1 answer
62 views

"a square deal from me and most of the breaks"

I was watching The Maltese Falcon and there's a scene when Dundy, a cop, tells Sam Spade (who Dundy thinks may have murdered someone) the following: Well, you know me, Spade. If you did it, or if you ...
1 vote
1 answer
2k views

Are dialogue tags after a question capitalized?

When writing dialogue and dialogue tags, I have always asked myself if the tag is a complete sentence. If so, I use a comma and lower case such as: She said, "Bob." "Bob," she ...
1 vote
1 answer
67 views

Is there a term for the aspect of style where an author indicates who is speaking? [duplicate]

In a novel, for example, imagine the following sentence: "I like chowder", Helen said. What I'm looking for is the highlighted part. There are many different ways that particular sentence ...
0 votes
0 answers
33 views

Can I end a quote/dialogue with a colon?

If a character is introducing something, say, a PowerPoint presentation, how should I punctuate their speech? Can I use a colon? For example: "We have proof. Just take a look at this:" He ...
7 votes
3 answers
9k 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 ...
0 votes
0 answers
18 views

Would You Capitalize a Part of Sentence That is After a Dialogue? [duplicate]

This something that I'm very confused about... You see, here is one example of the sentence: I ran ahead and said, "I don't want that," and crashed against a wall. In this sentence, you ...
1 vote
1 answer
160 views

What is the term for the name tags before dialogue in a play?

I remember my professor from years ago providing a specific technical term for the abbreviated name tags in front of dialogue in a play, e.g. So: The Athenians don't just call it a suit, Euthyphro, ...
0 votes
0 answers
56 views

If there is no reporting verb, would you still use comma in these constructions?

Usually, after a reporting verb, there is bound to be a comma, but what if the constructions are as follow: As if waiting for me to say that one sentence, Cornelia followed up with a request, “Welp, ...
0 votes
1 answer
49 views

Simple Abbreviation Confusion

You know that a lot of words can be abbreviated like: You know -> y'know About -> 'bout Going to -> gonna and much more To be honest, I found one interesting abbreviation: Of course ->...
0 votes
1 answer
43 views

Sorkin's "Your imagination, like a child, will explode with unrestrained possibilities for adventure." Works so well despite feeling problematic; why? [closed]

I'm going to somewhat but not completely premise my question on the following: the line is likely written or edited by Aaron Sorkin rather than Kevin Falls (Galileo West Wing Season 2 Episode 9 ...
0 votes
1 answer
41 views

Is reverberate a dialogue tag? [closed]

Just like the title say and here are the examples: “Took you long enough.” Without warning, her voice reverberated from my side. “Ngh! Phew… Oh no!” A voice reverberated from the crash site and ...
1 vote
1 answer
102 views

"brothers in her bag"

in the film The Maltese Falcon (1941) the private detective Miles said "They have brothers in her bag." context: the client, beautiful women Wonderly gave him two Dollar bill and after she ...
0 votes
1 answer
298 views

Dialogue with multiple sentences before the “he said”

Usually when writing dialogue, you write it as such: “I am so glad it’s raining,” said John. However, is it acceptable standard to write MULTIPLE sentences before the said tag? As in: “How are you? ...
0 votes
1 answer
304 views

Should you start a new paragraph for a new speaker if both speakers are contained in the same quoted passage?

This manuscript quotes a passage from the Bible that has more than one speaker: Job 1:6–7 says: One day, when the angels had gathered around the Lord, and Satan was there with them, the Lord asked,...
2 votes
1 answer
218 views

Is it alright to use logical punctuation?

Since I have been writing, I have been using what I thought was just the British style of punctuation. However, I realised that it is actually called 'logical punctuation'. I have used this style of ...
4 votes
0 answers
3k views

"Say" and "said" as transitive and intransitive verbs

I have an interesting question. Is "say" a transitive verb in the case of direct/reported speech? I understand that it can be a transitive verb in cases like "She said the phrase." or "She says the ...
2 votes
3 answers
491 views

A word, gesture or expression for a confident "shrug"

I am trying to look for a word, gesture or expression that represents a state of confident not knowing. So far I am using a shrug for this but when used often it starts to come off as very apathetic ...
0 votes
1 answer
376 views

What dialogue tag can be used to describe being confused? [closed]

For example; My brother was standing in front of my room. “Are you ok with this?” He huffs. “What do you mean?” [A term that would describe that she is confused]
1 vote
0 answers
120 views

Is 'lamented' a dialogue tag? [closed]

In these sentences, "I miss having breakfast every day," he lamented. "I miss having breakfast every day." He lamented. is the first correct? I would say lamented is a dialogue ...
0 votes
2 answers
98 views

Grammatical correctness of continuing sentences off dialogue tags

The following is a quote from Philip Pullman's 'La Belle Sauvage': "It's a present for her," said Malcolm, and thrust it in among Lyra's blankets. Now, to me, this sentence doesn't really ...
0 votes
1 answer
229 views

Do you always need commas after dialogue tags and detailed locations?

I have a couple of questions about commas. If you quote a short sentence, can you omit the comma after the dialogue tag as a matter of style? For instance: Whenever I come home, I always say "...
1 vote
0 answers
23 views

Dialogue usage uncertainty

Sorry for the vague title! I'm writing a short story and I'm wondering if the below sentence is correct. Should a new paragraph be started when she hears the shout, since it's technically dialogue? Or ...
1 vote
1 answer
429 views

Meaning of this piece of dialogue in The Call of the Wild?

Here is an excerpt from Chapter 1 of The Call of the Wild by Jack London: Yet his time came, in the end, in the form of a little weazened man who spat broken English and many strange and uncouth ...
35 votes
8 answers
3k 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 ...
-1 votes
1 answer
47 views

"Brick Mansions" Movie Dialog [closed]

In the script of the movie, it is written "your backing" but I cannot hear that! I hear this: "your back". What is that in fact? The passage of dialog: "Now, with your ...
1 vote
3 answers
19k views

Asgard is not a place, it's a people

In the movie Thor Ragnarok the sentence Asgard is not a place, it's a people. is used by multiple characters multiple times but shouldn't it be " Asgard is not a place, it's the people" Am I ...
0 votes
0 answers
38 views

English text book - phrase to be used in an example dialogue

I'm in the middle of writing a dialogue for an English text book - a short excerpt from the dialogue is as follows: Coach: Your form is not bad, but you have to work on your strength. Athlete: ...
2 votes
2 answers
4k views

Help me make sense of this dialogue from 'The Importance of Being Earnest'

From Oscar Wilde's 1898 play, The Importance of Being Earnest: Algernon. Oh! . . . by the way, Lane, I see from your book that on Thursday night, when Lord Shoreman and Mr. Worthing were dining with ...