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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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106 votes
4 answers
253k 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 ...
tchrist's user avatar
  • 135k
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 ...
samuelesque's user avatar
16 votes
5 answers
3k 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. ...
Kristoffer's user avatar
15 votes
1 answer
37k 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 don’...
Neil Trodden's user avatar
13 votes
5 answers
10k 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 ...
ljs's user avatar
  • 139
13 votes
5 answers
1k 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 that ...
Mari-Lou A's user avatar
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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'...
malani4enko's user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
3k views

The meaning of a short excerpt of dialog from the "La-La Land" movie [closed]

I came across the following dialog while watching La-La Land in English with subtitles: Mia: How’d you get on the lot? Seb: I basically just hauled ass past the guard gates. I think I have 20 ...
CaptainRR's user avatar
  • 211
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....
Amy's user avatar
  • 143
8 votes
4 answers
3k views

What type of English is used in the dialogue of the Lord of the Rings movies? [closed]

In the movie The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Elrond speaks to his daughter: "If Aragorn survives this war, you will still be parted. If Sauron is defeated and Aragorn made king and all ...
tired and bored dev's user avatar
7 votes
4 answers
4k views

What does an ellipsis followed by an exclamation mean?

I'm confused about how to use "...!" in writing. Currently, I'm writing a fiction story with a character who has been critically injured. I got this question while typing out this: "I won't die yet....
WarmHearth's user avatar
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 ...
The English Chicken's user avatar
6 votes
3 answers
8k 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, which of the following is correct? "I am going to the bank," said John. "I am going to ...
Lorretta's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
1k 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 ...
temporary_user_name's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
7k 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 ...
Zairja's user avatar
  • 6,901
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!
szxk's user avatar
  • 273
6 votes
3 answers
629 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 ...
claire sivan's user avatar
5 votes
3 answers
2k 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 not only ...
SiberianGuy's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
2k 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 ...
MoniqueH's user avatar
  • 859
4 votes
1 answer
1k 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 ...
Jesse M's user avatar
  • 1,204
4 votes
1 answer
790 views

What does "two-meal" mean in "There's nothing that could get him away from that two-meal town."?

It's a quote from the movie "The Godfather II", Tom and Frankie's scene: Frankie: Did my brother go back? Tom: Yeah, don't worry. Frankie: He's ten time tougher than me-- my brother. He's ...
user288774's user avatar
4 votes
5 answers
5k 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 ...
ricmarques's user avatar
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 ...
AJK432's user avatar
  • 420
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 ...
CSinha's user avatar
  • 363
3 votes
3 answers
22k views

When to put a comma after an ellipsis in dialogue [closed]

Having read a style guide recently, I was under the impression that you don't add commas after the ellipsis when the ellipsis indications pauses or thoughts trailing off, followed by "he says" or the ...
MoniqueH's user avatar
  • 859
3 votes
2 answers
2k 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 dialogue....
Singular1ty's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
130 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.
Aman Verma's user avatar
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 ...
Emily's user avatar
  • 33
3 votes
2 answers
1k 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."
J. Fosse's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
787 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 ...
CSinha's user avatar
  • 363
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?
Julie6's user avatar
  • 31
3 votes
1 answer
394 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 ...
Elizabeth Shaw's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
152 views

Quotation marks and types of dialogue

I'm editing the autobiography of a German-American woman who grew up during Hitler's reign. There are several instances where she uses quotation marks in a way that I'm not sure is correct. 1. Life ...
Shelley Wynn's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
6k views

How should I format whispered dialog?

How do would you write out character whispering in a narrative story, would you use italics, parantheses, maybe dependent on variety of styles?
Christian's user avatar
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 ...
C-Puff's user avatar
  • 31
3 votes
1 answer
497 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" ...
MoniqueH's user avatar
  • 859
3 votes
1 answer
1k 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 ...
Nate Wessel's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
459 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 ...
Gottfried William's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
356 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 ...
Jon's user avatar
  • 31
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 ...
puzzled's user avatar
  • 137
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 ...
FrontEnd's user avatar
  • 1,091
2 votes
1 answer
7k 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 ...
Veo's user avatar
  • 449
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 ...
Rasmus's user avatar
  • 195
2 votes
3 answers
2k 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 ...
Curiousstudent's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
4k 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."
BWXY619's user avatar
  • 53
2 votes
1 answer
105 views

How do I clarify to readers that the bolded dialogue question is a rhetorical question?

Two characters, Scythe Master and Claudia, are having a conversation in this book I'm translating. The first speaker is Scythe. (Bolded part is what I'm 87% sure is a rhetorical question, based on ...
Toyu_Frey's user avatar
  • 269
2 votes
1 answer
257 views

What is a word to describe when someone is upset that someone else thinks little of themself?

I'm writing a story and the characters have just got to their love confession and I'm trying to think of a specific word to capture their feeling, but I can't remember it. Character A: "They're not ...
Red 's user avatar
  • 21
2 votes
1 answer
1k views

What do the parentheses inside quotation marks mean in this Dickens quote?

Miss Havisham had seen him as soon as I, and was (like everybody else) afraid of him. She made a strong attempt to compose herself, and stammered that he was as punctual as ever. "As punctual as ...
herisson's user avatar
  • 81.9k
2 votes
1 answer
195 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 ...
Phil Goetz's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
176 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. ...
RAB's user avatar
  • 123